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What Critics of the Critics of the FCC Rule Miss 375

Posted by Hemos
from the how-will-it-roll-out dept.
Asprin writes "Businessweek has an editorial up which argues that the FCC's HDTV broadcast flag rule is a good thing, and that everyone is just overreacting. What the author is overlooking is that this rule gives exclusive control over production to the studios that are in "the club", essentially denying private citizens the right to make their own HDTV format video. To wit: "The problem comes when a program taped on an old VCR can't be replayed on a next-generation VCR. So consumers may experience some compatibility problems between machines as they upgrade." Awww, she almost gets it. (...and she was sooo close, too!) The problem is the word "consumers", which doesn't describe us anymore. There's nothing like being locked out of your own old family videos when your current VCR dies, eh?"
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What Critics of the Critics of the FCC Rule Miss

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  • by conner_bw (120497) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @05:09PM (#7448434) Homepage Journal
    The business of media is changing. As a nerd who strongly sympathizes with GNU open source i don't particularly care for finance, patents, or intellectual property when it comes to digital data. Anything that can be distributed via "a computer" should revolve around the free exchange of ideas. Lenin once said: "The capitalist will sell you the very rope you intend to hang him with." Digital distribution must force change, not reform. When will corperate america *get it*?

    --
    Tired of spammers? Kill them all [si20.com]! Let the irony of this sig sort 'em out.
    • Lenin (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sulli (195030) * on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @05:14PM (#7448490) Journal
      Lenin once said: "The capitalist will sell you the very rope you intend to hang him with." ... When will corperate [sic] america *get it*?

      The point is that corporate america does *get it,* and they are trying to avoid selling said rope. Failing, but trying.

      • Re:Lenin (Score:5, Interesting)

        by kfg (145172) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @05:52PM (#7448800)
        Indeed, but this is the inherent problem when you're in the bloody rope business, isn't it?

        Ya think maybe it's time to change product lines or something? The ability to do so freely is one of the benefits of the capitalist system, free adaptation to the changing economic and trade enviroment.

        When pet rocks are hot you sell 'em pet rocks. When people suddenly realize that rocks are free you sell 'em "Designer" clothing.

        When a corporation mentally locks itself to a single product or business model it simply defines its own extinction (assuming free trade).

        It's "Adapt or die," not "Extort and bludgeon your customers until they'd rather be dead than do business with you or die."

        I think this is the part that they "don't get." They're too busy thinking "My God, we're going to die!"

        Well, don't sell us the rope. Sell us something we can't hang your business model with instead.

        At the very least sell us rocks packaged entertainingly at a low enough cost that we'd rather buy them from you than pick them up off the ground.

        Maybe we won't even use them to stone you.

        KFG
    • When will corperate america *get it*?

      I find this question particularly funny given that you yourself have said:

      i don't particularly care for finance

      which is to say, you don't get corporate America.

      What's more, you miss what most GNU advocates miss, which is the irony of their position: the GPL strongly depends on intellectual property protection! The BSD license is much less restrictive, yet it is much less popular than the GPL.
      • What's more, you miss what most GNU advocates miss, which is the irony of their position: the GPL strongly depends on intellectual property protection!

        It's an intended bit of irony though. It leverages IP law to keep things as "free" as possible within that regime. In the absence of IP, everything would be in the public domain (although trade secret might still apply to some software?) and the viral nature of the GPL would become irrelevant.

        Hmmmmmm.... in fact, the GPL doesn't depend on IP at all, n

        • That "nothing else" clause pretty much goes away if copyright goes away

          But the "nothing else" clause is critical! In other words, the only way to share the software is to release it under GPL, and its descendents to the Nth generation.

          A point anti-IP advocates miss is that there is nothing forcing anyone from sharing information. This is especially important in a field like programming, which includes two distinct pieces of IP: the source code, which contains the idea, and the binary, obtained from the s
      • No, we realise that the GPL depends on copyright laws. Its called playing the system. WHat BSD advocates miss is that our problem usually isn't that companies could use our code in proprietary systems (although thats part of it) but that they can then use copyright law to prevent me from using/copying that program, which has my work in it. In other words, it lets the corporations have their cake (my work, for free) and eat it too (I can't use their work, which is really my work, without paying). The GPL
        • No, we realise that the GPL depends on copyright laws. Its called playing the system.

