APWire on XM and TimeTrax

New Front: Recording of Digital Broadcasts. (Also in the Washington Post)

Note that the RIAA got the AP to frame this report to support their agenda, rather than noting that recording of radio broadcasts have been legally protected since the AHRA. Frankly, it’s an excellent exercise in rhetoric to note the extent to which this article manages to frame the discussion so that the “reasonable” reader must conclude that TimeTrax is illegal.

It reminds me, again, of the way that Larry Lessig points out that so many of the innovators in Internet applications are people who are NOT part of the establishment — kids, foreigners and other troublemakers — and how vulnerable these vitally important innovators are in the face of poorly-designed legislation and institutional structures that enshrine the status quo.

[TimeTrax’] MacLean said all his software does is simply record music off the analog XM signal.

It’s exactly the same as running it off a cassette recorder,” he said. MacLean speculated that XM was pressured by the recording industry.

[…] The recording industry has yet to devise a way to block such methods of copying music, so it has mostly concentrated its enforcement campaign on people who distribute song files.

Still, in June, the RIAA submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission, asking the panel to enact new rules to safeguard music played through digital radio receivers from being pirated.

“Digital audio broadcasting without content protection is the perfect storm facing the music industry,”‘ the trade group wrote to the FCC.

The RIAA suggested the FCC require digital radio broadcasters to encrypt their content or use an audio protection flag — bits of data that would travel with the stream or satellite radio signal to denote that the content was under copyright.

Properly equipped digital players or receivers would recognize the flag and, ultimately, restrict whether the content could be copied or distributed.

See earlier coverage: Now, What Were You Saying About Promoting Innovation? and Two From TechDirt

See the Home Recording Rights Coalition site

Related: Benny Evangelista’s Reining in tech: Learning from the Napster case, the entertainment industry is trying to block new technology before it takes off

[The MPAA’s Fritz] Attaway remains optimistic that these high-intensity debates will eventually result in new technological possibilities for all sides, like the DVD, which has become the fastest-selling consumer entertainment technology in history. Since 1997, more than 100 million DVD players and 3 billion DVDs have been shipped, according to the DVD trade association Digital Entertainment Group.

But [the EFF’s Fred] von Lohmann said other technological innovations may have already been killed off.

“I’m not sanguine that technology will triumph,” he said. “We may never know what has been kept from us.”