June 17, 2004

Hurrah! Push-back! [8:09 am]

Tragically, CNet’s editors have already fallen into a rhetorical trap by describing the issue as "Piracy battle begins over digital radio" when they could just have easily called it "Consumers’ right to record radio threatened." Yet, somehow the RIAA has already managed to get news organs to describe home recording of music as "piracy." What exactly were those performance rights licenses for digital broadcasts of sound recordings supposed to be for?

On Wednesday, the Recording Industry Association of America asked the FCC for new antipiracy protections that would prevent listeners from archiving songs without paying for them–and from trading recorded songs online. The RIAA and musicians’ trade groups are worried that consumers might one day forgo buying albums or songs from iTunes-like services in favor of recording CD-quality songs off digital radio services.

“We know this (technology) will be attractive to consumers,” RIAA Chief Executive Officer Mitch Bainwol said. “For us, it’s the challenge that peer-to-peer introduces but made more complex by the fact that there are no viruses, there is no spyware or other file-sharing (problems).” [Editor's note: not to mention that it's legally protected]

[...] Those ideas have drawn deep opposition from consumer groups and electronics companies, which say the FCC has no congressional mandate to impose content protection on radio broadcasts of any kind.

[...] “No one at the Recording Industry Association of America or the FCC has demonstrated any need whatsoever for content protection on a service that doesn’t exist in the U.S.,” said Gigi Sohn, co-founder of Public Knowledge, a copyright campaign group that is working with Consumers Union and the Consumer Federation of America on the issue. “The recording industry is trying to fool the FCC into regulating home taping of radio, which is protected by law.”

See earlier RIAA Ramps Up To Kill Digital Radio and the EFF Deep Link RIAA Gunning for Home Taping (Again)

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