          Actually I think the greatest contribution of the GPL is to show how versatile and powerful copyright law really is.

          In other words, it lets the corporations have their cake (my work, for free) and eat it too (I can't use their work, which is really my work, without paying). The GPL says they can have the cake, or they can eat it. One or the other- much more fair.

          I agree. But how is this improved if IP laws are abolis
          • It can always be reverse engineered, to figure out how to do feature xyz.

            But yes, it wouldn't be as good as GPL for software. But I think copyright in general is such a detrimental thing to society that its better just to get rid of it entirely.
      • Actually, it's you who miss the irony. Most GNU advocates are well aware that the GPL depends on strong intellectual property. True FSF believers (as opposed to Open Source believers) would generally have no problem with intellectual property restrictions on software being completely abolished. All software would then be free for anyone to use for any purpose. There would be no need for the GPL because it would become impossible to take someone else's code and use it in a proprietary product. Whatever
        • Explain how this sentence:

          because it would become impossible to take someone else's code and use it in a proprietary product

          can logically be followed by this sentence:

          Whatever yohatever you coded and distributed could be freely distributed without your permission.

          If you write code, there is nothing preventing me from using it in a proprietary product. This is important since I could, for example, use it in a proprietary hardware application and keep my source closed. So the application would be wo
    • When will corperate america *get it*?

      GODDAMNIT! It is the government forcing this shit down our throats! THE GOVERNMENT!

      Do you think this shit would sell left to the free market?!? DO YOU?
  • There's nothing like being locked out of your own old family videos when your current VCR dies, eh?

    No problem. Every law-abiding citizen will simply pay the licensing costs to obtain a broadcast flag of their own. Obviously.
    • There's nothing like being locked out of your own old family videos when your current VCR dies, eh?

      No problem! All my old Home Videos are on BetaMAX!
  • by KingReuben (707879) <spambox&endarus,com> on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @05:10PM (#7448447) Homepage
    Put a frog (alive) into a pot of cold water. Put the pot on low heat. If you heat the water slowly enough, the frog will not jump out, even when it eventually boils to death.

    This is what is happening.
    • by Nogami_Saeko (466595) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @05:18PM (#7448523)
      Yup, sneaking DRM in the back door a tiny little bit at a time is the only way to get stuff like this implemented.

      Sadly, for the majority of uninformed consumers out there, it will work.

      Here's waiting for a "Max Headroom" styled future with big networks that control your TV to the point where you can't even turn them off (or face fines/prison time for interfering with a broadcast).

      Who knows, maybe the CRTC will make a good decision for once, and refuse to follow the lead of the FCC and will not mandate that Canadian sets will require the digital restrictions chips be implemented - or will allow them to be turned-off if desired.

      It never ceases to amaze me how "suits don't get it". There is a HUGE trade on the net in old "classic" TV shows (depending on your point of view), everything from "Greatest American Hero", to "A-Team", to (as mentioned before) "Max Headroom". Regardless if you happen to like these particular series, people ARE downloading and watching them. If the companies involved were to make a subscription service available to watch old shows (complete with episode synopsis, cast/crew lists, etc), people would pay...

      But of course it's a change from the "old fashioned way of doing things", and that scares the hell out of them.

      N.
      • Mod parent UP!

        This is the same feelings I have to rom's and emulating old games. If the manufacturer doesn't want to put it out commercially for whatever reason, they shouldn't be allowed to limit its (free) distribution by others.

        That said, I actively trade old MST3K episodes, and Best Brains, the company behind the show, has no problem with the trading. People appreciate this liberal stance to trading so much that when copies of the show are commercially released, people stop trading those episodes.
      • by afidel (530433) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @05:39PM (#7448694)
        Actually this will probably blow up in the studios faces as it is very in your face DRM. Once you tell someone they can't tape sex in the city or their other favorite popular program with their new ultra expensive HDTV setup they will be ROYALLY pissed. Free use rights as upheld by the supreme court should not simply be ruled away by a board elected by no one.
      • It never ceases to amaze me how "suits don't get it". There is a HUGE trade on the net in old "classic" TV shows (depending on your point of view), everything from "Greatest American Hero", to "A-Team", to (as mentioned before) "Max Headroom". Regardless if you happen to like these particular series, people ARE downloading and watching them. If the companies involved were to make a subscription service available to watch old shows (complete with episode synopsis, cast/crew lists, etc), people would pay...

