You Can Take Away My TiVo When You Pry it From My Cold Dead Fingers

EFF: DeepLinks: In an unbelievable display of consumer hatred, today the four major record labels have filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against XM Radio because they have produced certain receievers that can record satellite radio.

This blows.

From the EFF: “As I’ve pointed out before, a big part of the chilling effect on innovation created by copyright law stems from the thermonuclear effect that statutory damages has in cases involving recording devices. For example, the RIAA is seeking $150,000 in damages for each song recorded by any XM subscriber. The complaint further alleges that XM automatically infringes every song on every channel to which an Inno user is tuned (because the Inno records a live radio buffer, much like TiVo’s 30 minute cache, and the RIAA argues that the buffer is an infringing copy). XM broadcasts 160,000 different songs each month. Assuming 20% of the songs each month are different from the last, that works out to roughly 500,000 different songs each year. Assuming Inno users are tuned in to at least half of those songs, that would mean statutory damages of $37.5 billion! This number obviously bears no relationship to the harm suffered by the recording industry (whose entire gross US revenues are less than $13 billion).”

It is time for lawmakers to bring these tyrants down. It is patently ridiculous that this country would put a penatly of $150,000 in damages because you record one lousy song. The pandering that lawmakers get from Hollywood needs to stop.

The right for individuals to be able to record digital media of any form for personal use ought to be fair use. The record labels are wrong to bring this suit and hopefully the backlash against their tyrant tactics will be strong and swift.

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  1. Gary Crabbe says:

    As someone that cares about the copyright of my own work(s), please let me add the following comments;

    Copyright laws already allow the recording of songs (or TV & Movies) for personal (Fair) use. Copyright laws are not designed to hinder invention or innovation, but rather to spur the role of creativity in society, and to allow artists to profit from their own creativity.

    I know the RIAA is playing big gorilla with big stick, but I’m willing to bet this isn’t as much about keeping one person making a personal recording on X,Y, or Z media, as it is about mass re-distribution of copyrighted material through a venue where someone is paying, be it advertisers or subscribers.

    I think your take on copyright is a bit harsh or biased, and somewhat understandable in light of hollywood & media lawyers. But I think the problem is with the nature of the media conglomerates, their lawyers, and the scope and reach of new technologies, not copyright laws themselves – which your post seems to impart. If a company like Nike or Pepsi willfully stole one of my photos, and used it in a national ad campaign without my permission, I’d be damn happy this country allows me to sue them for up to $150K in statutory damages. Like many things in life, good Laws can be used, or abused.