June 16, 2004 | By Fred von Lohmann

RIAA Gunning for Home Taping (Again)

Thanks to the smart reporting of JD Lasica, you may know that the RIAA is asking the FCC to lock down digital radio with content protection (echoes of the "broadcast flag" for digital television). EFF, joined by the Brennan Center, filed its comments today explaining why this is a bad, bad idea.

Digital radio is just emerging in most U.S. markets (this is the AM/FM sideband variety, not Sirius or XM satellite radio). Based on its earlier letters to the FCC and CEA, it appears that the RIAA is worried about the development of TiVo for digital radio -- the ability to listen to your radio, your way, on your terms. How about a "wishlist" that records only your favorite artists (assuming they get airplay on commercial radio these days)? Cool idea, right? Not according to the RIAA, which has been waging a war on home taping for decades.

The RIAA seems to have missed the fact that recording from the radio is perfectly and clearly legal.

Europeans already have car stereos that can time-shift digital radio. We can already record streaming webcasts and analog FM broadcasts. So why is it, exactly, that we should somehow end up with less capable devices for digital radio?

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