NMPA Sues XM

Time-traveling back to 1979 in an attempt to re-fight the cassette tax legal battle, there’s another music biz lawsuit happening.  This time the National Music Publishers Assocition, or NMPA,  has sued XM Radio for making a device that’s able to record broadcasts.  Via ARS Technica comes this precious quote:

“Filing a lawsuit was our last resort, but we felt that we had no choice,” said David Israelite, NMPA president and CEO. “We want new technologies to succeed, but it can’t be at the expense of the creators of music. All that we ask is that music publishers and songwriters be fairly compensated for their efforts.”

What Israelite really means is that new technology can only succeed as long as it doesn’t change anything.  Seriously, though, these guys have been trying to skim from any and all duplication technologies since the advent of the piano roll.  It’s not like XM isn’t paying royalties – they pony up plenty.  NMPA, like RIAA, doesn’t appreciate paradigm shifts unless they don’t cost them a dime.

The notion of NMPA’s enthusiasm for the new electronic order is as laughable as George W. Bush calling for “bipartisanship.”  It means the same thing – in Bush’s case, “putting political differences aside” really means “shut up and do what I say.”  ARS Technica’s Eric Bangeman  sums it up quite well in his piece:

Despite assurances from music publishers that they “want new technologies to succeed,” the music industry has demonstrated that they are opposed to any and all devices that pose a threat to their business model. New technologies and devices are fine and dandy, as long as they allow the music industry to control how, when, and where we listen to their offerings.

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