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Labels Sue XM Radio Over Inno Recording Device

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#1 of 12 OFFLINE   Monty B

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Posted May 17 2006 - 01:00 AM


XM thinks of its Inno device as a high-end VCR that customers can use to make personal copies of their favorite satellite-radio programs. The recording industry sees it as a form of "massive wholesale infringement" and it took action with a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in New York to cut the power.

According to The Associated Press, the battle between the record labels and the leading satellite service is over the question of how consumers can legally record songs on the next-generation devices. The recording industry says the $400 iPod-like device that allows XM users to record up to 50 hours of music and automatically organize recordings by song and artist is a form of copyright infringement. The Inno's slogan is "Hear it, click it, save it."

The suit seeks $150,000 in damages for every song copied by XM customers using the devices, which went on sale several weeks ago. The company says it plays 160,000 different songs every month. While the suit doesn't seek to punish XM customers or have them pay for the alleged infringement, if it were successful, it could raise the company's costs — which could result in higher monthly fees than the $12.95 consumers currently pay, according to the AP.

XM vowed to fight the suit and accused the labels of using the action as a form of leverage during negotiations over licensing fees. "These are legal devices that allow consumers to listen to and record radio just as the law has allowed for decades," XM said in a statement. "The music labels are trying to stifle innovation, limit consumer choice and roll back consumers' rights to record content for their personal use."

XM has argued that the device is more like a VCR than an iPod, because it allows consumers to store songs that can't be copied and can only be played as long as they retain their subscription to XM. While XM rival Sirius has agreed to pay the kind of expensive distribution licenses as those paid by download services like iTunes for its portable devices, XM has so far refused. XM chairman Gary Parsons has said those licenses — on top of the performance licenses the company already pays the music industry — would amount to a "new tax being imposed on our subscribers."

The head of the Recording Industry Association of America said XM's device is legally indistinguishable from iPods and other portable music players that work with downloading services, according to the AP

"Yahoo!, Rhapsody, iTunes and Napster all have licenses," said RIAA chief Mitch Bainwol. "There's no reason XM shouldn't as well."

#2 of 12 OFFLINE   Blu



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Posted May 17 2006 - 01:59 AM

I'm sorry but this whole copyright thing is getting insane! These people will never give up with their lawsuit madness until they are soundly defeated in court. I hope that this happens.

#3 of 12 OFFLINE   Jed M

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Posted May 17 2006 - 03:52 AM

Enough! When did we as consumers and citizens lose all our rights to corporations? This is just getting ridiculous. These politicians have forgotten they work for us, and rightfully so since we are too busy fighting over red and blue to give a crap about how bad they are sticking it to us.
Long you live and high you fly
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And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be.
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#4 of 12 OFFLINE   Chris


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Posted May 17 2006 - 05:36 AM

Should be noted, SIRI had already made a deal with RIAA in reference to their S50 unit prior to full shipment, as well as an agreement toward future units. The agreement they made basically came down to a slight increase in the ASCAAP fees (I beleive that's the right org) for songs played.
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#5 of 12 OFFLINE   James St

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Posted June 20 2006 - 10:33 AM

XM has started sending out emails on this issue...

#6 of 12 OFFLINE   Stu Rosen

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Posted June 20 2006 - 12:21 PM

Well, as an Inno owner and copyright lawyer (true), I do have to say that we never had the rights to the sound recordings the Inno can so easily copy. The record companies do, and even if you don't think they're acting intelligently, or with their long-term interests in mind, these are clearly their rights, not ours. Cry fair use if you'd like (and here, you may have a stronger argument than the usual ones made in support of file-sharing), but it would help if the arguments start with some facts.

#7 of 12 OFFLINE   Jed M

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Posted June 20 2006 - 03:34 PM

I stand by what I said. Just because it is a law doesn't mean it is right. I can point out numerous laws this country has had that they are ashamed of and many they currently have that they should be ashamed of. Just because they make it law for the corporations to pillage the public doesn't mean I am just going to accept it "because its a fact".
Long you live and high you fly
And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be.
-R. Waters

#8 of 12 OFFLINE   Stu Rosen

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Posted June 20 2006 - 10:01 PM

That's fine - you don't have to think it's "right," but if there's going to be a useful discussion, you also can't ignore what's true - and it's just plain true that no one's taken a legal right from us.

