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CEA, Music Biz Debate Audio Flag

The consumer electronics and music industries took separate sides here during a Congressional hearing on proposed digital radio broadcast-flag legislation.

The debate occurred before a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is considering the Audio Broadcast Flag Licensing Act of 2006. The act would require an audio broadcast copy-control flag on digital terrestrial and satellite broadcasts if the music, CE and broadcast industries don’t agree on a set of copy-control rules and a technology to implement them.

The broadcast and CE industries are concocting a “Rube Goldberg legal shell game” to get out of paying royalties that they should be paying when they turn their broadcast services into wireless download services, claimed Mitch Bainwol, chairman/CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America.

Consumer Electronics Association president/CEO Gary Shapiro countered that the music industry keeps on endorsing legislation, such as the 1992 Audio Home Recording Act and 1998 Digital Millenium Copyright Act, and then reinterprets what it previously agreed to.

(For ongoing coverage of this issue see