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  • Broadcast Flag is back!

    QUOTE
    MPAA tries to get sneaky (again) with broadcast flag legislation

    9/27/2005 10:38:00 AM, by Eric Bangeman

    According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the MPAA is trying to ram broadcast flag legislation through Congress again, this time as an amendment to a budget reconciliation bill. Ever since the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the Federal Communications Commission overstepped its authority in mandating that all consumer electronic devices capable of receiving digital television signals incorporate support for the flag, the media industry has been working on getting Congress to enact the flag.

    This latest attempt involves tacking on an amendment to a budget reconciliation bill. Reconciliation bills are an optional part of the government spending cycle, where Congress attempts to cut some mandatory spending in order to bring expenditures closer in line with the budget for the fiscal year. Since reconciliation is about cutting spending—something that always sounds good—such legislation cannot be substantially changed by the Budget Committee once it is presented, nor can it be filibustered.

    With those limitations, reconciliation bills are a great way to get "stealth" legislation through Congress. Get it tacked on before it goes before the Budget Committee where it will get a straight "yea" or "nay" vote as part of the larger package, have it sped down to the floor of the House and Senate for another quick up or down vote, out to a joint conference to work out differences between the House and Senate versions, and on to the president's desk for signing. Once Congress passes complementary legislation mandated in the reconciliation bill, in a figurative blink of an eye the broadcast flag goes from a gleam in the MPAA's eye into your living room.

    When the MPAA tried a similar move in June—tacking the broadcast flag on to appropriations legislation—they failed once the word got out about what it was they were trying to accomplish. When the flag was first mandated by the FCC in 2003, the reasoning behind it was speeding the adoption of digital TV. However, digital TV adoption has been just dandy without the flag. What is truly at the heart of the broadcast flag is broadcasters' ability to control content after it has left the airwaves and entered your living room. In short, it's another face of DRM.

    Some TiVo users got an unwelcome preview at what a broadcast flagged future will look like when their TiVos forced them to delete content. While you and I may not like it, being able to mandate how long a recorded program can be retained or even whether it can be recorded at all sounds mighty fine to the MPAA. When the original flag was killed in court, I noted that the fight was going to move out of the courts and into Congress. The MPAA lost round one in June. Contact your congressional representatives if you want them to go 0 for 2.[/b][/quote]
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  • #2
    This sucks beans.

    The problem is that if everything is digital, eventually someone will crack it. Why waste my time with that?

    Just let me move my media.

    Comment


    • #3
      QUOTE(pgrote @ Sep 27 2005, 01:40 PM) Quoted post

      This sucks beans.

      The problem is that if everything is digital, eventually someone will crack it. Why waste my time with that?

      Just let me move my media.
      [/b][/quote]

      Not gonna happen.

      The panacea for the content industry is "pay-per-use" - it's what all of this draconian legislation and heavy-handed legal scare tactics ulitmately point at...

      You want to watch the hot new show on HBO on Thursday at 7PM? Fine. You can pay for HBO and watch it then...

      You want to watch it some other time? Pay me.

      You want to watch it on your PC? Pay me.

      You want to watch it on your PSP? Pay me.

      You want to clip pieces of the video and use it in you signature on a sports bulletin board? Maybe in your avatar? Pay me.

      You want to save a copy of it so you can watch it whenever you want? Forget it...pay me every time you watch it, and I'll think about it...

      That's how it's going to end up...
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      Comment


      • #4
        QUOTE(Blues Fan in SF @ Sep 27 2005, 03:48 PM) Quoted post

        That's how it's going to end up...
        [/b][/quote]
        I don't think so.

        Look at DVDs. No one thought there'd be a way to copy them.

        It's been the same with all digital rights management. The only ones that have worked have required an analog component (think dongle).

        And that is another point ... you can always move it to analog. Sure, you'll miss some features, but it'll work.