        T

    • by Txiasaeia (581598) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @05:18PM (#7448530)
      OT, I know, but this is an urban legend. Check here [snopes.com] to verify.
    • so if it boils, it's a witch? or if it floats.. um, its.. uh

      She turned me into a newt!
    • by pavon (30274) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @05:52PM (#7448797)
      Exactly. The most telling quotes are the attitude that the author took on the subject:

      The agency's move to allow encryption-like protection for digital shows takes away one more excuse from the broadcasters to delay the rollout of high-definition TV ... If consumers want their HDTV, they have to accept limits on the ability to redistribute TV shows on the Web.

      At what point did move from
      "companies competing to win the business of their customers"
      to
      "you consumers better fall in line with the wishes of the companies or no goods for you"
      ?

      Oh, that's right, when the government decided (as it has in the past) that competition isn't necisarry in capitalism and started looking out for the good of large (illegal) monopolies and trade groups, instead of the good of the market.

      \begin{rant}
      If this continues indefinately we will end up approaching a system simular to Soviet Russia but from the opposite direction. There the government and corporations were merged by the government taking control of the corporations. Here they are being merged by the corporations merging and then asserting control of the government. Either way there is no democracy, but rather all economic, political, and military power are centralized into a very small number of hands who have no reason to act in the interest of the population.
      \end{rant}
      • by Jonathan (5011) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @08:22PM (#7449888) Homepage
        If this continues indefinately we will end up approaching a system simular to Soviet Russia but from the opposite direction.

        In Kurt Vonnegut's first novel, published 50 years ago, he presented a future United States where Soviet-style centralized planning was adopted -- because it turned out to be more profitable for the capitalists.
    • Put a frog (alive) into a pot of cold water. Put the pot on low heat. If you heat the water slowly enough, the frog will not jump out, even when it eventually boils to death.

      My friend's mom inadvertently tried this experiment with a crab. You're supposed to drop the crab in a pot of boiling water to cook it, but she put it in lukewarm water and set the stove to high heat. We left the kitchen, and came back to find an empty pot, and a crab hiding under the kitchen cabinets!
    • Put a frog (alive) into a pot of cold water. Put the pot on low heat. If you heat the water slowly enough, the frog will not jump out, even when it eventually boils to death.

      I used to use this analogy until I realized that it is not true [snopes.com]...
  • eh? (Score:2, Redundant)

    by nizo (81281)
    The article title: What Critics of the Critics of the FCC Rule Miss


    Yes but what about the critics of the critics of the critics? Three cheers for article titles that turn your brain inside out!

  • Thank you for this informed and balanced analysis
  • I'll seriously think this might be a reasonably good idea when all the heads of the studios (are you listening, Mr. Eisner), and television execuitives (still listening, Mr. Eisner) happily live within these restrictions in their own homes.

    This being something I sincerely doubt will ever happen. I'm am dead certain that they intend one set of rules for themselves, and a different one for the rest of us.

  • by Quasar1999 (520073) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @05:13PM (#7448487) Journal
    When companies like Apex, simply ignored the Region coding stuff, they sold like hotcakes... So I plan on doing the same thing, simply ignoring the flags (or whatever they end up being), manufacturing my units in some country the US can't touch (say China), and making a fortune...

    What part did I mess up? I must have missed something... This seriously is too good to be true... I'm gonna be rich!!!
    • Except I don't believe the Region coding was regulated and mandated by the FCC (though I could be mistaken). Thus there wouldn't really be a problem importing the devices into the country, except possibly civil actions by the studios who are members of the DVD-CCA.
    • Good point, Quasar.

      I would like to add that by doing so, illegal devices generate revenue from fines issued by law enforcement, and agencies tracking such illegal activity will be overwhelmed (which is another word for heavily funded by the taxpayers, the companies "in the club", and the fines).
    • What part did I mess up?

      A very simple part: China is already busy place by producing the electronic stuff without any protection support. Other coutries doing that are: Russia, Latin America, some other Asian countries.

