Tuesday, May 30, 2006

a perfectly cromulent idea

Should Google Support Computer User Groups? Yes!

(Although, I'm not sure all of the suggested "requirements" ought to be enforced, but I think it would be reasonable to make a group seeking funding pick 4 or 5 of these goals to pursue each year.)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Record labels sue XM

Playlist Magazine: Record labels sue XM Radio for copyright infringement
My post on the subject:

Another poster: "They are actually trying to sell you someone else's music without paying royalties!"

XM is the largest single payer of royalties to the RIAA!
"XM Radio already is the largest single payer of digital music broadcast royalties. More, the record labels receive royalties on every XM recording device sold as provided by Congress under the Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA)."

The RIAA / music labels already get money every time someone buys a satellite radio that can record, and a percentage of the monthly fee each subscriber pays to XM or Sirius. They just want more money than they are getting now, and trying to use the force of government to raise their royalty rates even higher.

And, contrary to the article this feedback forum post is attached to, at no time do songs recorded off of satellite radio channels become MP3 files. They stay on the radio, in their native format (in XM's case, AACplus), and the only way they can be used is by listening through an analog output.

While it is true that MP3 and WMA files can be uploaded to the newest XM Radios, those files must be ones that you already have on your computer hard drive, either from converting a CD into digital format, or legal or illegal downloading. There is no way to record XM music and save it onto your computer by plugging the radio in via any digital method. The only way would be to plug the analog output of the radio into the analog input of the computer, and manually hit record on an audio recording program, which is what anyone could do anyway, and the sound would suffer a loss from going from one compressed format into another, therefore degrading its quality.

In fact, in my opinion, the requirement to maintain a continued XM subscription (and therefore a continued royalty payment to RIAA members as part of that monthly fee) is what makes these devices legal. It's very much like Napster To Go, which charges a similar monthly fee and allows listeners to download as much music as they like, with the provision that they must continue to subscribe or else have that music deactivated and unlistenable. XM forces consumers to pay RIAA members each month to be able to listen to music, and I think the record labels should be dancing with joy that satellite radio has found a way to make monthly payments for music palatable to consumers.