        Now, if they get rid of backwards compatibility you have a shot. As long as it's gotta get from point B to my TV I can get it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Is it OK to wish anyone involved w/ the MPAA would take a head-first leap off the nearest skyscraper?
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          Comment


          • #6
            QUOTE(ChiTownBluesFan @ Sep 27 2005, 04:58 PM) Quoted post

            Is it OK to wish anyone involved w/ the MPAA would take a head-first leap off the nearest skyscraper?
            [/b][/quote]


            Have RIAA follow as well.

            Comment


            • #7
              QUOTE(ChiTownBluesFan @ Sep 27 2005, 03:58 PM) Quoted post

              Is it OK to wish anyone involved w/ the MPAA would take a head-first leap off the nearest skyscraper?
              [/b][/quote]
              The MPAA folks were ok in my book until they wanted to control my time shifting.

              The RIAA folks have been ok in my book.

              Comment


              • #8
                These guys would be completely ridiculed if only people weren't SO damn obvious about piracy. Know what they're called at Netflix? "Burn and Return" - people who get a DVD, burn a copy, and return it instantly. Netflix doesn't care, but the movie guys do. I see nothing wrong with the practice, and if the MPAA did, they should prevent companies like NetFlix from renting movies. Hell, they should prevent MOVIE RENTAL.

                But... they're not going to do that because it's the majority of their revenue. There's a persistent myth that somehow these measures will only stop the newbs, and the hardcore pirates will still steal. Nonsense, it'll turn all the newbs into hardcore pirates. If it's a choice between TiVo and broadcast-flag enabled shows, I'm not going to watch those broadcast-enabled shows. Ditto HD content.

                Look at what Macrovision protection has done to piracy - nothing. Look at what the VCR has done to movie sales - multiplied it massively. Every single protective decision made by the MPAA has been wrong, both for the consumer and for their own financial advantage.

                The only reason these people are still allowed (by their own stockholders) to make such idiotic decisions is that the pirates are made out to be upright citizens by people against the MPAA. Well, I can tell you first hand that pirates, hard-core pirates, are totally scummy and destroy businesses. I think if this stuff wasn't implemented, and copying and reasonable reuse was allowed, there wouldn't be a lot of profit in hard-core piracy and fewer would do it, thus reducing the need for the draconian measures. Sure, MPAA members wouldn't get to charge $20 per DVD that people bought, but they'd more than make up for it in $5 rental fees (or even $2 rental fees). I rent DVDs of movies I could see on Tivo, just because I want a better, cleaner version. The rental fee is well worth it.

                The issue isn't whether they can make copy "protection" work. Of course they cannot do anything that can't be cracked, but they can certainly make it work by making it so tedious to copy that people won't do it. All they have to do is deal with the fact that users have a third choice - not to get involved with the copy-protected content at all. That's what killed the software copy-protection industry - people made a conscious decision not to buy copy-protected software.

                I think BFinSF is too pessimistic. Either this stuff like the broadcast flag will all go away, or it'll be implemented in an ineffective manner. Just like processor serial numbers, just like "keyrings", just like Macrovision. It'll be inconvenient, not impossible. Either that, or it'll go the way of DAT - nobody will use it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  QUOTE(Airshark @ Sep 27 2005, 04:28 PM) Quoted post

                  These guys would be completely ridiculed if only people weren't SO damn obvious about piracy. Know what they're called at Netflix? "Burn and Return" - people who get a DVD, burn a copy, and return it instantly. Netflix doesn't care, but the movie guys do. I see nothing wrong with the practice, and if the MPAA did, they should prevent companies like NetFlix from renting movies. Hell, they should prevent MOVIE RENTAL.

                  But... they're not going to do that because it's the majority of their revenue. There's a persistent myth that somehow these measures will only stop the newbs, and the hardcore pirates will still steal. Nonsense, it'll turn all the newbs into hardcore pirates. If it's a choice between TiVo and broadcast-flag enabled shows, I'm not going to watch those broadcast-enabled shows. Ditto HD content.