      But you know what? The job market is also migrating to those countries from US/EU. So, you may consider just move there: a lot of nice girls, a lot of exotic food, a lot of job, no DRM - it's a heaven.

      I am thinking to move there, instead of feeding by my taxes the goverment that is bom

  • The Federal Communications Commission's Nov. 4 decision to protect digital-TV broadcasts from rampant copying across the Internet

    The moment I got as far as rampant copying in the beginning of the original article, I knew the whole thing was garbage. It is that (incorrect) attitude that needs to be fixed in the governmental mind.

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @05:24PM (#7448581)
    When the next West Wing won't be ripped off Napster-style, producers will likely air more HDTV programs.

    So this is all that is stopping them now. HDTV will only happen when the Internet is locked down. Once upon a time producers wanted people to see their shows. It's not like these are pay-per-views that go out over our airwaves.

    If consumers want their HDTV, they have to accept limits on the ability to redistribute TV shows on the Web.

    You know, maybe I don't want my HDTV that badly. Present TV is good enough for the fare they serve up on it. Of course, regular TV is now also distributed on the Internet. Are they next going to threaten us with no TV at all?

    One can only hope.

    • I sure don't need it. My wife and I only get broadcast analog, and I don't see our buying cable, a dish, or even HDTV anytime soon. Why pay for something that's really only a waste of my time? I've got more important and constructive things to do. Of course YMMV.
    • by signe (64498) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @05:59PM (#7448854) Homepage
      So this is all that is stopping them now. HDTV will only happen when the Internet is locked down. Once upon a time producers wanted people to see their shows. It's not like these are pay-per-views that go out over our airwaves.

      You're missing a few steps.

      Producers want to make money. They do this by selling their shows to the networks (I mean that loosely, not just ABC/NBC/CBS/etc.). The networks buy the shows because they want to make money. They do this by selling advertising. The more people that they can say watch their advertising spots, the more money they can get for them. How do they get people to watch their advertising spots? By putting them in the middle of content. So this is why the networks buy the shows from the producers. The more people who watch the show, the more money the network can get for the advertising during the show, hence the more money the network is willing to pay to the producer for the show.

      So if you follow that logic, the producers may want more people to watch their shows, but it only really matters if they're watching them on a network. A million people could watch the rips off the Internet, and the producers are not going to care at all, because they're not making any money from it, and it doesn't drive up the advertising revenues. But if a million people watching on the Internet means that even a fraction of them are now not watching it on a network, the producers will care, because it's taking money out of their pockets.

      Now, the model is slightly different for premium networks, since they don't have advertising spots, but the same logic applies. The premium network makes money by people paying for a subscription. So the premium network pays the producer more money for shows that draw more viewers. If viewers are getting rips off the Internet instead of subscribing, the same problem exists.

      This isn't to say that this is good for the TV watchers. It's merely how it is. Yes, I don't want to have to license TV shows for every TV that I want to watch them on. If I record on one TV in my house, I'd like to be able to watch a show on another. The ideal solution would be to "license" the show to a user. For example, I buy HBO, so I should be able to watch HBO shows whereever and whenever I want to. The problem is that there isn't presently a good way for the networks to do that. The only solution they have currently is to license shows to hardware devices. That's where most of the problems come from.

      Maybe the solution is for someone to come up with some sort of universal key, like a USB storage device, that I could load with subscriptions for various networks, and would then connect to any device I wanted to view it on. It would have to be open enough to allow it to be adapted to any type of system (so, for example, we could view our media on Linux or any other free system), but secure enough where it couldn't be (easily) compromised. And of course you'd then have the hassle of having to keep track of this hardware key, and move it around with you. But perhaps something like that would satisfy the needs of both the networks/producers (who want to get paid for viewers) and TV watchers, who want to be able to watch the shows when they want to, and where they want to.

      -Todd
      • So like I went to this party and we were going to watch the TV but like I forgot my TV-PASS so like when they called everbody to pony up and plug in their passes I had to leave. The people tracker knew there were 25 people in the house.

        Thing was, after I left, they coudn't watch it anyway because there were 24 people in the house but the host hadn't rented a TV-Party hub so he only had ten slots on the built in hub.

