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RIAA

(Recording Industry Association of America, Washington, DC, www.riaa.com) A membership association of music recording companies. Its goal is to promote the record label industry and protect the rights of copyright owners. It was a major contributor to the SDMI digital distribution system. Spanning more than a half century, RIAA's Gold, Platinum, Multi-Platinum and Diamond awards for successful albums are coveted marks of achievements by musical artists. Exports outside the U.S. are not included in this certification process. The IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) is the European affiliate to RIAA (www.ifpi.org).

Not Happy About File Sharing
Although an institution in the music industry, the RIAA was not a household word until the late 1990s when it plunged into the music swapping copyright fray along with the record companies. It was involved with lawsuits directly against the music swapping services such as Napster, and in 2003, it began to file hundreds of lawsuits against users who made their copyrighted music available to others.

A Sign of the Times
In late 2004, the RIAA announced that it would extend its Gold and Platinum awards designation to legitimate digital downloads from the Internet. This Digital Sales program bestows Gold certification at 100,000 downloads, Platinum at 200,000, and Multi-Platinum status beginning at 400,000. The initial honors went to 45 titles from a variety of musical genres and recognized every major recording company. In 2006, the organization went one step further and authorized the launch of a Master Ringtone Sales Award, acknowledging original recordings of artists' hits as played on cellphones. See SDMI and phono preamp.



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