                  Look at what Macrovision protection has done to piracy - nothing. Look at what the VCR has done to movie sales - multiplied it massively. Every single protective decision made by the MPAA has been wrong, both for the consumer and for their own financial advantage.

                  The only reason these people are still allowed (by their own stockholders) to make such idiotic decisions is that the pirates are made out to be upright citizens by people against the MPAA. Well, I can tell you first hand that pirates, hard-core pirates, are totally scummy and destroy businesses. I think if this stuff wasn't implemented, and copying and reasonable reuse was allowed, there wouldn't be a lot of profit in hard-core piracy and fewer would do it, thus reducing the need for the draconian measures. Sure, MPAA members wouldn't get to charge $20 per DVD that people bought, but they'd more than make up for it in $5 rental fees (or even $2 rental fees). I rent DVDs of movies I could see on Tivo, just because I want a better, cleaner version. The rental fee is well worth it.

                  The issue isn't whether they can make copy "protection" work. Of course they cannot do anything that can't be cracked, but they can certainly make it work by making it so tedious to copy that people won't do it. All they have to do is deal with the fact that users have a third choice - not to get involved with the copy-protected content at all. That's what killed the software copy-protection industry - people made a conscious decision not to buy copy-protected software.

                  I think BFinSF is too pessimistic. Either this stuff like the broadcast flag will all go away, or it'll be implemented in an ineffective manner. Just like processor serial numbers, just like "keyrings", just like Macrovision. It'll be inconvenient, not impossible. Either that, or it'll go the way of DAT - nobody will use it.
                  [/b][/quote]


                  This all sounds reasonable, except that people have already had content erased from their Tivos automatcially and, if I'm not mistaken, prevented from taping a show at all. This is the thing that really bothers me.
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                  Comment


                  • #10
                    QUOTE(ChiTownBluesFan @ Sep 27 2005, 02:33 PM) Quoted post

                    QUOTE(Airshark @ Sep 27 2005, 04:28 PM) Quoted post

                    These guys would be completely ridiculed if only people weren't SO damn obvious about piracy. Know what they're called at Netflix? "Burn and Return" - people who get a DVD, burn a copy, and return it instantly. Netflix doesn't care, but the movie guys do. I see nothing wrong with the practice, and if the MPAA did, they should prevent companies like NetFlix from renting movies. Hell, they should prevent MOVIE RENTAL.

                    But... they're not going to do that because it's the majority of their revenue. There's a persistent myth that somehow these measures will only stop the newbs, and the hardcore pirates will still steal. Nonsense, it'll turn all the newbs into hardcore pirates. If it's a choice between TiVo and broadcast-flag enabled shows, I'm not going to watch those broadcast-enabled shows. Ditto HD content.

                    Look at what Macrovision protection has done to piracy - nothing. Look at what the VCR has done to movie sales - multiplied it massively. Every single protective decision made by the MPAA has been wrong, both for the consumer and for their own financial advantage.

                    The only reason these people are still allowed (by their own stockholders) to make such idiotic decisions is that the pirates are made out to be upright citizens by people against the MPAA. Well, I can tell you first hand that pirates, hard-core pirates, are totally scummy and destroy businesses. I think if this stuff wasn't implemented, and copying and reasonable reuse was allowed, there wouldn't be a lot of profit in hard-core piracy and fewer would do it, thus reducing the need for the draconian measures. Sure, MPAA members wouldn't get to charge $20 per DVD that people bought, but they'd more than make up for it in $5 rental fees (or even $2 rental fees). I rent DVDs of movies I could see on Tivo, just because I want a better, cleaner version. The rental fee is well worth it.

                    The issue isn't whether they can make copy "protection" work. Of course they cannot do anything that can't be cracked, but they can certainly make it work by making it so tedious to copy that people won't do it. All they have to do is deal with the fact that users have a third choice - not to get involved with the copy-protected content at all. That's what killed the software copy-protection industry - people made a conscious decision not to buy copy-protected software.