        So like the pary went indoor/outdoor. They got the lead curtins out and hung them on the
      • They already have this...it's the smart card and it comes with every DirecTV receiver. It has all your subscription information on it, so you can just get a bunch of receivers and have your personal card. Just take your card with you when you go on vacation, travel, whatever and plug into the local machine to get all your programming just like at home.

        What, it doens't work that way? But I paid for the subscription! Never take the card out? It can't be transferred at all? Then why bother making it removab
    • Are they next going to threaten us with no TV at all?

      You say that like it's a bad thing. :P

  • Various governments and courts have stepped in time and time again and saved IP-oriented businesses from themselves; Piano rolls, TV, VCRs. Each time the estabilshed industry was deathly afraid of a new technology and tried to ignore or squash it. Each time they were stopped. Each time the new technology lead to more opportunities and a stronger industry.

    This time though it appears that the industry is too strong and has enough congress critters in its pocket to strangle the new technology. Hopefully t
  • Pirates? (Score:3, Funny)

    by WookieinHeat (713672) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @05:28PM (#7448609)
    "All in all, the FCC has taken a reasonable first step. If consumers want their HDTV, they have to accept limits on the ability to redistribute TV shows on the Web. Shelter from pirates will help broadcasters venture into the digital era. And that will benefit everyone except the pirates."


    Arrr, shiver me timbers. You won't find much shelter on da high sea. Shes a harsh mistres.
  • The agency's move to allow encryption-like protection for digital shows takes away one more excuse from the broadcasters to delay the rollout of high-definition TV. When the next West Wing won't be ripped off Napster-style, producers will likely air more HDTV programs.

    " ... excuse .. likely ... " There was already a ruling that broadcasters were required to broadcast in HDTV. Their only real excuse, though you won't hear it discussed publicly from members of their little club, is that it's all about synd

    • by Detritus (11846)
      Many older shows were shot on 35mm film. They can be converted to HD by rescanning the original print.
  • really sickens me. It's not about giving up freedom for security, we're now reduced to giving up freedom for TV shows?
    The agency's move to allow encryption-like protection for digital shows takes away one more excuse from the broadcasters to delay the rollout of high-definition TV.
    Cry me a river. You can live without television. I did it when I backpacked in Europe. I felt so much more energized that I can't describe it. Riding bicycles, meeting people and making friends, and answering to the border police is a hell of a lot more rewarding than pissing away your life watching other people embarrass themselves (Jackass, Funniest Home Videos, [insert reality show here]).
    When the next West Wing won't be ripped off Napster-style, producers will likely air more HDTV programs.
    You can live without HDTV. We have for more than 50 years. Disclaimer: I own an HDTV set (for watching import DVDs, mostly, but I do watch INHD and the occasional football game).
    Moreover, nothing in the FCC's scheme will limit viewers' freedom to make a copy of Friends for their personal use, just as they do now.
    Yeah, nothing except the hardware manufacturers. And they're loathe to do it, because it means they have to charge more for appliances which every one knows (or should know) is broken.
    If consumers want their HDTV, they have to accept limits on the ability to redistribute TV shows on the Web. Shelter from pirates will help broadcasters venture into the digital era. And that will benefit everyone except the pirates.
    I don't give two shits about HDTV if it means I give up the freedom to do what I want with products I buy. If you like movies, songs, and TV, that's fine with me. But if you're gonna trespass on my property to beam high-energy waves into my head, I'll do what I please with them. If you don't like that, don't broadcast to my house.
    • It's not about giving up freedom for security, we're now reduced to giving up freedom for TV shows?

      What's really warped is that, at a time when really important freedoms like due process of law, attorney-client privilege, and the right to trial by jury are being threatened by the current regime, people have the time and energy left over to piss and moan about how their VCRs work.
    • if you're gonna trespass on my property to beam high-energy waves into my head, I'll do what I please with them. If you don't like that, don't broadcast to my house.

      I aggree with this. The deal is they get the *privillage* of broadcasting in *my* air because I want them to, not because they have some god given right to.

      They *give* me the signal. I should be able to do with it what I wish. If I choose to watch their content with no ads, bad luck.

      So the deal is not "we make content in return for you wa


  • I'm sure glad you spent an entire paragraph in the article submission to explain why the article you linked to was wrong! I wouldn't have known what to think without such massive amounts of editorializing.

    Thanks again!

