XM On Congressional Attack In Open Letter To Subscribers
June 20, 2006 at 10:54 AM (PT)
In open letter titled "Don't Let Congress Hurt Satellite Radio!", XM SATELLITE CEO HUGH PANERO aggressively calls on XM subscribers for their help in battling the major record labels who are suing XM for copyright infringement (NET NEWS 5/16) over the satcaster's new handheld digital player, "Inno," which can store up to 50 hours of music for a monthly fee.
The suit, which was filed in NEW YORK by the major labels, accuses XM of "massive wholesale infringement" because the device can record hours of music and automatically organize recordings by song and artist. The Inno is sold under the slogan, "Hear it, click it, save it."
PANERO's letter says goes for the throat in the first paragraph: "Please click here to contact Congress and learn more about this issue."
He goes on to say, "The big record companies are pressuring Congress to pass legislation that would prevent XM listeners like you from having access to more music choices and new technologies. If these powerful special interests get their way, it will be much tougher for satellite radio to keep bringing you the unique and innovative artists you find on XM."
The letter adds, "XM has been a good friend to the music industry and, more importantly, to artists and songwriters. XM helps listeners discover new artists and rediscover forgotten favorites, stimulating CD and concert ticket sales."
PANERO says XM fairly compensates artists and songwriters. "Satellite radio has already paid tens of millions of dollars in royalties -- and over the coming years it could pay hundreds of millions more," and then he takes a hard swipe at terrestrial radio. "By contrast, conventional AM and FM radio stations pay nothing to recording artists or their record labels."
As a point of clarification, terrestrial radio pays many millions of dollars annually in publisher/writer fees to ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC, which go to the artists, but does not pay additional dollars to RIAA as there is no subscription fee.
And, PANERO closes by drawing the comparison of the "Inno" player to TV: "The big record labels ... are pressuring Congress to pass legislation that would prevent XM listeners like you from being able to use our new radios. These radios allow XM subscribers to record music they hear on XM for personal use so you can listen later -- in the same way TiVo allows you to record TV shows for later viewing."
Looks like XM is not rolling over on this one.