PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Michael Undorf
Phone: (302) 577-8924
Date: February 19, 2004
COMPACT DISC ANTITRUST SETTLEMENT FINALIZED
NEARLY 10,000 DELAWARE CITIZENS TO GET REFUND CHECKS
(Wilmington, DE) – Attorney General M. Jane Brady today announced that prerecorded music buyers who registered a claim between December 2002 and March 2003, will soon be seeing the cash payments they are entitled to as a result of the antitrust settlement. The Settlement Administrator handling the disbursements has indicated that the checks will be mailed out within the next two weeks. All claims received by the Administrator by the claim-filing deadline were approved for cash payments. Judge D. Brock Hornby of the District Court of Maine approved the Settlement on June 13, 2003, however several appeals were filed and the distribution remained on hold until all appeals had been addressed and resolved.
A nationwide notification program was conducted which included notification from this office as well as advertisements in local and national media intended to alert consumers of the settlement. Approximately 3.5 million individuals filed claims prior to the deadline. Members of the settlement group included those who purchased prerecorded music products (compact discs, cassettes and vinyl albums) from retailers during the period January 1, 1995, through December 22, 2000. These claimants can expect to receive checks of approximately $13.86 each. In Delaware, nearly 10,000 claimants will share over $138,000 in cash payments.
The settlement stems from a lawsuit which alleged that the defendants conspired to illegally raise the prices of certain prerecorded music products by implementing Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) policies, in violation of state and federal laws. The defendants are music distributors: Bertelsmann Music Group, Inc., EMI Music Distribution, WarnerElektraAtlantic Corporation, Sony Music Entertainment, Inc., Universal Music Group and national retail chains Transworld Entertainment Corporation, Tower Records, and Musicland Stores Corporation. In agreeing to settle the lawsuit, they have denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
Attorney General Brady commented, “Business practices that inflate prices are unfair to all consumers. It is difficult to get proper reimbursement, but I hope these refunds, roughly equivalent to the cost of a new CD, will help.”
In addition to the cash payments, the settlement also requires distribution of CDs to organizations to further music-related programs or purposes reasonably targeted to benefit a substantial number of the purchasers of compact discs. An estimated 5.6 million CD’s valued at $77 million will be distributed to organizations in the coming months.
For updates and complete settlement information, visit the Consumer Information section on the Attorney General’s homepage at attorneygeneral.delaware.gov/