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Death By DMCA 414

Posted by Zonk
from the law-to-the-head-ed-grubberman dept.
Dino writes "There's a good article in the IEEE Spectrum, titled 'Death by DMCA', which talks about how whole classes of devices were eliminated, and how others won't even see the light of day as a result of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. One example is ReplayTV's TiVo-like devices which featured sharing capabilities, along with automatic ad skipping; the company was sued to bankruptcy, and the reincarnated device supported neither sharing nor ad skipping."
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Death By DMCA

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  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu@@@gmail...com> on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:54PM (#15467363) Journal

    This is cool, I don't have to change my "subject" lines for posts any more... it's all about the entertainment industry's state of mental health.

    From the article: "These new capabilities did not please Hollywood. Jamie Kellner, then CEO of Turner Broadcasting System Inc., called skipping commercials "theft" and, along with 28 entertainment companies including major movie studios and television networks--such as Disney, Paramount, Time Warner, Fox, Columbia, ABC, NBC, and CBS--sued ReplayTV for contributing to copyright infringement."

    WTF? Skipping commercials is theft? FUCK YOU Jamie Kellner.... FUCK YOU TBS, FUCK YOU Disney, Paramount, Time Warner, Fox, Columbia, ABC, NBC and CBS! So, for those not using some sort of tivo-like device, if they should step out to relieve themselves, is THAT theft?

    It galls that devices are being driven away from the marketplace because they're too good. And it equally galls that layer upon layer of obfuscation continues to be heaped on existing technology, to the point that when something works, my heart palpitates: is it the signal?, is it the unit?, or is the FUCKING DRM that I somehow forgot to set correctly?

    Also from the article (referring to the ability to create "unencumbered digital tuners": "The entertainment companies do not like the flexibility of these home-built machines--or, more significant to them, the flexibility of the machines that consumer electronics manufacturers could offer under the current copyright law and its Betamax rule." WTF?, again?

    They don't like the flexibility of these machines? I'm willing to bet somewhere in their ad campaigns they're bragging on some feature they're offering as flexible, etc. Gawd, I hate the industry.

    So, technology continues to improve in quantum leaps, but the governor that is the RIAA/MPAA consortium does everything in their power to ensure technology is crippled to their whims, to enhance their power and profit.

    Has anyone read Player Piano by Vonnegut? Great book... pretty good story about technology and designed obsolescence, and the collapse therein of a society... I won't give away the ending, it's worth reading.

    </vent> Thanks, I feel better now.

    • Don't forget these innovations are only curbed in the US. The rest of the country outside the US can and will enjoy these technologies.
      • by KingSkippus (799657) * on Sunday June 04, 2006 @03:08PM (#15467767) Homepage Journal

        First of all, this was a damn good article, one of the most thoughtful and thorough ones I've read in a long, long time.

        Second of all, non-U.S. citizens aren't safe. The RIAA and MPAA are pushing our government to force other countries to sign their digital freedoms away in trade agreements and treaties. The article specifically deals with this issue.

        Remember, the guy who released deCSS was arrested for breaking no Norweigian law. The Pirate Bay guys have had their equipment seized for breaking no Swedish law. The point is that just as the U.S. flexes its military muscles in places like Iraq, it flexes its corporate muscles in countries such as the one that you call home, wherever that may be. And as weird and hard as it may be to believe, I'm 100% sure that the government in your country is just as capable of doing the same really boneheaded stupid things that the U.S. government has done given the right (*ahem*) incentives.

        So no, this is not a problem unique to the United States. Yes, the U.S. may be the worst of the lot, and yes, a lot of this foolishness has arisen primarily because of corrupt greedy U.S. organizations who don't give a flip about consumers there or anywhere else, but if you believe nothing else, believe this: This idiocy will reach you in your supposedly safe and comfortable home country unless you are vigilant and active about stopping it.

        • by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @03:37PM (#15467884)

          The Pirate Bay guys have had their equipment seized for breaking no Swedish law.

          The difference is that, in Sweden, this is a huge scandal, and great publicity for the fledgeling political party that's forming out of this debacle. It should be interesting to see what happens in sweden in the next election.

