08.23.2010 01:00 PM
CEA Fights NAB’s FM Chip Requirement for Mobile Devices
WASHINGTON: Electronics manufacturers are trying to nip in
the bud a movement to require FM chips in all wireless receivers. The proposal
was put forth recently by the National Association of Broadcasters in a
performance-royalty dispute with the Recording Industry Association of America.
The NAB agreed that radio stations would pay a royalty of 1 percent or less if
Congress required all mobile devices to include receiver chips.
Consumer Electronics Association chief, Gary Shapiro, said the proposal was
“the height of absurdity. “Forced inclusion of an additional antenna, processor
and radio receiver will compromise features that consumers truly desire, such
as long battery life and light weight.”
The CEA and five other tech and wireless lobbies fired off a letter to the chairmen
and ranking members of the U.S. House and Senate Judiciary Committees “urging
them to resist efforts to include an FM technology mandate for mobile devices
in any legislation addressing an unrelated conflict between the broadcast and
recording industries over royalties.”
Shapiro signed the letter, along with the heads of The Wireless Association, the
Information Technology Industry Council, the Rural Cellular Association,
TechAmerica and the Telecommunications Industry Association.
“Calls for an FM chip mandate are not about public safety but are instead about
propping up a business which consumers are abandoning as they avail themselves
of new, more consumer-friendly options,” they wrote. “It is simply wrong for
two entrenched industries to resolve their differences by agreeing to burden a
third industry--which has no relationship to or other interest in the
performance royalty dispute--with a costly, ill-considered and unnecessary new
The sextet said the proposed mandate would require every wireless device to
have an integrated FM receiver chip, raising device prices for a function
consumers “may not desire or ever use.” They said the NAB and the RIAA had no
business dictating wireless device features.
-- Deborah D. McAdams