  • by downix (84795) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @05:32PM (#7448649) Homepage
    The article thinks that the only content is that provided by the big studios. I don't know about you, but most of my home video library is composed of home movies, short films I have created myself, and some classic material that you can't get on tape.

    This ruling eliminates any kind of non-authorized content, weither that is indie films, home movies, pirate TV stations, or illegal downloads. It doesn't matter to the machine, it's all unplayable. The FCC has done its job here, with regulating commercial playback, but it has overstepped its bounds in forbidding non-commercial use of non-broadcast signals.

    Shoot, there is no guarantee that I can record my local township's cable channel anymore with this. It will force these no-budget public access stations to pay who knows how much or else their programming is no longer viewable by their constituants.
  • So, how does the broadcast flag, which devices must then not allow you to make unlimited copies of, cause you to be unable to make unlimited copies of non-flagged materials (your home videos)?
    • So, how does the broadcast flag, which devices must then not allow you to make unlimited copies of, cause you to be unable to make unlimited copies of non-flagged materials (your home videos)?

      I think what people are concerned about is that future input devices (VCRs, DVD recorders, Camcorder) will be built with the assumption on the part of the manufacturer that any analog input (including that of the camcorder) will be considered an attempt to "pirate" their IP. So these input devices will just flag anyt

  • I've skimmed through the FCC's PDF report and read a few other sources but this is the first thing I've seen that says that new VCRs won't play old tapes. Is there something in the rule that says all content must have a flag? Is flag-less content presumed to be pirated?
  • This will accepted by the vast majority of consumers. Why?

    I'll use my wife as an example. When we realised that we were getting deeper into debt, she refused completely to ditch the TV and it's attendant 50+ dollar a month fees. She views TV as a neccessity, not as a luxury.

    So does everyone else, and they don't care one little bit about anything other than when the next episode of Friends is on*.

    * my wife doesn't actually watch Friends - she tivos Changing Rooms, Good Eats and Daily Show episodes.
  • No one has bothered to explain how the broadcast flag works. Why would one have to get a new VCR, for example? Unless you have the JVC DVHS machine, everything you tape is analog and non-HD. So why would the flag effect an analog recording? I thought the flag was for digital signals only? Have the technical details even been established yet? Maybe that's why no one really knows what is going on.

    Why would home videos be incompatible with new VCRs? Is the author saying that all recordings must have a flag or

  • ... at the Broadcast Flag.

    Copy protection schemes either don't work (Region coding) or they kill the technology (DAT) -- sometimes both (DAT). I'm not "1337" enough to crack these things myself, but I know others are -- and will.

    Media companies in general are still working from an outdated business model. Their day has passed, and they're looking for laws to preserve themselves. What they should be doing is producing products that obviate internet distribution. Provide something that is desirable but
  • by Pedrito (94783)
    And what Critics of the Critics of the Critics of of the Critics of the Critics the FCC Rule Miss (I think there are two of them), is that the Critics of the Critics are talking a bunch of gibberish.
  • by buckhead_buddy (186384) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @05:47PM (#7448762)
    I had a problem similar to this hit me. Back in the early eighties I made a beta recording of a community theatre production of A Midsummers Nights Dream because my sister was on the stage.

    In the mid nineties, the beta tape player could no longer play this tape. I paid a fair amount of money for someone to copy this tape over to VHS for me. Maybe they did it because they thought my work was so professional (yeah, right) Maybe they did it just out of the habit on all of their transfers (more likely) Maybe they just thought better safe than sorry. Whatever the reason I believe that in this transfer they added an undesired Macrovision syncing protection to my transferred tape. Of course I didn't discover this addition until 2001 well after my original beta tape is gone as well as the company that did the transfer.

    It's not like I can go to Best Buy and get the Athens Georgia 1983 spring production on DVD, but if I try to go to Best Buy to get something to copy my tape for my sister or preserve it for later years I'm treated like a criminal. "No Sir. It's illegal to sell Macrovision breaking products in this country." I know that's bullcrud but what should I expect from Best Buy.

    Based on my experiences with trying to circumvent copy protection most people consider "trivial" I don't look forward to higher end crap like these flags.

    Btw, if anyone knows of a good product to use to circumvent Macrovision that even an idiot like me could use, I'd very much appreciate a recommendation.

