US Antitrust Settlement ‘Censored’ By State Lawyers

September 2004

Record Labels, Artists

In 2002 US District Judge D Brock Hornby sitting in the federal court approved the settlement of a lawsuit filed on behalf of millions of record club members who alleged they had been overcharged in a price-fixing conspiracy. The sum of US $143 million was agreed by the five major record companies (Sony, BMG, EMI, Universal and Warners) and three large music retailers in settlement of the anti-trust claims – the claims were that they had been conspiring to set minimum prices for music CDs in the United States. Under that settlement, 3.5 million people received cheques for $12.60 and libraries and schools across the country will due to get $75.7 million worth of music CDs. The lawsuit was signed by the attorney generals of 43 states and territories.

However, all is not well with the settlement. In Kansas City, Missouri the Attorney General Phil Kline has withheld 1,600 of the state’s allotted 51,000 discs, because they are contrary to his “concept of decency”. He will not allow any albums that “promote violence or illegal activity” to go into public libraries or schools. The 25 offending artists include Outkast, Notorious B.I.G., Rage Against The Machine, Stone Temple Pilots, Lou Reed and Devo. The American Civil Liberties Union director in Kansas, Dick Kurtenbach has said of Kline’s action “what he is doing is enforcing his concept of decency on the libraries in the state of Kansas and that’s not his business”. Attorney Generals in several other states have also taken action; in Indiana AG Steve Carter removed 5,300 discs, or 5 percent of the 107,000 CDs his state was scheduled to receive.

Source : ILMC Round the Clock News –

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