Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Recording Industry Freaks Out That XM Users Can Record Music

from the oh-no! dept

The recording industry's lawyers never stop looking to squeeze more money out of everyone, do they? The latest, submitted by Petréa Mitchell, is that they're quite upset about XM launching a mobile device that will let subscribers (yes, the people who already pay) actually record music. So (surprise, surprise) the recording industry is suing XM for not paying them another license on top of the licenses they already pay. They're now asking for $150,000 for every song that a user recorded. All this because XM has helped more people listen to the recording industry's music. If some of this sounds familiar, it's because it's related to what's being discussed in Congress to force satellite radio providers to pay more just because the content can now be recorded to devices. Once again, this is about the recording industry looking to squeeze more money out of a dying business model rather than recognizing these new services help make the recording industry's product much more valuable. XM is positioning this as a new Betamax-style case, with them simply providing the VCR -- which clearly has legal uses. The RIAA's best response, it appears, is "well, we convinced other suckers to pay up, so XM should too." Not particularly convincing.

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  1. identicon
    Yeppers, 16 May 2006 @ 7:00pm

    I got the First P-O-S-T in!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    wulfman (profile), 16 May 2006 @ 7:20pm

    XM is great

    I have XM and dont use it for the Music so does that mean i have to pay ? i listen to talk and drama. the RIAA needs a life

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    mad as hello kitty, 16 May 2006 @ 7:31pm

    THis is money hungry crap! Next they will be suing us for saying Sony, BMG, Atlantic and so on. Just stupid. Its yours you paid for it. If I wanna record the radio I will. SHould I pay more for my radio then? NO, idiot thinkers. This is what keeps people, me atleast, from buying from some of these companies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Manedible, 16 May 2006 @ 7:34pm

    Greediness hurts in the long run

    I can see both sides to it. One, I am a musician myself, and I need every bit of money I can get. On the other hand, I know personally having music available for free on the internet is a great way to expand a user base, and the recording companies aren't losing too much money in that category. Third, people recording music has been possible ever since they had cassette players with the record button on radios. These companies are just hurting their reputation severely with their lame attempts to put DRM on disks and sue everyone. Someone really needs to curb the RIAA, and teach those congress men a little about the digital world, which most don't even know how to use and iPod. Oh well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Jack, 16 May 2006 @ 7:58pm

    xm radio

    If this hadn't all been stirred up by so many people swapping music via Napster, Bearshare, and Kazaa(to name a few) to begin with we wouldn't be in this pickle now. Yes, we as the consumer should have the right to copy anything we pay for(backup copies), but the record industry has rights also. Most people seem to forget that the record industry releases music to make money and they have the right to protect their interests.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    MrScott, 16 May 2006 @ 8:08pm

    Times are changing!

    I, for one, can fully agree with Manedible, saying that the artist should be compensated for their work. I agree with that whole-heartedly. BUT...since times (and technology) has changed, maybe...looking to other resources to distribute your music, art, movies..whatever the case may be, instead of going through the major labels, is the way to go.

    Think back when the big labels were born. They were born to help distribute the artist's work. There was no other option to get this done back then. Most of us didn't have the internet to distribute our work, let alone know what that was, or have the means to get our work out to the public. It's funny how people won't take the time to research how to find other means of getting it out to the public, so they just rely of the big labels to do the work for them.

    Here's an old business cliche'...if you want to make money, you gotta *spend* money. Think about that for a minute. Think about making a web site (or something similar) where you have to pay to download. I know there's plenty of sites like that making a good profit AND the artists are still making money at the same time. Problem solved? I don't think so! Seems that the *AA's want to get their greedy little grubby hands on ALL music and ALL video content and make MORE money off it. That's the bottom line. Times have changed and they *refuse* to adapt to it, and end up suing the people that have supported them for years. Kinda like something my father told me as a child...NEVER bite the hand that feeds you!