    • by tsangc (177574) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @06:00PM (#7448862)
      Get a Timebase Corrector (TBC). A used DPS Personal TBC 1 should cost you about $100 on EBay. Many VideoToaster systems used to have them.

      Another possibility is to run it through a consumer SEG which has framesynchronizers or TBCs onboard (ie, Panasonic WJ-MX series, Videonics MX-series)

      Digitizing it into a PC via videocapture or editing card should also work.
      • Digitizing it into a PC via videocapture or editing card should also work.

        You don't even have to capture it, if your video card has TV-out. Most capture cards come with TV viewing apps, just run that full screen and turn on the TV-out. The output will be a nice clean signal, without all that macrovision sillyness. You don't need lodsa disk space or even a fast computer. I've done this on a Pentium 433.

        That kind of setup can also be used as a really cheap NTSC<>PAL convertor :)

        One bit of advice
    • dont rf modulators do this? radio shack $20.

      worse than the phone companies, sell protection to companies for 'piracy', sell anti-macrovision products to consumers for 'fair use'.

      so i only get fair use if i pay for it? something is seriously wrong with this.
    • I researched Macrovision a bit in reponse to your post and it seems that all it really does is exploit a flaw in the way a VCR works by putting in bogus brightness information into the signal. TV's can handle this, but VCR's cannot.

      Maybe you should forget about making VHS copies and go straight to digital, then burn it on DVD or something? Have you tried digitizing your video with a video capture board? Unfortunately, I have no idea how capture cards handle Macrovision. My research indicated that most
  • You fools^H^H^H^H^Hconsumers will buy anything we tell you to. If that means you can't skip commercials, watch your old tapes, or time-shift programming, we'll just sell you neutered technology to do part of what you used to get for free at an inflated price.

    This seems to be the frame of mind of the people who came up with this incipient CF - an arrogant assumption that people will accept what the networks give them, and will forget anything that they want people to forget. The problem is, people have th
  • First of all - I don't agree with this ruling.

    That out of the way, the commentary in the header is completely untrue. The flag is not required in order for a tape to be read. It is required that it can be read by the player, not that it HAS to exist. Old VCR tapes will work fine. New VCR tapes will work fine, as long as you don't try to play something that has a flag that says "don't play". That's it. Any questions?
  • Well now, if the networks just put copies of their shows up on the internet to download, people wouldn't pirate them. How is watching a show on TV, different than if you watch it on the computer? I mean, it's like sharing a tape on a larger scale. Remember when we used to pause while recording a show to get rid of the commercials? Shouldn't the networks be happy we are watching their stuff?

    Seriously, low key product placement to replace commercials would satisify the costs. And if they could estimate
  • Its pretty much a non issue these days, but once long ago far away just about every piece of software was copyprotected. Oddly enough the practice went away for some reason. Would you like to invest in broadcasters that copyprotect their shows so you can't watch them when you want to ? Take a look at the current network lineups, copshow vs copshow, scifi vs scifi, gameshow vs gameshow. The networks that don't use the flag will prosper, those that do will die.

    My big problem is that we have to go through
  • by version5 (540999) <.altovideo. .at. .hotmail.com.> on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @05:57PM (#7448845)
    I'm sure the submitter feels vastly superior to the author of the article, but is it really necessary to add smug and possibly sexist comments such as, "Awww, she almost gets it. (...and she was sooo close, too!)" I think that's uncalled for.
  • by Temsi (452609) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @05:58PM (#7448850) Journal
    Apart from the government stipulating what hardware manufacturers MUST have in their hardware, I see no problem with this.

    If they use 10% of the FCC's collective brain power (which is approximately at the level of Homer Simpson at this point), they'll figure out that the easiest way to get this done is to allow new VCR's/DVD's/DVR's/PVR's to play non-flagged content as well as flagged.

    RULE 1: If there's a flag, do what it says.
    RULE 2: If there's no flag, play the damn thing.

    That makes everyone happy. The FCC and MPAA can mandate their stupid flags as much as they want to and it will do what it's supposed to, but I can still play my home videos and all the pirated videos I'll be able to get once someone cracks the flag (and you know it's inevitable).

    • RULE 1: If there's a flag, do what it says.

