Recording Internet Radio: Legal?

Is it legal to record songs from Internet radio programs? I don’t just mean an analog recording; there are programs available that can intercept the audio stream to your sound card and record it directly.

On a general basis, you can record them to an audiocassette, but not to your hard drive or CD (an audiocassette is an approved media, a CD is not).

However, I believe the RealPlayer license prohibits you from an recording at all. Using those programs violates the license. They’ve won cases against manufacturers of software that were designed to rip streaming audio. I haven’t heard if they’ve gone after any individual users, though.

What about writable audio CDs with the copyright fees included in the price?

I hadn’t realized they existed. If so, they would be approved media.

But I think the DMCA would still prevent you from ripping an audio stream.

In Europe, at least, they come with a hologram sticker, certifying that a contribution from the price has been made to whatever fund they use to pay copyright fees to artists. I always wondered about the legality of recording from the traditional radio and videoing from the telly, but I guess your answer about approved media covers it.

I believe Sony v. Betamax affirms the consumer’s right to time-shift content. That case was decided in 1984, and the AHRA didn’t impose a royalty on blank media until 1992, so I assume the right to time-shift doesn’t depend on paying a royalty or using approved media.

I’m not sure which part of the DMCA would apply to saving an audio stream, RealityChuck, since you wouldn’t necessarily have to circumvent copy protection to do it. Winamp has a built-in feature to save MP3 and Vorbis streams to disk, and even for RealAudio streams, it’s possible to save the data without using any Real software (and thus agreeing to Real’s license).

Real’s lawsuit against Streambox was settled out of court, so I don’t think that’s a useful cite to the legality of time-shifting streams.

Also, I don’t believe saving the stream to a music CD-R instead of a hard disk would affect the legality. (Though I believe it’s legal to time-shift the streams anyway.)

Music CD-R media (the kind that costs more because you’re paying a royalty) is a “digital audio recording medium” under the AHRA, but a computer isn’t a “digital audio recording device”. The wording of section 1008 is a little vague, but I think you need to use an approved device and approved media to be protected from copyright infringement suits.