As a constituent with an interest in technological innovation and the future of the Internet, I am writing to ask you to oppose S.256, the PERFORM Act, introduced in the Senate by Senator Feinstein.
This bill is an attempt by the recording industry to cure short term contractual issues by placing blanket restrictions on technology, curtailing the right of consumers to noncommercial recording in their own homes, and mandating their own restricted radio streaming standards.
The bill would forbid future digital radio receivers that allowed "automated recording, or playback based on specific programs, time periods, or channels as selected by the user" in digital radio -- even though such abilities are unrelated to online piracy and have been a source of innovation in other media, such as TiVo and other digital video recorders. The bill would also for the first time compel Internet radio stations -- individuals and companies broadcasting streaming music online -- to abandon the established MP3 standard in preference for a narrow selection of government-permitted, incompatible, proprietary formats. Our modern copyright law has always avoided playing kingmaker with technology. The PERFORM Act would break this important principle and create a very dangerous precedent.
Last year, the Consumer Electronics Retailers Coalition called PERFORM "strictly a bill to limit the options of honest people." Musician Todd Rundgren told the Senate Judiciary committee that it was "yet another futile attempt to turn back the clock" by the music industry.
I urge you to defend my right to home recording, and the freedom of technologists and musicians to innovate new, profitable technological tools. Please oppose the PERFORM Act.