January 13, 2006 1:30 PM PST

Tension grows between labels and digital radio

The entry of satellite and digital radio into the technological mainstream is increasing tension with the record industry, which wants new rules governing how consumers can make digital copies of songs from the airwaves.

At issue are new devices that can record and save high-quality digital copies of tunes as they're being broadcast by these new networks. Recording executives are worried that consumers might increasingly opt to make such copies instead of purchasing the music on a commercial CD or from a download store like Apple Computer's iTunes.

For now, the Recording Industry Association of America is in negotiations with satellite radio companies and is opening discussions with radio broadcasters over specific products. But over the long term, the music industry says, Congress should find a way to regulate these new digital radio networks so labels can get paid when consumers keep copies of songs, as is the case with iTunes.

"We've got to find a way to harmonize this so it's rational," said Mitch Bainwol, the RIAA's chief executive officer. "There are going to be new technologies that are great for fans, and great for the entire music world, but they're all operating on different platforms, and all operating on different rule sets."

In some sense, the new digital technologies are simply rekindling one of the music industry's oldest debates, over how record labels should be compensated when their music is played over the air.

Congress has historically come down on the side of the broadcasters in this debate, saying that radio stations can play whatever music they want while paying only a relatively small amount of money to songwriters and publishers for the right to "perform" the song on-air--and not paying record companies at all.

Similarly, the right of consumers to tape songs off the radio has generally been held to be fair use.

However, when Congress set the rules for Internet and other digital broadcasts in 1998, it gave record companies the right to royalties from Internet and satellite radio broadcasts. That's set up a patchwork of different rules for different new media companies, even as technology has brought the way consumers use their services more closely together.

For now, the most pressing issues focus on whether digital broadcasts can be legally recorded and archived. For instance, a new device from Sirius radio called the S50 lets people save individual songs. Sirius and the RIAA are in negotiations over this device.

XM Satellite Radio pulled a PC-based radio receiver from the market last year over music-copying concerns, and the company says none of its devices can now be used to transfer and store content on a computer. XM says it is happy to continue talking to the record industry about its products.

"The year 2006 will be one of negotiation between satellite radio and the music industry," said XM spokesman Nathaniel Brown. "Music is an important partner for XM, and we look forward to continuing our discussions with them in hopes of arriving at a business solution that fits everyone."

Similarly, radio broadcasters are worried about RIAA proposals to change the way digital radio is sent over the air. Labels have proposed several ideas, ranging from a "broadcast flag"-like marker in digital broadcasts, which would prevent recordings from being traded online, to wholesale encryption of radio streams to prevent recording.

This week saw an exchange of letters between the RIAA and the National Association of Broadcasters proposing negotiations over the digital radio issue, rather than an immediate trip to Congress.

"We hope to continue dialogue with you as the radio and recording industries keep working towards mutually acceptable resolution of this issue," NAB Chief Executive Officer David Rehr wrote to Bainwol. "Such formal discussions could move the industries forward aggressively, rather than relying on a congressional mandate."

These ongoing discussions have helped keep tensions in check. But Bainwol said the RIAA is still set on a long-term goal of changing the digital rules so there's "parity" between the different kinds of services that let consumers wind up with a digital copy of a song.

The upcoming year, with congressional elections, war and other big issues distracting legislators, is unlikely to see much action on copyright topics. But early bills, and discussions with legislators, exploring the issue are likely, Bainwol said.

That prospect has prompted continued attention from consumer electronics companies and the broadcasters.

"Our concern remains that this is an effort to stifle technology before it has a chance to grow," said Consumer Electronics Association spokesman Jeff Joseph. "It has never been illegal to record a song off the radio in the context of fair use."

33 comments

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RIAA becoming ridiculous
It is becoming really ridiculous. People always had tape recorders (which where top-tech 10 yrs ago) now it is just the same but digital. And now they have a problem, come on! Just lower the prices so its not worth to do it at all.
Posted by cocos2000 (37 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not even close
If I tape something, I cannot, for free, make it available to millions. And with tape, a copy of a copy degrades quickly; not so with digital.
I agree that the RIAA is attempting to maintain an old school company in a new world, but we all need to accept that it is a new world. 'Fair use' met Napster, and both sides need to re-evaluate.
Posted by catchall (245 comments )
Link Flag
Twilight of the morons.
The RIAA is attempting to preserve its own existence, not help the artists or consumers of music and radio.

I would question the need for the RIAA, and most of the major labels as they exist. I think what will emerge is a more streamline process of music being created by the artist, and sold directly to the consumer. The only middle player will be the likes of Apple and others, who frankly are a bit more consumer minded than the labels are now.

Old industries trying to grip onto the past will fail in due time.