#9 of 12 OFFLINE   TheLongshot



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Posted June 21 2006 - 07:56 AM

Well, XM has a tough one here, since they are probably the only holdout in such things. At the same time, the RIAA seems to not care that they are trying to extract water from a stone. Really, how petty is it to go after a company who allows recording of highly compressed songs from a limited library that can't be copied to another device. Not exactly what I'd call a big threat to their bottom line. Certainly, the RIAA has the legal right to do this. Problem is, it is really good business? Rather than looking at it as a loss leader for people to actually go out and buy some music, they try to extract every nickel and dime they can. In the end, I wonder it it costs more for them to do this, than it would if they actually embraced some of it and took it for the "free" advertising that it is. Jason

#10 of 12 OFFLINE   RomanSohor


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Posted June 22 2006 - 02:05 AM

Honestly, I do not understand how it is "easy" to copy songs off the unit. If someone wants to get an MP3 file of a song they recorded off of XM, here's how "easy" it is. 1. Connect your Inno to the computers line input with a 1/8" - 1/8" cable (not included with unit) 2. Fiddle with adjusting the compuers mixer and the volume of the Inno until you get it just right. 3. Launch your sound recording software. (You have to buy something because Windows Sound Recorder can't encode MP3 and can't record longer than 60 seconds) 4. Record song. After recording it, edit out the dead space at the beginning and the end. Hope that there isn't a DJ talking over the intro of the song. 5. Save file as MP3, unless your program supports WAVE only. Then find LAME encoder and convert .WAV to .MP3 6. Input all the meta data for Artist, Title, Album, year, etc. Oh and did I mention that the sound quality you have acheived will be much much lower than ripping a CD which you can do with a free and simple peice of software (iTunes, Windows Media Player). Now, I don't know if there is an "explorer" type program that can extract individual songs off the unit digitally - I don't think there is. And even if there is, that could easily be worked around by changing the software on the Inno so that it won't let that program work any more.
Roman Sohor, CTS

#11 of 12 OFFLINE   Chris Gerhard

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Posted June 22 2006 - 04:23 AM

I guess this explains why the DirecTV DVR with TiVo won't record audio channels. This will be interesting to see and if XM wins, the next time I hit record when listening to an audio only channel, I won't get the message "Sorry, recording of music and audio-only programs is not supported at this time". Chris

#12 of 12 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted July 18 2006 - 07:38 AM

I did send the XM e-mail to my reps, and got this back from one of them yesterday. I am sure this was written by someone on staff, but it does suggest that they are somewhat well versed on the issue, and appear to be sympathetic to the needs of the consumer. ------------------------ Dear Brian, Thank you for your letter about XM Satellite Radio. I appreciate hearing from you. A lawsuit was filed on May 16, 2005 against XM Satellite Radio Holdings, Inc. by the recording industry for copyright infringement over a new portable radio that offers features that allows subscribers to record as much as 50 hours of broadcast music and search for songs by a particular artist. The consumer can never remove the music to another device. XM Satellite Radio believes their new device is protected under the Audio Home Recording Act. The Audio Home Recording Act gives the recording industry a payment of a royalty for home recording devices and is assured that the devices will contain technological measures to prevent the propagation of copies. XM Satellite Radio does not believe it needs to pay a separate royalty fee for their new device. Much of this debate resonates around the proposed audio broadcast flags. The Federal Communications Commission established Audio Broadcast Flags, but they were ruled unconstitutional by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Congressman Mike Ferguson has introduced the Audio Broadcast Flag Licensing Act of 2006 that would amend the Communications Act of 1934 and give the FCC the power to establish audio broadcast flags. I have concern with this piece of legislation. Unlike the purpose of video broadcast flags, which seeks to address indiscriminate redistribution of digital television content on the internet, the audio broadcast flag seeks to prevent consumer rights to make private recording which was endorsed by the Audio Home Recording Act which passed Congress in 1992. The U.S, Senate Commerce Committee recently considered the Advanced Telecommunications and Opportunity Reform Act which calls for a Digital Audio Review Board. The Digital Audio Review Board would be made up of representatives from hardware, software, satellite radio, cable and music communities. The board would have 18 months to negotiate an audio flag solution. When the Digital Review Board comes up with a proposal they would make a recommendation to the Federal Communications Commission who would then implement it. Furthermore, the House recently passed the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006, a comprehensive bill that would reform our telecommunication laws; however, audio flag language was not included in this piece of legislation. The next step in the process is for the full Senate to consider the Advanced Telecommunications and Opportunity Reform Act. If that occurs and it passes the Senate, the House and the Senate would have to appoint conferees to serve on a conference committee to negotiate the differences in both pieces of legislation. If a conference report is produced, I will have to evaluate the package as a whole as I only have one up or down vote on the legislation. I will continue to monitor this situation. I appreciate you bringing this matter to my attention.

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