                    I think BFinSF is too pessimistic. Either this stuff like the broadcast flag will all go away, or it'll be implemented in an ineffective manner. Just like processor serial numbers, just like "keyrings", just like Macrovision. It'll be inconvenient, not impossible. Either that, or it'll go the way of DAT - nobody will use it.
                    [/b][/quote]


                    This all sounds reasonable, except that people have already had content erased from their Tivos automatcially and, if I'm not mistaken, prevented from taping a show at all. This is the thing that really bothers me.
                    [/b][/quote]

                    That was a glitch, from what I read - but it is a disturbing reality check that they indeed can do these things if they want/are forced to by the Washington Whores for Hollywood...

                    And the 'inconvenience' factor of breaking this stuff shouldn't be discounted - sure people are going to do it, but the bar will be raised each time...making fewer people capable of doing so, and making it that much easier to round up/try/convict those that do...remember, these are the people that want to send you to prison if you DISCLOSE a weakness in any of their attempts to deny you the fair use of a product you've purchased from them...(last time they tried this it was laughed out of court - but they'll keep trying, and they only need to succeed once)...

                    I honestly think the only way to prevent this is for the overwhelming majority of people in this country to just spontaneously say "Enough!", turn off the TV, and go outside...

                    Not gonna happen. All content will ultimately be protected; it will be infeasible for the average person to circumvent it; you will pay what they want you to for ti or you'll do without...and not many people are willing to do without...
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                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Can someone give me some examples of the TiVo stuff being deleted?
                      When you say to your neighbor, "We're having a loud party on Saturday night if that's alright with you," what you really mean is, "We're having a loud party on Saturday night."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Twenty members of Congress are calling for the reinstatement of the "broadcast flag," a controversial form of copy prevention technology for digital TV broadcasts.

                        In a letter Thursday, the politicians called for rapid approval of a federal law adopting the broadcast flag, which would outlaw over-the-air digital TV receivers and computer tuner cards that don't follow strict anticopying standards.

                        "Program producers will naturally be reluctant to license their high value programs for digital distribution without protection from widespread acts of infringement over the Internet," said the letter, sent to Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House of Representatives panel on Internet and commerce.

                        No legislation has advanced in either the House or the Senate, but opponents of the broadcast flag have been warning that the proposal could be attached to spending bills. The bill funding the Federal Communications Commission through 2006, for instance, is still before a conference committee.

                        In a 3-0 ruling in May, a federal appeals court rejected the FCC's regulations adopting the broadcast flag. But the ruling was a limited one: the judges said that though the FCC lacked the authority to outlaw TV tuners, Congress could choose to enact a law allowing it.

                        Since then, the Motion Picture Association of America has been lobbying Congress to reinstate the scheme. In an essay for CNET News.com in May, MPAA head Dan Glickman wrote: "The broadcast flag does not inhibit copying, nor does it prevent redistribution of programming over a personal home network--it only restricts unauthorized redistribution of programming over the Internet and other digital networks."

                        Thursday's letter from Rep. Charles Pickering, R-Miss., and Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., demonstrates that the MPAA has secured broad bipartisan support. It was signed by 12 Republicans and eight Democrats.

                        Public Knowledge, an advocacy group that has sued to yank down the FCC's broadcast flag, said in an e-mailed response to the letter: "The broadcast flag legislation would give the Federal Communications Commission control over virtually any technology, from set-top boxes to computer software."

                        Other signatories to the letter: John Shimkus, R-Ill., George Radanovich, R-Calif., Mike Ferguson, R-N.J., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., Mary Bono, R-Calif., Lee Terry, R-Neb., Ed Whitfield, R-Kt., Bobby Rush, D-N.J., Vito Fossella, R-N.Y., John Shadegg, R-Ariz., Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., Albert Wynn, D-Md., Michael Doyle, D-Penn., Charles Gonzalez, D-Tex., Charles Bass, R-N.H., John Sullivan, R-Okla., Frank Pallone, D-N.J.

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