The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, July 10, 2006

Under the radar: Frist moves to ban recording digital radio

It's been a very slow political news day, and most blogs seem to be hashing out last week's events-- or not posting much themselves. Which makes it an excellent time to look at low-profile-but-very-creepy Republican initiatives.

Pro-business? Check.
Anti-consumer? Roger.
Restricts the flow of information? Yup.

It isn't Net Neutrality this time, but it's in the ball park-- this issue also involves companies asking the GOP to regulate an electronic medum on their behalf. The Recording Industry Association of America is moving to stop radio listeners from recording what they hear:

The record labels’ campaign has urgency, since XM and Sirius already have rolled out devices that allow users to store music broadcast over their networks. According to the radio companies, the technology works like a more advanced method of tape-recording songs off a traditional radio broadcast. Users can store songs they’ve recorded and arrange them on a playlist, but they can’t transfer them onto a CD or upload them onto the Internet. For instance, they can record a block of songs — say, an hour of Coldplay — and later sort through which ones to save and which to trash. Once a listener’s subscription to the service ends, the songs are lost.

“Our concern is that consumers have had the right to record music off the radio for decades. This basically would overturn that for no good reason,” said Art Brodsky, communications director for the consumer group Public Knowledge.

I suppose this is also reminiscent of big oil's efforts-- bribing Congressmen to abandon the free market and start regulating innovators who threaten corporate bottom lines. Isn't the ideal of the free market that you succeed or fail based on your ability to adapt to new market conditions? It's just one more example of conservative thought taking a pounding from conservatives.