- The Washington Times - Monday, May 22, 2006

Fresh from announcing new radios that store favorite songs, XM Satellite Radio is defending itself from claims of abuse by the recording industry. In a field where things are often quite behind-the-scenes, thank you very much, the XM response is bracing:

Statement to XM Subscribers - The XM Nation

Everything we’ve done at XM since our first minute on the air is about giving you more choices. We provide more channels and music programming than any other network. We play all the music you want to hear including the artists you want to hear but can’t find on

traditional FM radio. And we offer the best radios with the features you want for your cars, homes, and all places in between.

We’ve developed new radios — the Inno, Helix and NeXus — that take innovation to the next level in a totally legal way. Like TiVo, these devices give you the ability to enjoy the sports, talk and music programming whenever you want. And because they are portable, you can enjoy XM wherever you want.

The music industry wants to stop your ability to choose when and where you can listen. Their lawyers have filed a meritless lawsuit to try and stop you from enjoying these radios.

They don’t get it. These devices are clearly legal. Consumers have enjoyed the right to tape off the air for their personal use for decades, from reel-to-reel and the cassette to the VCR and TiVo.

Our new radios complement download services, they don’t replace them. If you want a copy of a song to transfer to other players or burn onto CDs, we make it easy for you to buy them through XM + Napster.

Satellite radio subscribers like you are law-abiding music consumers; a portion of your subscriber fee pays royalties directly to artists. Instead of going after pirates who don’t pay a cent, the record labels are attacking the radios used for the enjoyment of music by

consumers like you. It’s misguided and wrong.

We will vigorously defend these radios and your right to enjoy them in court and before Congress, and we expect to win.

Thank you for your support.

What’s interesting is not only that XM is stepping up and defending its (new) technology, but also that the firm is able to blast this message directly to millions of subscribers; probably the majority of its 6 million customers, in fact and bypass all the media gatekeepers. Rather nifty, this e-mail thing, isn’t it?

While it’s up to the lawyers to sort out the technical arguments, perhaps, you gotta take your hat off to XM (whose text appears above) for spelling it out, in plain language.


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