          • by Firehed (942385) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @03:53PM (#15467966) Homepage
            And as it is, TPB is the only organization that was opering out of Rix|Port80 that isn't suffering any financial harm, having already got back up and running out of now four countries (they can continue to cash in on ads, while the 200+ other orgs hosted there are still down and in some closet in a police station). So not only did they accomplish nothing but a worldwide outcry of horror (which was followed by a sigh of relief), they made TPB harder to shut down as they're now running in four countires, instead of just one. Supposedly TPB also intends to press charges for something or other, and I'd imagine all of the other operaters of servers seized meaninglessly will do the same.

            Way to go, police.

            • by Jugalator (259273) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @04:57PM (#15468238) Journal
              Yes, and that things gets harder to shut down isn't a one time occurence either.

              We got centralized Napster to introduce P2P to the masses, then things like Kazaa, Gnutella, eDonkey and Overnet, with them shifting focus more and more to decentralized implementations. Now we have BitTorrent which has a centralized tracker, but intelligently set up to not host or transmit anything copyrighted, which can both put it in a legal grey zone, and also make it quite easy to set up. And that's not even the cutting edge P2P tools -- these would be the existing and upcoming anonymous clients.

              With a future, at least in Sweden where I live, of 10 and 100 Mbps connections fairly common, there's tons of redundant bandwidth all over in case you can accept e.g a 0.5-1 Mbps down/up speed which is more than enough for reasonably efficient piracy. And that extra bandwidth could probably be enough for "anonymizing" clients.

              And once you get a fresh new P2P client to get very popular and using encryption with onion routing, I think that's the final nail in the coffin against **AA's "shut down" or even lawsuit strategy. They won't even know whom to sue, unless they venture into the painful realm of tracing through proxies. For effiicent shutdowns or suits, they simply have to move into banning encryption and proxies, and then I suspect pirates will finally find peace, because that won't happen. Tracing people through a maze of proxies in a popular anonymous P2P net is also something I seriously doubt even the police have the resources for on a massive scale.

              It would be very interesting to hear **AA commentary on what they think of anonymous nets, something they've had the pleasure of not having overly popular yet due to less performance. But performance will increase proportionally to how popular the network is and how many can share their bandwidth.
              • nd once you get a fresh new P2P client to get very popular and using encryption with onion routing, I think that's the final nail in the coffin against **AA's "shut down" or even lawsuit strategy.

                Their response will be to try to outlaw that particular client and clients like it, and impose DRM technology on every user to enforce the law. How well that turns out might be a decisive moment for the future of culture, I suspect.

              • It would be very interesting to hear **AA commentary on what they think of anonymous nets, something they've had the pleasure of not having overly popular yet due to less performance.

                That's easy. They are terrorist tools and should be illegal. They'll get lots of support from the spook-overlords in the government too, probably end up reducing their bribery^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hcampaign controbutions budget in the process.
          • The Police Bay (Score:3, Informative)

            by Spy der Mann (805235)
            if you go to thepiratebay, you'll see that the title says "The Police Bay", and the front image has the hollywood letters being attacked by the pirate ship's cannon, YARRRRRrrrr :)
        • So no, this is not a problem unique to the United States. Yes, the U.S. may be the worst of the lot, and yes, a lot of this foolishness has arisen primarily because of corrupt greedy U.S. organizations who don't give a flip about consumers there or anywhere else, but if you believe nothing else, believe this: This idiocy will reach you in your supposedly safe and comfortable home country unless you are vigilant and active about stopping it.

          You're right about that-- it's the U.S. industries at fault. If we c

        • by Kjella (173770) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @09:53PM (#15469429) Homepage
          Remember, the guy who released deCSS was arrested for breaking no Norweigian law.

