Killing digital viewing

Just as we are on the verge of space-shifting viewing (to go with the ‘time-shifting’ all but necessary now in a post-VCR era where we have multi-channel time-starved modern worklives), the Hollywood studios want to stop it. The flurry of proposals in the U.S. legislature to neuter P2P networks and developers makes it all look like another U.S. landgrab to sacrifice consumer use in the interests of commercial exploitation of intellectual property rights by media conglomerates.

The creeping extension of copyright law (particularly in the U.S., which also impacts internationally in a disproportionate manner) and restrictions on the personal use of intellectual property has very direct implications for creators of new entertainment and advanced moving image forms as well as users who just want to experience their media in digitally enhanced ways not prescribed by the entertainment networks.

PVRblog notes the Copyfight > Senator McCain shows spine on IP; defends controlling your own TV/DVR” href=”” target=”_blank”>has raised concerns over consumer fair use and common practice.

Meanwhile the INDUCE (Inducing infringement of Copyright) act, that would extend punitive action for P2P use and diminish fair use of intellectual property has currently stalled while compromises are attempted between the industry and opponents. Of course this could also be a smokescreen for other bills to sneak through such as HR4077 Piracy Deterrence in Education that also creates Copyfutures and
If that wasn’t enough, outstanding issues also arise with the FCC Broadcast Flag, making it illegal for tuners to be manufactured that do not include use of DRM (digital rights management) from mid-2005. The
EFF Broadcast Flag and “Plug & Play” Archive has full coverage of this. The Electronic Frontier Foundation also has a project to liberate HDTV.

PVR blog has been keeping up on this for a while with some enlightening links and commentary on the subject:

“After July 1, 2005, every PC HDTV card, computer PVR software, and home theater based HDTV recorder (like the HD DirecTiVo unit) will be aware of the Broadcast Flag and prevent you from moving recordings off your boxes. They’ll be especially harsh on computer based stuff, since pretty much every computer is connected to the internet these days and the Flag is supposed to suppress the ability to trade shows online. …”
[Source: Stop the Broadcast Flag at EFF | PVRblog]

After next year it will be illegal to manufacture items which don’t comply with the Broadcast Flag system, making homebrew and modded PVR systems illegal.

“The biggest shock is that public affairs and news programming are not exempt from the rules. This means that public domain programming like CSPAN and PBS will need to also be encrypted, which seems like nonsense, since the Broadcast Flag was designed primarily to protect Hollywood movies.”
[Source: FCC Adopts Hollywood Tech Mandate | PVRblog]

Get unlocked HDTV tuner cards while you can at:
pcHDTV | MythTV | Elgato Systems EyeTV (Mac)

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