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Records in the fight, too

Video tape recorders are relatively new consumer products. Audio tape recorders -- ranging from audiophile tape decks to tiny jogger's stereos -- are far more entrenched in the marketplace.

The recording industry has long complained that these pesky creatures were unfairly gnawing away at prerecorded disk profits. Now, with sales stagnant and taping on the increase, the Coalition to Save America's Music has redoubled industry efforts to deal with the perceived menace.

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''Audio taping has reached a flash point in the last 36 months,'' says Jason Berman, a Warner Communications vice-president. ''It's at the point where there's almost one album taped for every album sold.''

Economist Alan Greenspan, hired by the Recording Industry Association of America to analyze the problem, estimates that home taping cost the recording industry $1.05 billion in sales in 1981.

These lost sales mean less money for songwriters, musicians, composers, and publishers, industry sources claim -- threatening to narrow the variety of music sold.

The Mathias-Edwards video bill would also slap a copyright fee on producers of audio recorders and tapes.

Even those who are against the bill's video sections say the audio industry has more reason to complain.

''The audio case is very different from the video case,'' says Charles Ferris , former FCC chief and head the Home Recording Rights Coalition, claiming the two industry's market structures are very dissimilar.

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