The Audio Home Recordings Act of 1992 makes it pretty clear that it's perfectly legal for consumers to make digital recordings of music for noncommercial use, and that companies that make and sell equipment allowing them to do so can't be sued for copyright violations. In spite of this, the RIAA sued satellite-radio company XM because it was marketing devices that let users record songs from XM broadcasts. Despite arguments from XM that the case shouldn't be allowed to move forward because of the AHRA, a judge disagreed, because the RIAA alleges XM is distributing music without a license, that somehow the ability to record its streams is legally different than a kid recording songs from FM radio onto a cassette tape. Now, music publishers are piling on by adding their own similar suit against XM, despite previous promises in the past from the recording industry that it wouldn't file suits over devices which allowed private, non-commercial recording -- but it's now splitting hairs by not suing over the device, but alleging XM isn't paying enough royalties to allow for recording. All of this comes amid attempts by the RIAA to get XM and Sirius to pay higher royalties, as well as efforts to get their buddies in Congress to enact a new law that would force them to do so. Do we have to pay royalties on the sound of the RIAA and its cronies trying to chip away at fair use, and other legally enshrined protections?
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