NWLB
*****************
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.NWLB.net" target="_newWindow">http://www.NWLB.net</a>
Posted by NWLB (326 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Damn right.
The RIAA is just trying to stay alive. I mean, there are things in place thatdo not allow radios to tell you what they are going to play (with the exception of special events, live shows, etc.) or how long the songs are. I'm mostly talking about internet radios, but It is extremely hard to record something off an internet radio without recording a bunch of stuff, figuring out where something starts and ends, and cutting it out of the saved stuff, which results in sudden beginnings/endings, and generally worse sounding media than if the song were ripped from some other medium. This said, there shouldn't be anything against this in the first place, since someone like me, who would save songs off the internet, would most likely not distribute the samed media at all, because they are only following self interest.

Personally, I do think that apple, and all the other middle people excluding the RIAA/lable ARE consumer friendly, but since the lables are rich bastards, they can afford to snub those people who stand for free music, because whether we like it or not, we are a minority.

That said, I've gotta say I would love to see more music distributed through websites like soundclick, and all of the independant music distribution websites. Internet radio is cool and all, but the one I go to has a lot of unique content that is not available to be bought, nor can we rip it, so it is only accessable from the station, which unfortunately, only allows us to hear the song(s) at the mercy of the DJ. This is a big issue to me, and needs to be changed. Eiher we should be allowed to rip music like that, or buy it someplace.
Posted by Bobbias (55 comments )
Link Flag
No doubt about it,
RIAA is asking Congress to legislate their immortality. Other industries have come and gone as technology made them unnecessary but those folks never had as much power to lobby as this organization.
Until Mr. Edison invented recording, music existed a back porch, livng room, church or theater "live" shared social event. All of those, with the exception of the theater, were free. We've only had a "recording industry" for about 80 years. If technology created this industry, what's wrong with technology ending it?
If someone invents a cheaper, safer means of transportation, will Congress declare it illegal in order to protect Auto manufacturers? This is where the myth of "representative democracy" is exposed as the few who make billions of dollars in this business wag Congress like a puppy's tail.
Posted by El Kabong (100 comments )
Link Flag
The RIAA is at it again.
Ok, they couldn't control people recording music off the air. So, they decided to tax every blank cd-r because of the potential of being used to record or duplicate cd's. I wonder if such tax was also passed on tapes.

Now, they're trying to stiffle the new technology. I don't trust the major labels. They're just like any other huge corporation. But, I don't blame them for trying.

Come on people. When was the last time a corporation was looking out for the consumers??? Mention one. They're all looking out for their bottom lines.
Posted by Dead Soulman (245 comments )
Reply Link Flag
riaa
Recently there was a blog that had the link to the Library of Congress area that oversees the "piracy tax". I don't still have the link but when I looked it appeared that any recording media had a tax paid by the manufacturer. Every January recording artists and labels apply for their share of this fund... Strange they are fighting to prevent the use of the recording media that they are getting money from...

Explain how it is right to pay a tax on something but wrong to use it?
Posted by chhooks (21 comments )
Link Flag
Old School
That god for old technologies. My Reel-to-Reel and DAT recorders are starting to come in handy. At least until the RIAA makes those illegal.
Posted by kookier (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Working on that!
They are working on breaking the digital to analog loop. So that you will be unable to take any digital media and convert it to any analog signal. They are also looking to push through laws that prevent you from making copies of any digital recordings you make, so that your new digital cam-corder would be unable to make copies.

Left unchecked the RIAA will remove all fair use from all devices and make it impossible for anyone to enter the market. It would become illegal to own or use any equipment that would make it possible to produce your own digital content.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Link Flag
mp3.com and free music
Way back when it was legal to download music in the not-so-dark ages there existed mp3.com
Some of the best music I have heard I downloaded from unknown artist such as a church worship leader from a small church somewhere in Africa... Great music, a real genius! He recorded his own stuff, he wrote it and played it! But now it is impossible to find such anywhere thanks to the infernal riaa...
I say, Free speech, Free music, Free America!
Posted by chhooks (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I Miss mp3.com, Too
i miss mp3.com, too. i used to buy their dam cd's (digital audio media cd's, a real cd with the mp3 files included in a folder) before they started getting a bit greedy, too--$5.95 for unknown artits was okay. $12.95 was not.

you might try indy:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.indy.tv" target="_newWindow">http://www.indy.tv</a>

you can also try stationripper and record stations playing alternative music:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.stationripper.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.stationripper.com/</a>

