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For Immediate Release
October 1, 2002
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357

See updated Note to Consumers

MARYLAND, 41 OTHER STATES SETTLE COMPACT DISC SUIT

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that Maryland residents who purchased prerecorded music compact discs during the period from January 1995 to December 2000 will be eligible to receive cash payments under the terms of a settlement agreement with five of the largest U.S. distributors of CD's and three large retailers.

Maryland, 41 other states and three territories sued the distributors Bertlesmann Music Group, Inc., EMI Music Distribution, Warner-Elektra-Atlantic Corporation, Sony Music Entertainment, Inc., and Universal Music Group, and the retailers Transworld Entertainment Corporation, Tower Records and Musicland Stores Corporation for violating antitrust laws. Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants will make cash payments totaling $67,375,000 nationwide, and will provide $75,500,000 worth of music CD's. In addition, the defendants have agreed to stop engaging in practices that led to artificially high retail prices for CD's.

The suit, which was filed in federal court in New York in August 2000 alleged that the defendant distributors and retailers illegally conspired with one another to fix prices at which CD's could be sold to consumers. The illegal conspiracies allegedly grew out of the practice in the recorded music industry known as Minimum Advertised Price, or M.A.P., in which the distributors would pay for retailers' advertising in local media, provided the retailers did not advertise CD's at a sale price below a minimum established by the distributor. The defendants deny the allegations in the suit.

"This M.A.P. program led to higher CD prices, and reduced price competition among CD retailers. As a result, Maryland consumers could not comparison shop to get a good deal on CD's," Attorney General Curran said.

Today's settlement has three major components. The $67,375,000 in cash will be used primarily to compensate consumers nationwide, for charitable purposes, or for some combination of both. The defendants will also provide approximately 5.5 million music CD's for distribution by State Attorneys General to charities, schools and public libraries. Maryland's share of the settlement will be over $900,000 in cash and over 100,000 CD's for distribution. In addition, the defendants have agreed to an injunction which prevents them from making advertising funds to retailers conditional on advertising products for sale at a minimum price.

-end-

NOTE TO CONSUMERS: A website has been established to provide further information about the settlement of the Compact Disc litigation. At the website, you may find information relating to your legal rights, important dates in the claims filing process, and information as to what benefits are available, among other things. You can find the website at www.musiccdsettlement.com

In addition, a toll-free telephone line has been established which you may call to receive recorded information. The telephone number is 1-877-347-4782, TDD/TYY 1-888-314-5051.

Beginning in December, 2002 you may request a hard copy claim form by writing to:
Compact Disc MAP Antitrust Settlement Administrator
PO Box 1650
Fairbault, MN 55021-1650

If you wish to exclude yourself from the settlement group, you must notify the Settlement Administrator in writing, postmarked no later than March 3, 2003 at:
Compact Disc MAP Antitrust Settlement Administrator
PO Box 1643
Fairbault, MN 55021-1643

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