    Until the labels adapt to the changing times and technology, this battle will never end!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    The Toe, 16 May 2006 @ 8:09pm

    Re:XM RADIO By Jack

    I'm an artist also. XM already pays license fees to the RIAA to broadcast as do other types of broadcast systems. Are they going to hit FM radio too because someone hit the record button? I release music to make money but I'm not going to sue someone who has already paid the fee because I've become greedy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Still optimistic, 16 May 2006 @ 8:11pm

    Don't give up. The media is dead, long live the me

    Outrage follows laughable outrage. Let me get straight to the point. There are some of us out there building a better future. Programmers, artists, producers, businessmen and music lovers. But the orthodoxy won't quietly die overnight. Copyleft, creative commons, netlables, - people the future is coming on fast and big change is happening now!

    This relies on your help and your intelligence.

    1) Do not "pirate" music. Erase all that retro crap you downloaded to your iPod. Exchanging and circulating corporate controlled copyright music only keeps these criminal organisations alive, feeds their case and keeps you hooked to their drug.

    2) Download music free from the internet. There are tens of thousands of bands and artists who give away their music for free, lots of it is very good, it's just not sanctioned by the bought and paid for mainstream outlets. Suport the REAL "indie" artists, filmmakers and musicians by buying their products direct using paypal etc.

    3) If you are a DJ, radio or TV producer do not play or use tracks RIAA or major lable associations, get off your ass and go out there and find some of the millions of encumberance free tracks that great artists are hoping you will use. Bypass performance rights organisations and negotiate terms with artists directly.

    4) If you are a band or artists NEVER sign a contract with a major company. All your work is protected under copyright by default, that's the law, you don't need any middle man. Get out there and market your stuff, the internet is an amazing tool.

    5) Build your own networks through social and links oriented sites that allow you to exchange info on free music and media. The middlemen rely on your ignorance and disconnect with culture. Get with the program. If you still buy your music from iTunes or from a music shop you're in the wrong century.

    6) Support the EFF, boycott.riaa and other advocacy groups aiming to dismantle and bury the established order of leeching criminal extortionists

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Mike (profile), 16 May 2006 @ 8:16pm

    Re: Greediness hurts in the long run

    I can see both sides to it. One, I am a musician myself, and I need every bit of money I can get. On the other hand, I know personally having music available for free on the internet is a great way to expand a user base, and the recording companies aren't losing too much money in that category.

    But this isn't about music being free on the internet, it's about people recording music off a stream they've paid for.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    9Nails, 16 May 2006 @ 8:20pm

    Making music less accessable to the public

    Now the Recording Industry Ass. of America is just being greedy. $150,000 for every song? They're just polishing a turd and trying to sell it to a judge as gold and diamonds, when it's still just a turd. I really wish I was a judge on this case!

    XM all ready paid fee's to play the music. Now they have to pay more for a feature that their customer *might* use?!

    Someone please make the RIAA go a way! If you're and RIAA lawyer, please charge them more until they're bankrupt from their own stupidity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Smitty, 16 May 2006 @ 8:29pm

    What about fee's to the artists?

    CD sales for an artists have a working formula that can be described at the following link:

    As you see, CD sales don't really benifit the artist as much as it benifits the label. How much of this new fee will be compensated to the artists? Will it be another fat zero?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Jone Doe, 16 May 2006 @ 8:38pm

    I think everyone should quit buying Sony products,
    They were the ones that started all this chit.
    They're electronics are a bunch of junk anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Dwight Schrute, 16 May 2006 @ 8:52pm

    From the news dept...

    In related news, RIAA/MPAA become saddened to learn they don't control rotation of universe...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    some guy, 16 May 2006 @ 9:23pm


    You'd almost think the RIAA just hasn't been aware of Betamax. How about cassette tape recorders? How about my TiVo which, yes, can record the Sirius I get with my Dish Network subscription... oh wait, I can output that to my comp and make MP3's woohoo. :| Oh wait, I can just record straight from my satellite radio receiver to my home component system, my computer, or whatever.

    Oh, so their argument is about mobile devices having recording capabilities then...

    Did they sleep through the Sony WALKMAN, a mobile device that could also recorded FREE AM/FM radio that people weren't even paying for already, like they are with XM?

    Don't hand me that music quality argument. AM sucks but FM sounds great to me! Satellite can be just as scratchy at times.

    Guess what, no one will probably record the music because they aren't getting the entire album. All they have to do is tune in later and I'd bet they will hear the same damn song anyway so why bother recording. Besides, it's already PAID FOR.

