RIAA v. XM Posted by: Dale Franks
on Thursday, May 18, 2006
The Recording Industry Association of America—which, for my money, is one of the most irksome industry groups in the country—has now targeted XM Satellite Radio for a lawsuit.
The Recording Industry Association of America is at it again, but this time, instead of suing individuals who download songs illegally from file-sharing networks, the music-industry bulldog is going after XM Satellite Radio.
The RIAA, in the suit filed this week in federal court in New York, claims that XM's new Inno portable radio violates copyrights.
Much like an old-school Walkman radio with a built-in cassette recorder, the Inno device gives XM subscribers the ability to listen to the satellite-radio service and, with the click of a button, record whatever music is playing.
These Inno satellite radios cannot transfer the music from one device to another, mind. They merely store up to 50 hours of XM broadcasts. While they also serve as MP3 players, the MP3 and broadcast recording functions are separate. Indeed, if you record a song from XM, and want to keep it permanently, you must buy and download the song from Napster. In addition, XM's monthly subscription fee also pays for the broadcast royalties for the content that XM plays.
The courts have long held that similar devices, such as VCRs, DVRs, cassette rec orders, etc., are perfectly legal devices, and that recording television and radio broadcasts for personal use are a completely legitimate example of the "Fair Use" provisions of copyright law. This is not even an area of controversy in copyright law. It is long-settled.
Once again, the RIAA, with utter disregard for anything but their own narrow, parochial interests, are going back to court to fight the exact fight that they previously lost for Reel-to-Reel tape recorders, cassette recorders, and CD & DVD recorders.
XM has vowed to go to the wall against the IAA against this lawsuit—unlike The Little Doggie Company, by the way, that rolled over like a weasel and exposed its softest parts—and XM has a big ally:
CEA Vice President of Government Affairs Michael Petricone said, "The record industry is returning to the courts in their non-stop efforts to stop new technology, neuter existing products, frustrate consumers and make illegal long-standing consumer home recording activities."
Petricone called the suit - which XM has said it intends to "vigorously defend" - a "brazen effort by the labels to strong-arm more money from a successful technology industry startup. XM Radio already is the largest single payer of digital music broadcast royalties," he continued. "More, the record labels receive royalties on every XM recording device sold as provided by Congress under the Audio Home Recording Act."
Paying tribute to the RIAA through taxes on blank media and recording devices has always irked me. It’s sad that the public doesn’t care about the government forcing consumers to bankroll the record labels.
The real evil of these people is that they "lobbied" the passage of the the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. The founders established a copyrite of 7 years. This extended it to 70. Congress gave bandwidth to the televisions stations, and they gave mineral rights to public properties to mining companies they gave copyrite to the RIAA.