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RIAA Sues XM Satellite Radio 402

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the everyday-evil dept.
skayell writes "The RIAA is suing XM Satellite radio contending that the ability to store songs in memory makes it similar to an iPod, but with no income involved for the RIAA." From the article: "XM said it will vigorously defend this lawsuit on behalf of consumers and also called the lawsuit a bargaining tactic. [...] The labels are currently in talks with XM and its rival Sirius Satellite Radio, to renegotiate digital royalty contracts for broadcasts."
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RIAA Sues XM Satellite Radio

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  • by Buran (150348) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @12:43AM (#15348524)
    So why aren't they suing every radio station in the country, and why haven't they been doing this for decades?

    Digital = terrorist?
  • by Poppler (822173) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @12:46AM (#15348536) Journal
    From the summery:
    The RIAA is ...contending that the ability to store songs in memory makes it similar to an iPod, but with no income involved for the RIAA.

    So this is different, apparantly XM subscribers can store songs on the unit.

    Still ridiculous, of coarse, after all anyone with a computer or a cassette deck can accomplish the same thing.
  • Recordable (Score:3, Insightful)

    by foundme (897346) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @12:47AM (#15348539) Homepage
    I think the one broken leg that RIAA has is songs are recorded in the memory, so it's not a traditional radio broadcast.

    I wonder if RIAA won this case, would it affect MP3 players which allow recording of radio?
  • by Buran (150348) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @12:53AM (#15348558)
    Oh boo hoo hoo, cry me a river. RIAA, not everything has to give you money. Not everything is GOING to give you money. Give it a rest.

    To the poster I'm responding to: yes, I thought of that; a lot of radios out there can record from radio to tape, or maybe some can record to hard drive (like the RadioShark) or to removable media of some kind. But if being able to store part of the broadcast is a bad thing, as said ... why didn't the RIAA sue decades ago?

    I think it's because they know the suit is baseless. It was ruled legal decades ago to timeshift, after all, and being able to record broadcasts for later playback is nothing more than that.

    The RIAA is just trying to capitalize on the technical illiteracy (overall) of judges and juries, I think.

    Hey, can I start suing random companies now because their business models don't involve giving me money?
  • by Raul654 (453029) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @12:53AM (#15348559) Homepage
    "XM subscribers will have little need ever again to buy legitimate copies of plaintiffs' sound recordings" - I don't think the music industry needs any help persuading people never again to buy their music - they're already doing such a fine job of that by themselves.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @12:56AM (#15348568)
    Not Radio Stations, but every Boom Box with a "Record" button.
  • by yakkowakkodot (916507) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:01AM (#15348588)
    Variations on wavelengths, amplified and broadcast, take approximately 3 seconds from source audio to the listener. This cumilatively creates a 'storage medium' where anyone with a reciever can illegally intercept music. This of course can be resolved by renegotiated royalty payments.
  • Payola (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Freaky Spook (811861) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:01AM (#15348590)
    It used to be RIAA members giving Ratio station producers and DJ's gifts, holidays and other fancy toys to promote and play their music.

    Now everythings on digital it seems the RIAA is doing all it can to prevent anyone getting access to their artist products.

    Its a strange world we live in.
  • What? The RIAA ran out of 14 year olds, and non-PC owning soccer moms to sue?

    This is plain silly. First off, they aren't upset at XM Service. They are upset at hardware that works like a radio-Tivo. However, TV companies aren't suing Tivo. They're adapting advertising to Tivo.

    The RIAA is barking up the wrong tree, and pretty soon everyone and I mean everyone will turn on the RIAA. Many artists in the industry hate their tactics. Having a portion of the radio recorded Tivo like is not the same as illegally downloading music from the internet.

    And last time I checked, people were doing recordings from radio for ages.

