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Industry Faces
More Lawsuits

Beginning Sept. 11, a series of antitrust class-action civil suits were filed by multiple law firms against musical products companies and organizations. At press time, those companies included NAMM, Fender, Gibson, Guitar Center, Bain Capital, Martin, Korg, Peavey, Roland, Yamaha, Tascam and Teac. Ten total suits have been filed against one or more of these parties.

Accusations against the defendants include violating the Sherman Antitrust Act, unlawfully restraining trade, attempting to create a monopoly and promoting unfair competition.

The plaintiff of the original suit, David Giambusso, brought this action against NAMM, GC and Fender on behalf of purchasers “of fretted musical instrument products, such as acoustic and electric guitars, violins, amplifiers and strings” between Jan. 1, 2005, and Dec. 31, 2007. That suit is seeking $5 million in damages for the plaintiff and anyone who purchased a “musical fretted instrument” during that time. It follows the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) investigation of the music products industry concerning MAP pricing. NAMM signed a consent agreement with the FTC to end that investigation in March 2009.

NAMM has issued a statement in regards to the legal action, calling it “groundless.”

“NAMM believes that the recent lawsuits filed by plaintiffs making antitrust claims against the association are without any merit and reflect an incorrect understanding of the consent agreement that NAMM entered into with the FTC,” the statement read.

“These types of legal actions based on misinformation divert industry resources to defending against frivolous lawsuits and away from supporting the making and enjoyment of music. They are a detriment to the music industry, to music makers and to music lovers everywhere.”