Satellite radio (and internet radio) have battled every step of the way with these bastards. Because presumably there are nefarious do-badders in the world who would record our station directly, successfully edit out all our station id's and fadeouts and me talking over intros all the time, and cultivate for themselves a massive library of music. For FREE. For SHAME. There are about 1000 easier ways to get this stuff, if breaking the law is your thing.
Basically, XM sells a radio that enables listeners to record songs they like for playback later. You may have done this yourself as a kid. I certainly used to tape top 5 countdowns on my boombox when I was about 13. This kind of activity is PROTECTED BY LAW.
But the Judge Deborah A. Batts, who is allowing this case to proceed, thinks that XM's subscription model changes things:
"It is manifestly apparent that the use of a radio-cassette player to record songs played over free radio does not threaten the market for copyrighted works as does the use of a recorder which stores songs from private radio broadcasts on a subscription-fee basis."
How about TiVo'ing something off HBO then? Am I going to buy Entourage on DVD if I have every episode sitting at home on my DVR? But that's video, and I digress.
The Wikipedia article for the Audio Home Recording Act (yeah, I know I linked to the same thing twice) has an interesting note at the bottom regarding this lawsuit:
The AHRA is important in the recording industry's suit against XM radio for Samsung's Helix and Pioneer Inno XM receivers, which allow users to record blocks of satellite radio and disaggregate individual songs. XM argues that the both devices are "digital audio recording devices" under the AHRA, and thus enjoy an exemption from copyright infringement actions for private, non-commercial copying. While neither the Inno or the Helix include SCMS, neither device allows any transfer of songs off of the device, effectively preventing any copying. The recording industry's complaint makes no mention of the AHRA, and argues that by marketing the devices, XM is using the compulsory statutory license to operate a digital download subscription service. Some commentators believe this is part of a larger attempt to undermine or eliminate the home taping rights guaranteed by the AHRA.
Watch out. The Big Bad Wolf is gonna getcha.
(There's a kinda neat program called Screamer Radio that I've written about before on this blog that will record radio streams for you in a very similar way to the devices in question in this suit.)