    The only reason this is happening is because people are sick of forking out way too much money for CD's in pretty packaging, and now there more alternatives. If Big Brother Music actually paid the artists a decent share, that's one thing, but they don't. You can't cry for the artists, they get the shaft on CD's anyway unless they are making cheapie burns in their basement, or they are Metallica.

    Speaking of, Big Brother Music's offerings SUCK anyway. They promote garbage, tell youth it's cool to like some band, then they pay the radio stations to play garbage, and to cycle it every few hours at most. What's that about anyway? Perhaps people have finally caught on to scheme. I hear something 4 times a day on the radio, I know it's the best track that crappy band has to offer and that's why it's on the radio, so why would I want to buy the CD?! I've already heard their best so many times I hate it after a week of driving to and from work, so they expect me to buy the rest of that drivel?! Seriously! Satellite radio is at least a little better at diversity.

    Perhaps if they were to actually pull up some talent or something a little different that didn't follow the same spoon fed recycled fad pop formula that made them money 1, 2, 5, or 10 years ago, they might see more people start spending money. How many times can you recycle Korn with different band names? 10, more? How many times have I heard virtually the same band with a different name over the last 10 years. Too many. What's worse is listening to the radio in the last few years... you don't have to wait a year to hear the same tired band with a different name, just listen to the next track before you turn the radio off and that's exactly what you'll get!

    I understand that record companies can't produce for artists without money, but they can certainly do it on much less than they enjoy today so it's not about that, yet. It's because some exec didn't get a pay raise last year. The more we won't tolerate it and don't buy their crap, the more they screw the artists so they can hang on to the cut they are accustomed to.

    It's not just about their dying business model and their refusal to adapt to technology and find other painfully obvious ways to make money, it's because all of those other painfully obvious ways to make money don't allow for them to rip off the artists like they have been doing all these years. Their money streams will reduce to a trickle no matter what because they are a dying breed, just like traditional telecom companies. The only difference is, these idiots don't seem to want to try something new to keep the cash rolling in, because they know it won't be as profitable as they think it should be. awe, boo hoo. poor criminals can't keep extorting both us AND the artists at the same time. *sniff* *sniff*

    The only real shame is good bands that don't get radio play (any band that does get radio play is guilty until proven innocent INHO) still want to hang on to the hand that feeds them so little. I'd love it if my favorite bands just put up a paypal link on their website; they could even pay the recording companies with that, only giving them what they think is fair for a change. Too bad they won't (or can't) do it.

    If I ever get some decent recording equipment (actually home stuff is pretty cheap and can produce some very good quality recordings these days) and get my band back together, I'll join the ranks of so many great artists distributing free music on the internet. If I want money, I'll include a paypal link. If I want a good laugh probably too.... we sucked. Well no, we just sounded like radio bands. Yeah, we sucked.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    joe stacey, 16 May 2006 @ 9:40pm

    i understand being a starving artist. i record music, i have $3.75 to my name and i just had Ramen for dinner again..

    but, most of this money doesn't go to the artists.. it goes to the bloodthirsty businessmen whose livelihoods depend on the artists' creations...

    it goes to the labels, the agents, the CEO's, not the artists..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Rick Bunker, 16 May 2006 @ 10:07pm

    why is XM different than FM or cable music channel

    Why does the RIAA want to treat XM differently than FM or the music channels on cable, which can of course be easily recorded? They are digital on the cable channels, too, and on HD FM radio, so it can't be that. Does anyone know their rationale?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Pippy, 16 May 2006 @ 10:19pm

    The RIAA was once created to standardize recording specifications for records- pitch, groove, etc, so that the same LP would sound the same as others.

    Today the RIAA is holding onto an old archaic business model which they can not control, and as a typical dying monopolist, is more involved in creating public policy than enriching the lives of their customerbase.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Pesti, 16 May 2006 @ 10:26pm

    Re: why is XM different than FM or cable music cha

    Rationality assumes intelligence....RIAA obviously has none!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Tricon, 16 May 2006 @ 10:59pm


    How long will it be until people get so fed up that they start buying directly from the artists or perhaps indie-labels? Looking at the future of the Internet and social networks, it would not be hard for bands to promote themselves. In some cases it has even been done.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Mike, 16 May 2006 @ 11:11pm

