RIAA Sues XM Over Recording Device

XM Satellite Radio's receiver difficulties continued Tuesday as it was sued over the new Pioneer Inno device, and partner Audiovox halted shipments of its Xpress Model radio due to a FCC request. The news follows an earlier disclosure by the company that the FCC had ruled the SkyFi2 was not in compliance with its emission standards.

The RIAA's lawsuit, filed in a federal court in New York, alleges the satellite radio provider is committing "massive wholesale infringement" of copyrights by allowing users to save songs heard on the service to the device. The suit claims that users who have the device would no longer have a need to purchase digital music.

The RIAA is seeking $150,000 for every song that is copied by customers who bought the player since it was first released earlier in the month. It also takes issue with XM's marketing of the device, saying it promotes saving of songs.


XM said that the Pioneer Inno is no different from a person recording from terrestrial radio, which has happened for years. Furthermore, it cannot transfer content, nor is it an on-demand service, unlike iTunes.

The satellite radio company accused the RIAA of attempting to use litigation to gain an upper hand in negotiations to renew licensing contracts. XM says record labels of attempting to prevent innovation and consumer choice by limiting how they can record broadcasts, which have long been ruled legal by U.S. courts.

Both XM and Sirius are currently renewing their licensing deals, and the labels are looking for increased fees as satellite radio becomes more popular. XM had attempted to negotiate for portable content, but the labels wanted iTunes-like deals, which XM apparently balked at.

Legal problems are not XM's only worries. Audivox said Tuesday that it would stop shipments of its Xpress Model XM receiver due to a request from the FCC. The regulating agency said that the unit did not comply with operating bandwidth or related emission specifications.

An internal review is underway at Audiovox, and the company gave no time frame for the resumption of shipments with the issue remedied.

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