June 20, 2006 | By Fred von Lohmann

CEA Defends Home Recording

This week, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is running a great ad [PDF] in the Capitol Hill newspaper, Roll Call, reminding Congress that the entertainment oligopolies have cried wolf about new technologies many times before.

The ad collects a century-worth of fear mongering by an industry focused on legislating to protect out-dated business models, rather than adjusting to changing market opportunities:

"I forsee a marked deterioration in American music...and a host of other injuries to music in its artistic manifestations, by virtue&#8212or rather by vice&#8212of the multiplication of the various music-reproducing machines..."
-John Philip Sousa on the Player Piano (1906)

"The public will not buy songs that it can hear almost at will by a brief manipulation of the radio dials."
-Record Label Executive on FM Radio (1925)

"But now we are faced with a new and very troubling assault on our fiscal security, on our very economic life and we are facing it from a thing called the videocassette recorder."
-MPAA on the VCR (1982)

"When the manufacturers hand the public a license to record at home...not only will the songwriter tie a noose around his neck, not only will there be no more records to tape [but] the innocent public will be made an accessory to the destruction of four industries."
-ASCAP on the Cassette Tape (1982)

The latest target? Devices capable of recording from digital radio, whether terrestrial (HD Radio) or satellite (XM Radio). Write your member of Congress to remind them to oppose restrictions on your home taping rights, whether tucked into the radio flag legislation, the PERFORM Act, or the telecom bill.


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