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Device to Bar Home Digital Taping Backed

May 15, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Reagan Administration on Thursday endorsed a House proposal to require that all digital audio tape recorders be equipped with a code scanning device to prevent unlimited home taping of new recordings without paying royalties.

Assistant Commerce Secretary Donald J. Quigg said at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing that the encoding device amounts to a "technological fix" to prevent home taping, which cost the recording industry an estimated $1.4 billion in lost sales in 1982.

At issue is the new, state-of-the-art digital audio tape recording equipment--commonly called DAT--about to enter the U.S. market. It records sound in a digital format, producing tapes of compact disc quality that are virtually indistinguishable from the original recording.

Quigg endorsed a House bill that would permanently require installing scanning devices in all DAT equipment, enabling it to detect specially coded "notches" of sound removed from recordings and interrupt attempts to tape them.

Consumers would pay a premium price--in effect, a royalty payment--for recordings that do not contain the notched code, and thus can be taped.

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