    XM already pays the record labels MILLIONS in royalties while FM radio pays absolutely NOTHING to the record labels! This is rediculous. They should go after the free radio and the new HD radio that will easily be pirated!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    George, 16 May 2006 @ 11:49pm

    The consumer pays the recording industry for music. The recording industry pays the artist. The artist are the ones complaining that they are not getting paid enough.
    Hmmm. If the artist boycott the recording industry, the consumer and artist are happy. Music will be cheaper, since the artist are not use to getting paid that much and would be happy with a 300% raise. That makes sense to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Ryan, 17 May 2006 @ 3:44am

    This is STUPID

    How can they just do that? They are money hungry, and XM will win in the long run anyway. Even if XM loses, and they have to pay up, the monthly fee will rise, and then they will lose listeners, which eventually will hurt the music industry, so really, they are suing themselves.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    TheMajor, 17 May 2006 @ 5:40am

    XM Owner

    I, too, am a subscriber of XM. If they cave to the RIAA or if they loose a lawsuit and raise prices, I'll ditch the whole thing and go back to my 20GB portable player. I like XM for the variety, local traffic and weather, and so on, but paying more is outside my budget. If XM goes under, because I and others like me can't/won't pay more, then someone from the RIAA please tell me, HOW DID YOU WIN? If you shut down a source of revenue, how is that a good thing? I can't understand a business model that is so anti-customer. "Give me more or you can't have any?" If my local bar-and-grill did that, I tell them to shove it and eat somewhere else. I guess that's it isn't it, the RIAA doesn't think that there is a "somewhere else." Won't they be surprised one day....we can only hope.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2006 @ 5:55am

    Re: xm radio

    the record industry... have the right to protect their interests

    So do I.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2006 @ 7:13am

    Re: From the news dept...

    Right -- that was Microsoft!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2006 @ 7:20am

    Re: why is XM different than FM or cable music cha

    Just a guess, but out of those other options you listed, isn't this the only one where the broadcasting company is also the company selling the recording equipment?

    They're not clamping down on TiVo for recording digital cable stations because TiVo and Comcast, for instance, aren't the same company. Harder for the RIAA lawyers to allege conspiracy when they have so subpeona more than one company. >snicker

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Riverrat, 17 May 2006 @ 7:34am

    Re: From the news dept...

    But you know,they will never stop trying...And congrress,being the spineless jellyfish that they are will cave into their wants every bloody time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Gary, 17 May 2006 @ 7:41am


    Then I suppose we, those who have recorded music from FM radio over the years, owe them money also. I have given up on buying CD's, if we do not own the right to put them on anything we want to listen to, them the music should be $5 a disc!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2006 @ 8:06am


    Besides just being able to record from FM what about anyone who owns a DVR or a VCR?

    Does this mean they will also sue anyone with a DVR/VCR who records music videos or music off of MTV or VH1 or one of the many other music channels (including those that play music and not just music video)

    I can see it now the RIAA will file court orders to have the cable companies and other DVR device/service providers either release the records of people that recorded from certain music channels...and then go after the consumer for doing so or sue the device/service provider and demand more license fees…what a joke

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2006 @ 8:13am

    Re: Don't give up. The media is dead, long live th

    yawn ive never found an unsigned rock giving away free music online that was worth a crap.

    i'll keep trying, but the only way to get anything entertaining is by dealing with the cartel, legally or illegally.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2006 @ 8:48am

    Re: by Mike

    When did FM stop paying the record labels?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2006 @ 9:36am

    Oh my gawd!! Next they will becoming after us because we can record the songs on the radio to cassette tapes! Capitalism at it's finest!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. identicon
    an old guy, 17 May 2006 @ 11:23am

    the past and future

    Everything that I will ever need in music is already either out there for me to capture or is already here with me on cassette, CD and DVD. I am a "Classic Rock", "stuck in the sixties and seventies and eighties" (no Disco please), living in the past graybeard son of a bitch. There is no way they can charge me again for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Bob Seger, Jethro Tull ..... etc, etc, etc..... My 26 year old son likes my music. My 3 year old grandson likes my music. My soon to be born granddaughter will like my music. They all like (or will like) most of my movies too. They get it all from me FOR FREE. They always will. Pure digital copies for free - forever. No rules or legislation can stop that.

