For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: February 19, 2004

More Than 15,000 Idahoans Will Receive Refunds Totaling $214,830 from CD Purchases

(Boise) - Idahoans who filed claims for prerecorded music purchases between December 2002 and March 2003 will be receiving refund checks soon, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said today. Five of the largest U.S. distributors of prerecorded music compact discs (CDs) and three large retailers had previously agreed to settle a price fixing lawsuit brought by 40 states, including Idaho, and three territories.

All Idahoans who filed claims by the filing deadline were approved for cash payment. Those payments will be mailed beginning on February 20. Idahoans will receive refund checks totaling $214,830.

Attorney General Wasden joined other state attorneys general in the lawsuit alleging 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 antitrust laws.

Defendants in the settlement are music distributors Bertelsmann Music Group, Inc., EMI Music Distribution, Warner-Elektra-Atlantic 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, the defendants have denied all allegations of wrongdoing.

Approximately 3.5 million individuals, including 15,500 Idahoans, filed claims. Members of the settlement group included those persons who purchased prerecorded music products (compact discs, cassettes and vinyl albums) from retailers during the period January 1, 1995 through December 22, 2000. Each claimant can expect to receive a check for $13.86.

In addition to the refunds, the settlement also provides for a distribution of music CDs to organizations. Attorney General Wasden's Consumer Protection Unit will oversee the distribution of 25,000 compact discs with an estimated value of $342,000. The compact discs will be distributed to public libraries throughout Idaho pursuant to the federal court approved distribution plan. This distribution will occur in the next 60 to 90 days. The overall monetary value of the settlement, nationally, is $143 million. For Idaho, the overall value of the settlement is $556,830.

"The defendants in this case harmed both consumers and competitors through their unlawful activity," Attorney General Wasden said. "Enforcement of the states' antitrust laws restores competition to the marketplace to the benefit of both business and consumers."

Idahoans may receive updates and complete settlement information by clicking here.

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NOTE TO READERS - This settlement information has expired and is no longer available.

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