          Umm a couple points, one he was in fact arrested after Norwegian law, just never convicted. Secondly, the woman leading the investigation against him, Inger Marie Sunde, need no help from the USA to be a 1984-happy control freak. She's tried to ban anonymous email (yes, she wanted to outlaw using free webmails like Hotmail or Yahoo from Norway), she's managed to outlaw anonymous cell phones and registration without showing ID, she's been airing thoughts about requiring ID to use a webcafe, every time there's been something like the RIP act in UK or the data retention act in EU she's all for it and in the broadest scope possible. Her latest suggestion is to allow copyright holders like RIAA and MPAA direct access to subscriber information without police or court oversight, and I mean absolutely none at all.
      • by Thing 1 (178996) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @03:29PM (#15467837) Journal
        Emphasis added:

        The rest of the country outside the US can and will enjoy these technologies.

        Mr. President, the correct term is "empire." 1/2 :)

      • The rest of the country outside the US can and will enjoy these technologies.

        Tell that to the administrators of The Pirate Bay.
    • Well, your post was passionate, I'll give you that.

      However, I'd like to ask a simple question. If the networks can no longer count on people watching at least some ads, how are they to pay for content? The day most people have "auto-commercial-skip" is the day advertisers stop paying to be a part of the program. At that point, the networks would have to charge the consumers directly. Are you interested in paying even more for cable TV then?

      I'm not saying it's theft or agreeing with any of the other comm
      • by kaiser423 (828989) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:23PM (#15467514)
        I would say that the networks should really start looking into it -- in about 20 years all the politicians are going to be people who lived through the shutdown of napster, the lawsuits, and the general stupidity.

        I'd say that there's plenty of room for other means of revenue. Product placement in show, micropayments, paying to download the show ala iTunes, not giving their actors a million a show, dvd sales of the series, etc. There are lots of revenue streams that the station currently makes money on; they just need to enhance a couple and stop spending so extravagantly and they'll be just fine.

        We need to stop worrying about them, and they need to start worrying about other content usurping their marketplace. In the future, their actors will likely be paid less and they will likely make less money. But that's a direct result of us having more to occupy our free time. That's business, and they need to plan for it, not try to legislate it out of existence. But so far, they're winning with the legislation so they're going to keep pushing it.


        Actually, the legislation is a very bold move to prevent other content from usurping their marketshare, and what we're reading on slashdot is the natural backlash to their effots. They've made their decision, and are going to try to execute their gameplan regardless of criticism because billions are at stake here. We need to vote with our votes, because nothing else will work. They have way too much money and influence currently to vote with our wallet or our voices. They're going after the legislators, and so far they're winning them over.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 04, 2006 @06:35PM (#15468680)
          in about 20 years all the politicians are going to be people who lived through the shutdown of napster, the lawsuits, and the general stupidity.

          Today, all the politicians are people who lived through Vietnam and Watergate. It doesn't seem to have made them any less inclined to invade other countries on the slimmest pretext, nor does it seem to have made them any less inclined to commit crimes in office and then lie about them.
        • Optimism (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Morosoph (693565) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @08:18PM (#15469089) Homepage Journal
          I would say that the networks should really start looking into it -- in about 20 years all the politicians are going to be people who lived through the shutdown of napster, the lawsuits, and the general stupidity.
          I think that you're being a little optimistic. The difference between now and then is that norms will have shifted, and "intellectual property" will appear fundemental. Ordinary people already fail [boingboing.net] to understand [nosoftwarepatents.com] the arguments [slashdot.org].
        • I would say that the networks should really start looking into it -- in about 20 years all the politicians are going to be people who lived through the shutdown of napster, the lawsuits, and the general stupidity.

          I wish there was some merit to the idea that future politicians will have a more modern viewpoint (even if their views are 20 years old by that point), but I'm not convinced that we will elect leaders who are any less susceptible to corporate (or other special interest group) influence, or that any
      • by Stellian (673475) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:28PM (#15467540)
        If the networks can no longer count on people watching at least some ads, how are they to pay for content? The day most people have "auto-commercial-skip" is the day advertisers stop paying to be a part of the program.