  • OMGWTFPWND!!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jdwilso2 (90224) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:03AM (#15348596)
    Everyone burn your cassette recorders and cd writers!!! No radio in teh country should be allowed to do this illegal timeshifting nonsense!!! Recordings of our recordings are piracy, theft, and treason!!! /end sarcasm

    The reaction of the RIAA and MPAA to technology should be in the mode of adaptation. The business model of these industries was founded on the difficulty of end users to effectively make use of their fair rights provided for by copyright law. No one treats books like the RIAA and MPAA treat music and movies, yet the publishing industry still does well. We are even seeing online publishing become more and more profitable (as the industry is adapting to the times).

    The RIAA and MPAA only exisit because it used to be difficult to create the media used to distribute copyrighted works of music or film. They dumped money into media creation and distribution and rightfully got a good chunk of the pie when consumers purchased their products. But creation and distribution of any type of copyrighted work is no longer a factor. The RIAA and MPAA serve no real purpose anymore.

    They are afraid and are kicking and screaming their way to bank. Why? because they have so much money for lobbyists and lawyers.

    Bastards.

    I've got to stop or there will be pages and pages of text about how screwed up the recording industry is. /me out
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:12AM (#15348632)
    >Hey, can I start suing random companies now because their business models don't involve giving me money?

    No. You're not rich enough. It would be illegal.
  • Re:Is it just me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cgenman (325138) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:18AM (#15348651) Homepage
    "...XM subscribers will have little need ever again to buy legitimate copies of plaintiffs' sound recordings,"

    With the quality of the Plaintiff's music, I think that's a given.

  • by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:19AM (#15348656)
    I'd like to see how this holds up. From my understanding the RIAA has only been suing people it knows can't afford to go to court offering them "settlements" of large fines, though reduced from what they'd have to pay if they lost. Every time someone has stood up to them they've just tried to get the case dismissed.

    If they're finally suing someone with an equal amount of lawyers and money, it should be an interesting legal precedent.
  • RIAA-world math (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TBone (5692) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:26AM (#15348681) Homepage
    "...Because XM makes available vast catalogues of music in every genre, XM subscribers will have little need ever again to buy legitimate copies of plaintiffs' sound recordings,"

    Unless someone invented some sort of new way of compressing and storing broadcasts, by my quick math, figuring an average of 4 minutes per song, a user would need 214 Inno's to record the "vast catalog" and never have to buy music again. And this doesn't include any new music that comes out from this day forward.

    Only in RIAA-world do the suits think the average consumer has $77,000+ (for 214 Inno's at $360 each) to plunk down right now, plus 63+ weeks to spend 24/7, recording entire catalogs of music.

    It's a limited storage device with even more restrictions on moving content than cassette/CD have now, and they're already proven legal in piles of court cases. You almost have to wonder if RIAA has any income stream, given how hard they're trying to make money through the legal system.

  • by Buran (150348) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:30AM (#15348700)
    Can you back that up?

    There's this little case called the "Betamax Case" that affirmed the rights of the public to record broadcasts for later listening. Perhaps you have heard of it? It gets discussed a lot on Slashdot.
  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:41AM (#15348731) Homepage Journal

    So why aren't they suing every radio station in the country, and why haven't they been doing this for decades?

    The last thing the RIAA wants is a level playing field, because if one existed, their leverage would disappear. With radio, they can still engage in payola [wikipedia.org] practices. With XM and Sirius, they're dealing with entities that would rather control their own destinies, rather than suck on the RIAA's teat. It's not that XM and Sirius are digital, but that they are nation-wide and multi-channel. The RIAA can bully individual stations with impunity, and even the big guys like Clear Channel play along because they've essentially bought into the cartel. But XM and Sirius aren't part of the cartel, so the RIAA is giving them a shot across the bow. The message is: "Join the club, or we'll take you down."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:42AM (#15348740)
    Because on radio the RIAA have control over what gets played and what is promoted.
    sat radio doesn't play by market rules. So RIAA has to crack the whip. It'll only work so long before the lion eats the tamer.