    I sit here in my personal office surrounded by technology. Digital sound and video. A powerful computer with massive amounts of storage. DVD player, VCR, cassette deck, 500 channel satellite receiver, high speed internet, dual direction digital/analog signal converter, two CD/DVD burners and software that allows me to snare and copy absolutely anything with no restrictions. I invest in, and keep up with, the latest copy protection busting hardware and software available. I will reproduce my music and video as long as I live and share it as many times as I can. For free. If I pay to see it and/or hear it, I can and will copy it and keep it for posterity. I will shift it from one format to another. If anyone thinks that is stealing then "oh, fucking well".

    Are there really people who believe that they can take all of this away from me? Do they really think that the world is stuck in the past like me and my music? Can they really not see that the world is moving on and you either hold on for the ride or jump off and stay behind? It makes me ashamed that I may have helped this generation of money and power hungry sons of bitches come into existence. I am not, and will not, be one of them.

    This is the only way for me to resist the forces that we all feel from big business and politicians. I will follow MY rules and regulations as to what constitutes "fair use". Screw those people who would control me. Catch me if you can, and then catch my children, and their children and their children. (Zeppelin anyone?)

    This will all fade away and die after a few years - it always does. It will also come back again - it always does. The faces will change but the voices will remain the same. There will always be a new battle and something new to fight over. There will be new armies on both sides and it will go on and on.

    Take what you have and pass it on. Buy new things if you like them, but only buy them once. Don't even think about trying "to sell me something that is mine". (James Gang "Rides Again")

    And you better watch out - there may be dogs about. They watch over the sheep.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    alternatives, 18 May 2006 @ 4:52am

    Most people seem to forget that the record industry releases music to make money and they have the right to protect their interests.

    If they can get the FBI to chase after violators, then why can I?

    I'm stuck having to pay for my own investigations AND via taxation their investigation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Brian Hageman, 18 May 2006 @ 10:14am

    I was just humming an Eagles tune. Can someone please send me a link to where I can send payment to the RIAA. I don't wont them to show up at my house, cut off my ears and lobotomize me because of non-payment of royalties.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. identicon
    Tom McLernon, 22 May 2006 @ 9:31am

    Re: Greediness hurts in the long run

    So you try to earn a living as a musician? Do you actually write and perform your own music? To do this successfully you need a fan base, people who like and buy your music.

    In the old business model the recording companies would sign you up, and record a disk, and then promote and distribute the hell out of the music on radio networks. Then pay the musician pennies on the dollar for album sales.

    There are alternate possible business models now, promotion and distribution is still required to get the fan base and easy access to the music, but the recording companies are no longer required for this function.

    Musicians could probably hire their own management and promotion company, to book promotional tours, have their own web site, and sell directly to the fans. And keep about 90% of the money generated, instead of less than 10%..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. identicon
    Tony, 8 Nov 2006 @ 4:57am

    But you know, they will never stop trying .....And congrres, being the spineless jelyfish that they are will forex cave into their wants every bloody time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. identicon
    none at all, 8 Mar 2007 @ 2:13am

    The recording industry had its day. It is obsolete. Perhaps we will revert to the norm for most humans for most of history, where the vast majority of musicians did NOT get paid for making music. It's high time mass culture finished rotting and was composted -we don't need sheeple OR music that caters to them.

    For christs sake, you can't STOP most musicians from making music. If you like an artist's music, figure out how to send the artist money, tax free. If you feel the need to give their family charity, donate to their family. But don't fall for the delusion that they DESERVE to get paid forever, let alone that corporations that claim to *own* ideas deserve ANYTHING.

    I'm a good lover too. Should I always charge for that? ICK.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. identicon
    Joe Ann and Kwiesi Davis, 1 Aug 2008 @ 9:09am

    Getting Paid per the internet for your original pieces

    SUBJECT: We'd like to get paid for our original when people listent to them via the internet. What companies offers this? My grand son and I are an inter-generational performing arts team with all original music. I'd like to know "if a singer has original pieces that he/or she would like to upload to a record company on line and get paid for their on original stuff whenever music lovers download for listening in car, ipod etc.?" My grand son and I would like to get paid for our hard work in the entertainment industry.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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