PERFORM

I recently was in a conversation with someone about what Democrats are standing for these days. I was not impressed with the rhetoric but lack of specifics on the DNC website (not that the RNC website was any better) and was told to go look at individual sites of the candidates. In doing so I ran across a bill by Dianne Feinstein named PERFORM (S. 2644).

The PERFORM Act, simply put, revokes your right to tape shows while imposing draconian DRM on all internet radio. This basically revokes the Audio Home Recording Act which explicitly allows a user to record music and radio programs for their own personal use. In return, the recording companies earn a percentage of every blank cassette tape and CD sold in the US as a way of countering the copyright infringement that may occur during this practice.

But now, it appears, that the recording companies want to take back this right that they agreed to give to users as a part of their draconian fight against music listeners who may copy music, not for sharing or giving away but for personal use. And, not only are they asking for this right back and trying to end ‘fair use’, they want to place even heavier restrictions on internet radio stations.

The laws protecting the recording companies already have the internet radio stations heavily burdened and taxed in order to ensure that newly burgeoning companies like Pandora and satellite radio stations XM and Sirius do not unfairly make money off of their products. However, if this law were to be passed, internet radio stations will no longer be allowed to stream in MP3 format, because it does not include DRM technologies. These small run internet organizations that are paying hefty ‘extra’ fees for being a digital radio station that over the air stations do not have to pay will have to pay for the new technology mandated by the government mostly likely shutting down those that decided to stay in after the extra fees were applied a few years ago.

Senator Feinstein, a Democrat, is not attempting to protect the ‘common man’ or the general public, it is interested in supporting big business. The artists are increasingly getting frustrated with the actions of the US based recording companies. In fact, a group of Canadian artists got together and started their own group in defiance of the actions of the current big recording companies, led by Stephen Page of the Barenaked Ladies. If this is how Democrats show concern about the true American, against Big Business, and concerned about personal liberties… well, I’m not impressed.

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