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January 20, 2007

XM Suit Proceeds Over XM+MP3 Receiver

The Washington Post has an interesting story on a lawsuit by the major labels against XM Satellite Radio Holdings over the a receiver from XM that combines the radio along with an MP3 recorder.  XM tried getting the case dismissed, arguing that the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 protects them.  The judge is letting the suit go forward as she sees XM acting as a broadcaster and distributor with the MP3 feature of the receiver.  XM says the situation is no different from a radio with a cassette recorder built into it. 

Judge Deborah A. Batts is quoted in the article as saying:

"It is manifestly apparent that the use of a radio-cassette player to record songs played over free radio does not threaten the market for copyrighted works as does the use of a recorder which stores songs from private radio broadcasts on a subscription fee basis,"

This ought to get interesting both a trial and the extremely likely appeal no matter who wins.  SanDisk, by the way, does provide a recorder with its Sansa MP3 players that also receive commercial FM.  These recordings can be transferred to to PCs for further editing a pressing.  Does that threaten the market for copyrighted music?  Or is it OK because the recorder is getting signals from an over-the-air not private radio on a subscription basis.  How about software that captures audio from computer sound cards (or built in audio, does anyone use sound cards any more?) such as built into various versions of Roxio software?  There are a ton of Internet simulcasts out there available for capture and edit.  Does that threaten the market for copyrighted music?

January 20, 2007 | Permalink

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