Why Should XM Have To Get Permission From The Recording Industry To Innovate?

from the still-asking dept

In a rather disappointing move, satellite radio company XM has now settled with EMI concerning a lawsuit over its Inno device, that allowed users to record XM streams. This follows XM's similar settlements with the other major record labels last year. No terms are being announced, which is problematic. The whole problem with this lawsuit was the fact that the record labels seemed to believe that XM was unable to innovate without getting their permission and paying them. The Inno device was simply a device to record satellite radio streams -- which is perfectly legal. Time shifting and recording radio is well-established as being legal. But the recording industry used the case to try to squeeze extra royalty payments out of XM.

This is exactly the sort of "chilling effect" that people keep pointing out when it comes to copyright laws. These laws put the entertainment companies in a position where they get to dictate what kind of devices are legal and which are not. Increasing the uncertainty over whether or not a simple device like the Inno is legal, and forcing a two year legal battle to take place is no way to promote progress and innovation. It just makes many companies unwilling to go through that process just to offer the type of device that makes perfect sense and which customers want. It's doubly troublesome in that the RIAA specifically said that it would not step in to prevent these types of devices. Except that it did.

With that said, I was hoping that XM would stand up to the lawsuits and set a precedent, making it clear that the record labels cannot sue to block new technologies. However, with all of these settlements, that's not the case -- so the uncertainty and the chilling effects remain for all others. No settlement terms have been released, so it may even be that XM agreed to pay off the record labels to get them to settle, which would be even worse. It would just give the labels that much more incentive to keep suing every innovative new product that hits the market. This is extortion that slows down innovation and progress -- which is what we thought copyright was supposed to be promoting.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2008 @ 8:23pm

    Hmm,

    XM has cleared it's way to do what it wants without either clearing the air for a competitor OR affecting the RIAA's basic argument in any way.

    Sounds like it was done in a lawyer's office all right...

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2008 @ 9:01pm

    re

    But by not clearing the air for a competitor they hurt everyone, (except the lawyers of course) because now the RIAA can extort[sp?] some more money from another party (sirius).

    What really needs to happen is non-RIAA companies telling the RIAA to piss off and mind their own business. Period.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2008 @ 11:20pm

    Isn't the Ex-RIAA Chairwoman now a lead consultant to XM radio?

    Kids, how do we spell
    I-R-O-N-Y?

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    mike allen, Jun 11th, 2008 @ 2:17am

    no settlement

    would have been better id XM had said **** off to RIAA (Retards In America Association) and either fought them or refused to even talk to them.

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2008 @ 5:03am

    This is extortion that slows down innovation and progress -- which is what we thought copyright was supposed to be promoting.

    I'm confused: extortion and slowing innovation is what copyright is promoting...

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    RobG, Jun 11th, 2008 @ 6:53am

    Doesn't the DMCA make that kind of recording illegal without a license? Are you saying that XM should break the law or that the law should be changed?

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2008 @ 7:15am

    Re:

    Doesn't the DMCA make that kind of recording illegal without a license?
    No.

     

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

  8.  
    icon
    Errant Garnish (profile), Jun 11th, 2008 @ 8:50am

    Laying low

    This is just political maneuvering. XM is settling in order to "play nice" while their merger with Sirius awaits final approval. They can't fight on every front at the same time and with the same force.

    EG

     

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

  9.  
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    Jason (profile), Jun 11th, 2008 @ 11:28am

    No, RobG

    Recording a broadcast is not illegal. If you still have one, you can put a tape in a tape deck and record on-air radio and listen to that tape as much as you want. It's not only perfectly legal, it's protected.

    RIAA is trying to use this back door by way of the change in broadcast technology to bypass the law and extort people - ultimately it's the end user getting cheated.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    RobG, Jun 16th, 2008 @ 8:45am

    According to the DMCA, in order to qualify for a compulsory copyright, a digital broadcaster "must not ``encourage'' users to copy or record the music that you are playing, and you must ``disable copying by users if in possession of technology capable of doing so.''"

     

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


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