Sociology Index

The Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 (AHRA)

The Recording Industry Association of America and music publishers had threatened to sue companies and had lobbied Congress to pass legislation imposing mandatory copy protection technology and royalties on devices and media. The Audio Home Recording Act enabled the release of recordable digital formats such as Sony and Phillips' Digital Audio Tape without fear of contributory infringement lawsuits. The Audio Home Recording Act amended the United States copyright law by adding Chapter 10, Digital Audio Recording Devices and Media. The Act also provides blanket protection from infringement actions for private, non-commercial analog audio copying, and for digital audio copies made with digital audio recording devices.

The Audio Home Recording Act also protects the legitimate rights of our songwriters, performers, and recording companies to be fairly rewarded for their tremendous talent, expertise, and capital investment. This will be accomplished by fairly compensating these artists for the copying of their works and by creating a system that will prevent unfettered copying of digital audio tapes."

The Audio Home Recording Act establishes a number of important precedents in US copyright law that include: Government technology mandate in the copyright law, requiring all digital audio recording devices sold, manufactured or imported in the US to include the Serial Copy Management System.

The mandate excludes professional audio equipment.anti-circumvention provisions in copyright law which was later applied by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Government-imposed royalties on devices and media, a portion of which is paid to the record industry directly.

President George H. W. Bush signed the Audio Home Recording Act into law in 1992 proclaiming " S.1623 The Audio Home Recording Act will ensure that American consumers have access to equipment embodying the new digital audio recording technology.