BROKEN RECORD By TIM ARANGO September 27, 2005 -- EXCLUSIVE Portable players from satellite radio giants XM and Sirius are coming under attack by the music industry for allowing listeners to record and store songs — something that record executives argue runs afoul of copyright law, The Post has learned. The Recording Industry Association of America, the record industry's powerful lobbying group, has been holding discussions with XM and Sirius about the devices, which could become the next target in the music industry's ongoing battle to ensure it is paid in a time of rapidly advancing technologies. "It could become a game of chicken — who's going to blink first?" said one high-level record company executive. As of yesterday, sources close to both XM and Sirius say the devices will be released on schedule this fall. Representatives for XM, Sirius and the RIAA declined to comment on the controversy over the players. Last week, the RIAA discussed the issue on its weekly conference call with representatives of the four major music companies, sources said. And last night, a separate call was held solely to discuss the issues surrounding XM and Sirius' portable devices. In late July, XM announced a partnership with Samsung to produce a portable device that allows users to record songs from satellite radio broadcasts and then catalog and save favored songs while deleting others. Sirius later announced a similar device, called the S50, which will be about the size of an iPod and released in October. The music industry argues the recording capability — essentially Tivo for radio — is a clear copyright violation and could take revenue away from paid download music stores, such as iTunes. One high-level record executive argued the devices give users "permanent ownership of copyrighted material without paying for it." XM has a deal with the paid service Napster, which allows user to click and buy songs they hear on satellite radio broadcasts. The deal was welcomed by the industry, yet raises the question, in the words of one music exec, "Why would anyone use the Napster platform to buy it if XM is giving it away for free?" Some record executives expect an ugly battle if XM and Sirius don't modify the devices. "They can't do this without being sued," said a high-level music exec involved in the discussions. The rupture over the portable devices comes as the music industry is gearing up to demand higher licensing fees from the satellite radio industry once the current seven-year contract expires at the end of the year. The current contract is for below market rates — a deal that "essentially financed satellite radio's introduction and gave them a seven-year license at vastly below market rates in order to allow that busines model to occur," said Warner Music boss Edgar Bronfman Jr. at a recent investor conference. Bronfman's comments came in response to a statement from Sirius chief Mel Karmazin, who said he expected the pricing issue to ultimately be decided by arbitration.