EFF, Brennan Center Argue Against Restrictions on Future Technologies

San Francisco, CA and New York, NY - If the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) gets its way, consumers will not be permitted to listen to digital radio broadcasts unless they use an industry-approved device. The RIAA is particularly hostile to any TiVo-like recording device for digital radio. Today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Brennan Center for Justice filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in an attempt to stop the RIAA's plan to regulate digital radio technologies of the future.

In a letter to the FCC, the RIAA argued that the commission should force broadcasters to encrypt their digital radio signals so that only approved devices can descramble and play digital broadcasts. This is only the latest chapter in a decades-long campaign by the RIAA to stop home recording of radio broadcasts. But as EFF and the Brennan Center point out in their comments, it is perfectly legal for people to make home recordings of radio broadcasts under current copyright laws.In essence, the RIAA is urging the FCC to override home recording rights guaranteed to the public by copyright law.

Marjorie Heins, founder of the Brennan Center's Free Expression Policy Project, said, "Having failed in their congressional efforts to restrict home taping, the recording industry is now asking the FCC to go beyond copyright law to interfere with the public's right to make recordings of radio broadcasts for home use. This would be a perversion of the FCC's role, and home recording poses no threat to corporate copyright interests that could conceivably justify it."

"The RIAA is trying to halt the development of next-generation digital technologies, like a Tivo for radio -- technologies that are perfectly legal under copyright law," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "This is about restricting personal home taping off the radio, something that Congress has said is legal and that millions of Americans have been doing for decades."

The EFF/Brennan Center comments .


Natalia Kennedy
Media Relations Manager
Brennan Center for Justice

Fred von Lohmann
Senior Intellectual Property Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Related Issues