Senators Want To Restrict You From Recording From Internet, Cable & Satellite Radio

Jan 13th, 2007 | By | Category: Audio Podcasting, Commentary, General, Video Podcasts

Ars Technica has an good overview of a new bill introduced in the US Senate this week that would force satellite, digital, and Internet radio providers to implement measures designed to restrict the ability of listeners to record audio from the services. Called the “Platform Equality and Remedies for Rights Holders in Music Act” (PERFORM), the bill is sponsored by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Joseph Biden (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Corporate content creators want to control how their work is distributed, and the fact that devices that allow time-shifting are proliferating means that its becoming more and more difficult to control distribution. In particular, the RIAA doesn’t want people to digitally record things like satellite radio, because then you could have a perfect digital copy of songs that you probably wouldn’t go out and buy.

While protecting the rights of copyright holders is important, limiting technology to protect copyrights risks crippling technological innovation.

The new legislation would require content protection on all satellite radio broadcasts along with cable and Internet broadcasts. Broadcasters would be required to “use reasonably available and economically reasonable technology to prevent music theft.”

The popularity of podcasting shows that there growing interest in using technology to time-shift and place-shift media so that users can listen or watch the shows that they are interested in. As more and more people adopt podcasting, companies that try to lock up their content may find themselves handicapped competing against those that create freely distributable podcasts.

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