  • by Flying pig (925874) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:50AM (#15348778)
    In a way it is funny that an industry that famously runs on cocaine, hookers and brown envelopes suddenly has so much respect for the law. But then what do we expect? People who have become used to inflated incomes, being able to give vent to their personality disorders, and a general lack of accountability are suddenly under threat. And they react just like any other mob, except that they use lawyers rather than guns (though if things start to go against them enough, I wouldn't bet on it.)

    Despite frequent anti-lawyer postings on Slashdot (I confess, I do it too) lawyers are better than guns; they destroy greenbacks and leave people standing. Paradoxically, the RIAA is an example of why we actually need lawyers. Or would you prefer Apple HQ to be taken out by the RIAA's Somali IP department? Or downloaders to be taken out in drive-by shootings.

    The business of lawyers is to be cheap enough that "businessmen" go to them rather than to hit-men, and expensive enough that "businessmen" have to be at least partly selective about who they sue.

  • by BlueScreenOfTOM (939766) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:52AM (#15348788)

    Coming from an XM Subscriber, I wouldn't WANT to record the content from the service, as it is far from CD Quality. In fact, FM sounds better in a lot of scenerios... and I've been able to tape from FM for as long as I can remember.

    Despite its quality issues, I like the XM service and am sorry to hear about this. XM is in enough financial trouble, so I've read in recent articles, and I don't think they need this. I doubt the RIAA will make them go under, but this certainly can't be good for the service.

    As far as the RIAA, I'm wondering what's next. I'm thinking they're going to sue Amazon for those 30-second 32kbps sample clips they have from CDs. And I wouldn't be at all surprised if some smart-ass exec at RIAA is reading this right now, and just yelped "BRILLIANT!" at the top of his lungs.

  • Re:Finally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fëanáro (130986) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:59AM (#15348798)
    If it's going to cost them 10 million to "tear em a new one" in court, or 0.5 million in re-negotiated royalty fees, the choice is pretty clear.

    I suspect the re-negotiation fees are meant to be a more permanent income stream for the RIAA meaning they want something recurring per song or per month.
    In the long run, this fee will be more expensive than any court fee.
  • by Mantrid42 (972953) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @02:20AM (#15348873)
    So, the RIAA is angry at people producing hardware to record XM radio, right? Isn't it impossible to get rid of this hardware? I mean, the radio has to have a speaker of some kind, right? So can't you always just cut the wires going to the speaker, wire them to an audio jack, and plug that into your sound card? Theres always a way.
  • Re:Is it just me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jthill (303417) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @02:44AM (#15348960)
    The problem here is that they've flat out said what the cynics have asserted all along: the RIAA believe they should be paid every time anybody hears anything. He didn't take it out of context. He identified the context RIAA are trying to establish: that to shuffle papers and holler and scream in the press and drag people to court and demand everybody's money for work other people did forty years ago somehow makes them useful members of society.

    It's real simple. They're not the only ones caught in this bind. There are too many people on this planet, and not enough useful to do. It's hard to tell thousands of people to go practice the frenchfry question. Nobody wants to do that. Nobody. So we leave niches open for them. They can play War on Some Drugs, or be Direct Marketers. "Deficits are meaningless. Reagan proved that." That's one of the guys running our sock puppet. Translation: at the level of national policy, money has long since been utterly decoupled from value. The name of the game has become musical rice-bowls, and most politicians are rice-bowl manufacturers. The RIAA are hoping they can get another before the music stops.

    There's no question that recording a copyrighted broadcast is legal. It's legal. Distributing that recording isn't; performing that recording in public isn't. That attempt to categorize the mere possibility of recording off a broadcast as "disseminating" is another reframing attempt, exactly like you're trying to do with "legitimate".

  • by houghi (78078) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @02:54AM (#15348997)
    Just sue each and every person they can see. I know they can sue me. I have one of these tunes [findarticles.com] in my head that I can't get rid off it and I know I have not payed for it.