      RULE 2: If there's no flag, play the damn thing.

      Exactly, and so intuitivley obvious that I can't imagine it being done any other way. Anything else would be a broken implementation.

      That makes everyone happy. The FCC and MPAA can mandate their stupid flags as much as they want to and it will do what it's supposed to, but I can still play my home videos and all the pirated videos I'll be able to get once someone cracks the flag (and you know it's inevitable).

  • OK, perhaps I am missing something here but how would the lack of a broadcast flag screw up the home video? Wouldn't the lack of a flag just indicate that you can make as many copies of Uncle Milt tripping over fluffy as you want?

    The only problem I see is when your son is shown on the local news winning the state chess match, you won't be able to make extra copies, as that might be broadcast with the bit on.
  • by SiliconEntity (448450) * on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @06:13PM (#7448954)
    If you're going to criticize the critics of the critics of the Broadcast Flag, you have to be willing to accept some criticism yourself...

    You say that the FCC order will put HDTV production in the hands of the studios. That's not true! There is nothing in the order that says anything about that.

    All it says is that video equipment, if it sees a Broadcast Flag, must restrict how it outputs the data. Video without the BF can be handled any way it ways. It is expected that broadcasters will probably choose to make at least some content unprotected, like public affairs programs, so video equipment must be able to handle both BF and non-BF video.

    Nothing in the FCC order says anything about who can and can't put a BF into their video. All it talks about is how the video players have to respond to the BF. The order has no effect whatsoever on the ability of consumers to create HDTV video.
  • by gilroy (155262) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @06:14PM (#7448962) Homepage Journal
    Blockquoth the editorial:

    If consumers want their HDTV, they have to accept limits on the ability to redistribute TV shows on the Web. (emphasis added)

    But isn't that the point -- judging by sales, consumers don't want their HDTV. Why is this allegedly pro-capitalism administration, usually so gung-ho to invoke the market to address societal needs, apparently so willing to overlook the overwhelming verdict of the market: People just aren't itching to get HDTV.
    Why is government intervention and the "picking of winners" OK here but not, say, in national health insurance?
  • by JayBlalock (635935) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @06:48PM (#7449257)
    Number one, the automatic assumption that unless piracy goes away, people will stop producing media. This is a MYTH, pure and simple. IP piracy has existed since the invention of the idea of copyrights, and the ability of people to pirate has always more or less kept pace with the ability of content holders to put out more and more content.

    The argument that the digital age alters this is simply nonsensical. What it boils down to is that the content providers have decided that it's quicker and easier to legislate change in their favor rather than adjusting their business plan to fit a changing market. Had the RIAA legitimately embraced the potential of Napster-style P2P products, as any halfway smart business-person would've, then we wouldn't have the whole music piracy war going on. Instead they ignored the next logical step in musical distribution, until it had gotten so corrupted that it was beyond their ability to really capitalize on.

    Same goes for movie producers. They all stuck their heads in the ground and hoped the digital revolution would go away if they pretended it was going on. That is pretty much the definition of a business model which deserves to fail. Adjust your plan to suit the times, or die. They allowed themselves to fall disasterously behind the curve, I see no reason our government should bail them out.

    And, number two, how long has HDTV been around? How long has it NOT made many inroads into the consumer market? Sad to say, people have spoken very clearly with their wallets and made it abundantly clear they don't care about HDTV *that* much. But then the government got this idea into their head that they should force everyone to upgrade. It's the FCC mandate for HDTV transition itself we should be debating, not silly moves like this whole "flagging" business.

    So, let's see... Consumers don't want the products because they're so expensive. The studios can't really afford to convert all of their archives to the new format. The stockholders don't want to gamble their investment dollars on a technology that's been around for about a decade now and no one has really bought into.

    So the government steps in and mandates that everyone must upgrade whether they like it or not.

    Does this not make sense to anyone else? I'm far from a pure laissez-faire Capitalist, but if everyone involved (besides the hardware OEMs) has pretty clearly said they don't want to mess with it, why in the world is the government forcing it on us?

    So, in short, this whole broadcast flag nonsense is a red herring. It's a symptom of a couple far larger wounds - ones that will just keep festering as long as we think we can get away with slapping band-aids on them.

Round Numbers are always false. -- Samuel Johnson

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