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Pioneer's Inno Rocks the RIAA Boat

by May 16, 2006

RIAA Sues XM Radio Over Pioneer's Inno Portable Player/Recorder

Pioneer's portable Inno XM Satellite Radio was just too cool for the RIAA. The legal strong arm of the recording industry is now suing XM over the device.

The Pioneer Inno XM Radio is a fully portable satellite radio player/receiver about the size of a small pack of smokes. The handheld digital music player just went on sale a few weeks ago with the slogan: "Hear it, click it, save it". It's built in one Gig of memory lets users store up to 50 hours of music, either saved XM broadcasts or uploaded from your own library of MP3s. With its mix of music sources plus being the smallest portable satellite receiver made, the Inno stands to be a popular device. Sirius has nothing that touches Inno.

The Recording Industry Association of America is embarking (again) on a campaign to begin eating its young by suing XM, a legitimate subscriber music service that already pays royalties to the recording industry. XM has nothing to gain from piracy and has traditionally stood behind the efforts of the RIAA. It could be the recording industry is getting desperate to find new sources of revenue. Or it could be that they just want to see how far they can go before we all get smart enough to only solicit independent labels

On Tuesday, May 16th, the RIAA filed its lawsuit claiming the Inno violates federal copyright laws because it lets users label and save songs. RIAA is looking for $150,000 for each song copied using the device by an artist it represents. Come to think of it, I am looking for that much money, too. Considering XM plays some 160,000 songs every month that's a lot of money for the recording industry. XM maintains Inno legally records music for personal use, just like a VCR. Songs stored on the device can't be copied and only played back for as long as the customer subscribes. This seems like a no-brainer, but when you have lawyers on staff it's just plain silly to let them stand around doing nothing , right?

Presently XM has avoided paying distribution licenses required of Internet downloading services like iTunes. Sirius, XM's rival in the satellite radio business does pay the recording industry's licensing fees for its own receivers that also store music. Mitch Bainwol RIAA CEO believes XM should pay the fees. I think he also believes every consumer should pay him $150 for the priveledge of reading this Editorial.

XM has responded as saying:

"These are legal devices that allow consumers to listen to and record radio just as the law has allowed for decades. The music labels are trying to stifle innovation, limit consumer choice and roll back consumers' rights to record content for their personal use. This is a negotiating tactic on the part of the labels to gain an advantage in our private business discussions. XM Radio is the largest single payer of digital music broadcast royalties and royalties paid by XM go to the music industry and benefit artists directly. XM will vigorously defend this lawsuit on behalf of consumers."

Special thanks to Beginners guide to Home Theater

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About the author:

Wayde is a tech-writer and content marketing consultant in Canada s tech hub Waterloo, Ontario and Editorialist for Audioholics.com. He's a big hockey fan as you'd expect from a Canadian. Wayde is also US Army veteran, but his favorite title is just "Dad".

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