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RIAA Files Lawsuit against XM over Pioneer 'Inno'
Written by Gizmo   
Wednesday, 17 May 2006 06:49

It looks like things are about to get REAL interesting in the music copyright wars.  The RIAA has decided that suing dead grandmothers is so yesterday; now they are suing XM (the satellite radio company) over the 'Inno', a music recording and playback device from Pioneer that went on sale last month.  The handheld device, which XM describes as the 'mothership' of music, allows subscribers of the XM service to download music for playback.  As such, RIAA attorneys allege that the 'Inno' turns XM into nothing more than another music downloading service: "Because XM makes available vast catalogues of music in every genre, XM subscribers will have little need ever again to buy legitimate copies of plaintiffs' sound recordings".

XM, for its part, says that the 'Inno' does not allow users to share music, only to record broadcasts for later listening, as has been done legally for decades under the principles of 'fair use', dating all the way back to the first portable tape recorders.  In addition, XM says that its service is not 'on-demand' like Apple's i-Tunes; rather XM functions more like a traditional radio broadcast station.

The outcome of this lawsuit could have far-reaching implications for the entire industry.  For example, the TiVO service allows users to record broadcasts for later playback (a practice known as 'time shifting').  If the RIAA wins in their lawsuit, TiVO could suddenly find itself under attack.  Further, all those portable MP3 players we've all been enjoying could suddenly become illegal.

So, what do you think?  Will the RIAA prevail in its lawsuit?  Is XM right; does this constitute nothing more than 'fair use'?  Tell us, in the forums!

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