The RIAA's lawyers must be getting bored going after file-sharers, as they're reportedly eyeing satellite radio companies as their next legal target. The RIAA is upset about new radios that let users record programs, fearful that it will keep people from buying downloads. XM and the RIAA previously got upset when people were recording programming on their computers, but the devices the RIAA is worried about this time typically don't record at the same level of quality, and some are even designed to drive paid downloads from XM partners. When I was a little kid, I'd make tapes of songs I recorded from the radio, something that's protected as fair use, and it's hard to see how this is much different -- though, of course, the entertainment industry would rather just scrap the idea of fair use altogether. What seems likely here is that this is just posturing on the part of the RIAA, leading up to negotiations over a new rights contract with satellite radio providers. The current deal, which expires next year, cost them $80 million, but the RIAA wants a staggering $1 billion for the next five-year deal, according to an analyst.
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