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Audio Content Hearing a Repeat; Halyburton Says Rights Talks Going Well

Audio Content Hearing a Repeat; Halyburton Says Rights Talks Going Well

Although he couldn’t reveal technical solutions being discussed regarding digital rights management for HD Radio, Dan Halyburton of Susquehanna said discussions between broadcasters, the record labels and other interested parties are going well.
The senior vice president and general manager of group operations for Susquehanna Radio tesified before a House Subcommittee.
Speaking on behalf of NAB, Halyburton said, “We are making good progress.” During the hearing on digital audio content and consumer electronics held by the Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee of the House Commerce Committee, he noted that it took a long time to reach agreement between all parties on a TV broadcast flag; and he’s hoping to be able to complete an agreement on a radio version of technology that would prevent music piracy on new digital devices “more quickly.”
There’s already basic agreement not to approve anything that would impede the rollout of HD Radio receivers, Halyburton said.
Record labels and songwriters want to rewrite copyright protection laws to obtain higher music licensing fees from satellite radio companies, and later, broadcasters, as the music from stations and the satcasters moves to portable devices that allow consumers to store, record and “disaggregate” music.
Michael Ostroff of Universal Music Group also spoke. He referred to agreements recently reached with Sirius over its S50 MP3 player and said it’s negotiating with XM over its two new similar devices.
Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., said the issue has generated enough interest to warrant another hearing or a study.
On the Senate side, Chairman of the Commerce Committee, Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, has held similar hearings, but openly doubts whether legislation on the issue could gain passage in this session given the shortened congressional calendar in this election year