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Link Flag
RIAA what a JOKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You little boys have gone to far. Let it go your not going to control nothing and here is something to chew on. YOU NEVER HAVE!!!!!!! Fact one, ask how many people copied songs off of albums onto cassette tape so that they could play them in there cars or portable tape players, my point in hand, you BOZO are crying about sopmething you have NEVER had a handle on. But you want to blame it the technology, you boys need to grow up and get a real life. And if you think your going to file charges, you better look in the mirror, cause I know you boys was guilty of the same thing when you younger, and you say you didn't YOUR a lier. Your services are not need your a big was of money in my point and is more than likely what is drive CD cost so high, because of your worthless services. This really makes me mad, this has gone on for years long before the RIAA was ever thought of.... just think about all of this. I guess the RIAA, should take everyone including them selves to court and press charges for coping.... hahaha yeah right.
Posted by Mastahbazz (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
RIAA will never stop...
The RIAA will never stop choking technology until the the money goes away. As long as their bank roll is fat we have to suffer while they pay politicians and lobbyist to do their dirty work.
Posted by chadhembree.com (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Never a good idea...
It is never a good idea to allow one industry to dictate how another industry should be run. While the record labels can prove a potential for damages, they should not have be provided with a carte blanche control over all music related industries.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No suprise from the RIAA pigopilists
they want to lock down and charge for everything and screw the consumer at every turn. They haven't managed to figure out the more they lock things up the less consumers want it. With all the competition for the consumers entertainment dollar they can't afford to make themselves any more unattractive. I suspect if they continue like this their sales will continue to slump. They're just begging people to go back to P2P since all they do with DRM is punishing the people who are buying music. I won't buy music from Apple or Napster etc because I don't think I should have to ask for permission to play music I paid for on more than one computer.

Don't be surprised if one day they try to make music pay per play.
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Talk radio?
Sooner or later the talk show hosts will realize this too. Why buy
the CD version of the best of HJoward Stern or Rush Limbaugh, etc.
if you can capture them off your digital radio?
Posted by qka (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Support unsigned local bands.
This is why I only purchase CDs from local unsigned bands. I don't want some record label telling me what I can or can't listen to. Yes, there are some good signed bands. There are many more unsigned bands that have the same or better quality. Give them your money.
Posted by ralfthedog (1589 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Support Unsigned Local Bands
I agree with you. Local and so called underground
/independent artists sound better than what is heard on the radio. Major labels are really out of touch with the mainstream.
Posted by OMANXL1 (2 comments )
Link Flag
CONSUMER does NOT equal THIEF!
What does it take to get the RIAA to understand that the ordinary consumer of recording-related products is NOT A THIEF? If the RIAA is so obsessed with file-sharing, then why doesn't it focus it's efforts squarely on large-scale file sharing and quit trying to criminalize people who have legitimately purchased items or services? By stepping their foot into the digital radio/recorder services, they are merely stepping themselves further into the quicksand. By fighting people that
"might" be file sharing, they rarely catch up with the ones that actually are. All these efforts do for the ordinary consumer is to discourage them away from the music industry and new technology. People have a definite right to make copies of what they consider memorable off the radio, or personal mixes/copies of their own purchased media, on radio or otherwise.

What's this coming to, folks? When are we going to have to turn in our DVRs/TiVos? When does this nonsense of the RIAA end?

For the RIAA to blame technology, when things don't turn out in their favor($$$), is so completely lame. The "record" function has been around for decades, and for the RIAA to fight it now on digital radio is purely ridiculous. The moment I purchase a bundle of Sirius or XM streams
I should be able to do with them as I wish, including pre-recording them(like TiVo) for my enjoyment later on. There are times when it makes perfectly good sense to record something, not for file-sharing purposes, but for the convenience of listening to them down-the-road. This simple idea the RIAA doesn't seem to understand. When I purchase any product related to the music industry, I expect it to fit into MY lifestyle and preference when I get it home, not the RIAA's.
Posted by Michael G. (185 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Where is RIAA.com?
I find it hard to take the RIAA seriously when they talk about technical issues when they can't even maintain a web site. www.riaa.com hasn't been up for months, as far as I can determine. It must be difficult, when all your customers hate you.

PS If you want to get back at the RIAA, buy used CD's or shop at sites like www.magnatune.com
Posted by feliusrex (48 comments )
Reply Link Flag
...
It's up right now. Enjoy.
Posted by Deelron (60 comments )
Link Flag
So what's new!
The recording industry's continuous history of deceit and dishonesty behaviour to this point in time makes most criminal mafia gangs look like honest citizens(well at least they pay income taxes)!

Oh well, like all new broadcasting mediums, they seek to own it lock stock and barrel, to the point they will never be happy even with a tithe on every salary and income paid to every citizen on this planet, except for thiers of course!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Content/Media Piracy
Content/media piracy, as it is applied today, is forever a problem for as long as the public are allowed to access them (free or not).

This was never a problem with the good old radios and TVs. Duh!

The safest for these digital contant/media is to keep them forever sealed where they can never be seen, heard or accessed by anyone.