    As I apparently am able to store music, I must be sueable under the same rules.
  • by professionalfurryele (877225) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @03:03AM (#15349024)
    How many times...

    Downloading copyrighted material without the copyright owners permission might, might, be copyright infringement. Copyright is a legal concoction which only exists because it is supposed to enhance the public domain. It is not a right that is comparable to the right to own property. Why? Because the right to own property has a moral basis. We agree collectively that people can own property, things, stuff. Objects you can touch with you hand.

    You cant own general relativity. You cant own the designs to you new death ray. You cant own that song you wrote. You can keep them secret if you want. But if you go public with them, then you cant complain when people copy them. You might be granted a limited monopoly in some way to encourage you to produce and release this information, but that is not a moral right you are entitled to, it is just an economic device.

    Downloading is not stealing, and copyright legislation needs to take into account again that fact.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @03:17AM (#15349063)
    The epithet 'communist' doesn't exactly work here. The RIAA is arch-capitalist, they are using their money to maintain strategic manipulation of the market. The position that what the RIAA is doing is wrong is actually a pretty far-left position relying on the assumption that copyright rightfully belongs to everyone.

    I'd say you were more of a communist than the RIAA.
  • by Znork (31774) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @03:55AM (#15349174)
    "I wonder how the RIAA plans to stop /that/?"

    It's called broadcast flag.

    "becasue I can save stuff to my DVR"

    Again, they want to be able to sue the cable company if it doesnt implement broadcast flags, and they want to be able to sue your DVR maker if your DVR doesnt honor them.

    "it will be difficult to figure out exactly where to draw the line."

    It is impossible to draw the line simply because it's not based on specific logical grounds founded in reality. It's simply not a physical product, and there is no line between transmission, conversion, duplication and storage.

    Basically, the RIAA wants to get paid for anything and everything. They'd like to get paid for you hearing a song in the background of a phone conversation, they'd even like to get paid for you whistling a song. The only limitation is what technological means exist to enforce it.

    I suspect this type of sociopathic behaviour is more or less unavoidable when you hand over state-protected monopoly powers to private parties.
  • by ksheff (2406) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @04:00AM (#15349189) Homepage

    All this lawsuit-circus is about forcing people to buy CDs. People want no more CDs.

    If I'm going to pay for music, I'm sure as hell NOT going to buy it in a lossy format. Let me know when XM, iTunes, or any other major music service allows me to pay for and download FLACs from their catalog (a few independent musicians already do). Until then, I'll buy CDs.
  • by jacksonj04 (800021) <nick@nickjackson.me> on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @04:38AM (#15349284) Homepage
    It's like any patent is immediately a new and shiny technology if you append "on the INTERNETS!!!!". After all, being able to record content online is totally different from being able to record that movie you watched on Cable. I mean, one comes down a wire in the ground and the other... umm...
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @06:00AM (#15349498) Homepage
    With XM and Sirius, they're dealing with entities that would rather control their own destinies, rather than suck on the RIAA's teat.

    Im you are wrong there. The biggest Teat sucker on this planet in Radio is Clear Channel.

    Guess who Owns a big stake in XM... Clear Channel. They are more than happy to suck on that Payola teat in the XM world. It is really stinking easy to pick out the XM channels that are sucking that teat hard BTW. they sound exactly like your regular FM clear Channel station.

       
  • by mangu (126918) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @06:16AM (#15349544)
    Why would they? If it's going to cost them 10 million to "tear em a new one" in court, or 0.5 million in re-negotiated royalty fees, the choice is pretty clear.


    Because the 0.5 million would be just the down payment on a total sum that's much more than any legal expenses would be. The reasoning goes both ways, would the RIAA be willing to spend 10 million in court if all they could get in the end were 0.5 million in re-negotiated royalty fees?

