Thursday, May 25, 2006

XM Radio Fans Can Record It if They Hear It

From the NYT XM Radio Fans Can Record It if They Hear It

"TO be filed under Best Ideas of the Year: Imagine a tiny music player, smaller than an iPod, that's also an XM satellite radio receiver. When you hear a song you like — even if it's halfway over — one press of a button records it from the beginning.

Meet the Samsung Helix (and its twin, the Pioneer Inno): a tiny, well-designed $400 radio that not only lets you enjoy satellite radio in the car, at home or when you're jogging, but also plays back your own MP3 files and up to 750 songs that you've recorded from the satellites...

Now, not everybody is happy about this feature of the Helix and its Pioneer sibling. XM, which was largely responsible for the design of both players, has been sued by the increasingly busy lawyers of the Recording Industry Association of America. They're calling the design of these players "a tool for copyright infringement."

Truth is, on the pure silliness scale, the association's case ranks right up there with Monty Python. You've already paid to listen to these XM songs; all the Helix adds is the ability to time-shift and replay them, just as people have done with audiocassettes for decades. Once you record a song to the Helix's memory, that's where it stays. You can't burn it to a CD or transfer it to a computer; you can't move, copy or distribute it in any way."

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