Then they can neither be pirated... nor sold...

:p
Posted by Mendz (519 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Turning back the clock
It has been my personal observation from almost the beginning of the HDTV hype that what media publishers and/or content owners want is to turn back the clock to the days when the consumers could not record any electronic media, i.e. when they had to organize their lives around viewing the TV content or listening to the radio content they valued. What they fail to acknowledge is there is no going back. In today's fast paced world, the majority of consumers aren't willing to do that anymore because it's just not practical.

The one and only week I have ever been asked to fill out a Nielsen survey (back in the mid-90's) it was difficult to report that I was timeshifting my serious viewing. If this hasn't changed, it's no wonder the content owners don't understand this issue.

What does this have to do with the RIAA? They too want to turn back the clock. Radio became a means of advertising their product (vinyl back then). They influenced what the radio stations played and consumers bought their product. That's what the "payola" scandals are all about. But the right of first sale meant that consumers could loan, swap, or resell the products they purchased. By locking down digital content, the RIAA seeks not only to quash fair use, but also the right of first sale. I have yet to see a music download DRM that supports right of first sale. If I'm wrong, someone please correct me.

I refuse to support any music download that not only hobbles my fair use rights, but also takes away my right of first sale.
Posted by C.Schroeder (126 comments )
Link Flag
Ureeka!
Maybe if the RIAA is so worried about digital content and all the things that can be done with it, they should only release their content in analog, that way no one could get a digital copy.

Seriously, in the near future we the consumer will have no analog sources left, but as everything moves to digital the media industry cries foul at every action that has been performed for years and ruled as legitimate fair use by the courts. Yes, P2P has a huge potential for abuse... but recording from the radio? Does the RIAA really truly believe that if we can't record, we'll automatically buy? Haven't they realized that we record when we have no intention of buying, but wish investigate an artist more? Maybe we'll eventually buy something by that artist, maybe not. But if we can't check it out and decide, we most certainly won't buy.
So we pay for radio now. It happens to be digital. But more importantly it's the only source for discovering new music via broacast... corporate radio over the air is all but dead with it's tightly constricted 20 song playlists constructed and the national corporate offices. If the RIAA decides to kill this too, just how do they expect to promote new music? Sell us trailers for the latest (insert pretty face name here) album? (Single play only, of course!)

Of course the industry could take the high road and focus on adding more value instead of more profit to the media they sell. By making it more attractive to buy the full media package instead of ripping a song from the radio, they just my find consumers knocking at their door. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
Posted by skeptik (590 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Here is an idea
Radio is the main medium to release new productions/artists to the consumer.

They have all the power: if they decide they are fed up with the RIAA, and decide from now on they will only broadcast "old" material, and boycott any new material, RIAA will feel the effect of that immediately, and speaking for myself,I won't miss the new stuff that much...
But of course, it will be the pirates fault again.
Posted by Steven N (487 comments )
Link Flag
ALL RIAA Executives should be in PRISON
doing time for screwing the public for years!!
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Reply Link Flag
One of solutions...
Look, let's stop complaining about RIAA and just think of a compromise solution. I have an XM MyFi (which allows recording) so I know the pains (well, not as much as the Sirus people, lol).

I think, what RIAA should ask for is inability of people to move recorded songs off the portable device (like MyFi) onto a PC. I think, this is reasonable. It's not possible right now (at least with MyFi) but with the new MP3+Live XM players (like two new ones announced at CES), they should be made so that the portion of the memory card with songs recorded from XM is not accessible (and those songs could be encrypted too).

Lest I appear to be an RIAA-fan (I'm sure not!), I believe if that is done, all other restrictions should be removed. On MyFi you can't delete individual songs and scheduling is hampered. The new Sirius player has some funky stuff going on too.
Posted by Rusdude (170 comments )
Reply Link Flag
music and copying
Where was RIAA in days of albums, tapes and radio broadcasts. I remember days, when we would borrow or wait for late night full album broadcasts of music or just record and edit blocks of fm broadcasts. Does seem like big brother is not only watching, but trying to take over. But maybe they don't remember then...?
Posted by kirktheturk (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Just play old music
I like the idea of radio stations refusing to play any music covered by the RIAA. I feel we should boycott any artist / label that supports the riaa. Listen, any musicians out there, release your music yourself! Make your own cd's... Buy a cd copier and bulk them yourself. Market them yourself. Someone open a good website for unsigned muscians... Oh Yeah! Almost forgot, cdbaby.com! Just let them sell your music! People, go to cdbaby to buy! (no I don't represent them just admire their stance) OUT WIT THE RIAA!!!!
UNITE AGAINST TYRANNY, DOWN WITH THE RIAA!
Posted by chhooks (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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