  • by caudron (466327) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @06:42AM (#15349640) Homepage
    Still ridiculous, of coarse, after all anyone with a computer or a cassette deck can accomplish the same thing.

    And you pay a royalty to the RIAA for every blank tape sold in the US.

    And you pay a royalty to the RIAA for every blank CD for your computer that claims to be a "Music" CD Blank.

    Not so ridiculous now, huh? The RIAA has always wanted to collect a royalty on all things that can copy, in any way whatsoever, their "product". They are evil and greedy. There is one way to stop them. Stop listening (note I did not say BUYING, I said LISTENING) to their music. There's other---better--music out there.

    Tom Caudron
    http://tom.digitalelite.com/ [digitalelite.com]
  • by Professor_UNIX (867045) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @07:01AM (#15349714)
    So this is different, apparantly XM subscribers can store songs on the unit.

    Still ridiculous, of coarse, after all anyone with a computer or a cassette deck can accomplish the same thing.

    Not all of them can store songs on a unit. It's meant for time-shifting shows like a TiVo so people can record the show and then play it back when they're stuck without a signal like on a subway or in a building. As you said, how is this ANY different than the billions of radios that sold with cassette decks included for decades. They're really grasping at straws now and the government needs to smack these fuckers down a notch or two and stop them from wasting the courts' time. I bet 99% of the people that use that recording functionality use it to timeshift talk shows anyway and not music.

  • by jez9999 (618189) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @08:39AM (#15350241) Homepage Journal
    I don't think it would be illegal to sue anyone for anything.
  • by gutnor (872759) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @08:55AM (#15350353)
    Yep that's true there are still quality radio out there !

    I was indeed actually talking about the biggest station that play mostly mainstream music.

    I guess that's all the paradox of RIAA and other big "artist" association.

    IP laws and DRM only creates a "bigger" market for well established artists. People rush to buy Madonna albums whatever if it contains music or not, but if you are a small artist and nobody has ever heard (even "illegaly") your music, who will buy it ? Off course those small artists are I suppose not too happy if they lyrics are replaced by "Radio Contact-tact-tact" while Madonna only have to give a 5 sec crappy sample of a song.

    Strange like IP Laws and Patent Laws seems only to raise the entry level on the market instead of lowering it as they were ( and still are ) supposed to do.
  • by GrahamCox (741991) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @09:07AM (#15350437) Homepage
    ... communist bastards...

    You misspelled "capitalist". Either that or you still believe all that 50s McCarthyist crap about reds under the bed. Wake up, communism is nothing to fear, nor ever was.
  • Re:Finally (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @09:59AM (#15350899) Homepage Journal
    If it's going to cost them 10 million to "tear em a new one" in court, or 0.5 million in re-negotiated royalty fees, the choice is pretty clear.

    Absolutely: see them in court. There's a lot of financial value to be had in demonstrating that you won't voluntarily submit to extortion.

  • by BalanceOfJudgement (962905) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @10:51AM (#15351418) Homepage
    In that case, declare it a cartel and sue it under the RICO laws. Seriously, collusion and price fixing are the LEAST of their crimes, and even those are enough to get the "association" disbanded.
  • by Moofie (22272) <lee AT ringofsaturn DOT com> on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @11:15AM (#15351653) Homepage
    "communism is nothing to fear, nor ever was."

    Yep. Stalin was just a big, misunderstood teddy bear. And the Cultural Revolution was really about getting more people to watch ballet.
  • Re:Finally (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrhartwig (61215) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @12:10PM (#15352066)
    While I suspect you're right for a large number, or even a majority, of cases, there are companies that will pay extra to prove they won't bow to extortion. Hopefully XM is one of those.

    Prime /.-relevant example: IBM probably could have bought out SCO a long time ago for less than they're going to end up paying in legal fees, time & materials, etc.

"Those who will be able to conquer software will be able to conquer the world." -- Tadahiro Sekimoto, president, NEC Corp.

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