January 12, 2007 10:35 AM PST
Senators aim to restrict Net, satellite radio recording
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Opponents argue the proposed rules would stymie users' ability to record music off the radio. And by forcing Webcasters to blanket their content with DRM schemes, they would essentially erase the possibility of editing broadcasts for personal use and would potentially make the shows interoperable with fewer portable players.
Under current law, Webcasters must pay royalties to record companies and may not assist their users in recording their Webcasts, but they do not have to employ DRM. Most streaming radio stations, including those operated through Live365, ShoutCast and Apple's iTunes, use an open MP3-streaming format.
The proposal "remains a fundamental assault on consumers' reasonable rights and expectations about home recording and fair use in any modern context," said Robert Schwartz, general counsel to the Home Recording Rights Coalition.
Gigi Sohn, president of advocacy group Public Knowledge, said she sympathized with calls for streamlined music licensing but blasted the bill as "a direct attack on the satellite music industry and on nascent terrestrial digital radio." She said the bill attempts wrongly to equate download services like iTunes with radio services.
"This bill looks to the past rather than to the future," she said in a statement, "by limiting the ability of consumers to use material to which they have subscribed and by limiting future innovations in electronics."
CNET News.com's Declan McCullagh contributed to this report.
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