        I guess that's the broadcasters problem, not mine. They should adapt their business model around this. Maybe air shorter, more interesting and targeted commercials, that people want to watch. I am willing to fill a questionnaire to help them select the best commercials for me. I don't know and I don't care how they would pay for content.
        However, what they should not be allowed to do, is telling me what I can do with my TV and my video recorder, in my house.
      • by richdun (672214) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:31PM (#15467554)
        You make a good point, except for this - if this were really the networks' issue, they should have sued Frito-Lay and Pepsi decades ago. I skip commercials all the time, and I don't have a Tivo or other DVR. People have been skipping commercials for years - mostly to go get whatever the commercial is selling out of the fridge. And if advertisers really though people were going to skip their commercials too much, they should have went after whoever it was that release the first remote control. Even if I'm not hungry, I'm not watching commercials if the remote is within reach. I don't see many complaints from the actual advertisers (maybe because its Slashdot and we don't care if Pepsi complains about us not watching their commercials while we IV in Mountain Dew during any and all coding projects, or mostly because they've been using multiple business models in their advertising for years under blanket marketing strategies), just the networks themselves.
      • However, I'd like to ask a simple question. If the networks can no longer count on people watching at least some ads, how are they to pay for content?

        How about "that's their fucking problem not mine"?

        Pro-capitalism, pro-"free trade", pro-whatever-you-think-that-is americans (I'm not american btw) usually point out that the market sorts itself out, how about letting it sort itself out for once?

        They could switch to 100% pay-per-view, or a single "free" channel and some for-pay channels, or they could die altogether for all i'd care, but the fact that their current business model would be fucked is not a good enough reason for me nor for anyone else to accept that kind of crap.

        How are they to pay for content? I don't give a fuck, seriously. It's their job to figure it out but it's not their job to make it impossible for me to get devices I'm interrested in.

        Progress always win in the end, while they can delay the widespread use of TiVo-like devices they can't slaughter it altogether, they're merely getting some more time.

        I'm not saying it's theft or agreeing with any of the other comments made by those companies, but you need to put down emotion and maybe start coming up with reasonable alternative business models if you want to see devices like this suceed.

        Of course not, I don't need to come up with "reasonable alternative business models", nor does the GP, I'm not a content provider or anything, it's not my job. If they can't come up with alternative business models by themselves then they're better off dead, and the sooner the better, other more intelligent guys will think of something and take their place in no time.

        • by Corbets (169101) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:48PM (#15467655) Homepage
          Actually, the use of non-market strategies (i.e. legislative means) is very common in business. Businesses do it all the time. If you want that to change, time to work on your politicians!

          How about "that's their fucking problem not mine"?

          Sure is, and they're trying to solve it. Look at it this way - for the people working in those companies, it is their job to get you to watch TV and more specifically watch those ads. They will pursue all means that they think are ethical/legal and probably some that they don't. But it's their job, and you can hardly blame them for doing it any more than they can blame you for flipping burgers at the local Mickey Ds (or whatever your country has - but I live in Switzerland at the moment, and even these guys have the golden arches). Obviously they haven't yet come up with better ideas. When they do, they'll get implemented, and given the quality of technical skill some Slashdotters have, there's even a chance that the solution could come from here.

          We're getting back to copyright issue, I think - it's their content, according to current copyright law, and they think they grant you a very specific use - to watch it on your TV. You, on the other hand, think that once they broadcast the content to you, it's yours to do with as you please. In this case, the law would appear to disagree with you. Until and unless a majority of people within the US share your view, which will not happen until you can share it without cussing and sounding like a fool, then US law will continue to protect the interests of those TV networks. Unbridled anger rarely serves effective change.

          Sure is nice to see one of my posts stir up so many comments, though. ;-)
          • People don't realize what they are missing, perhaps we should advertise to the world all the cool things they COULD be doing...but won't be able to because the Media companies have bought the politicians?

          • Sure is, and they're trying to solve it.

            Trying to stall something has never been a solution has never been a solution, and couldn't ever be called one.

            it is their job to get you to watch TV and more specifically watch those ads

            Works wonder since I don't own a TV anymore.

            Obviously they haven't yet come up with better ideas

            Point is that they're not even trying to, the only thing they're trying to do is to keep the current statu-quo.

          • Sure is, and they're trying to solve it.

            Playing at being King Canute is unlikely to solve anything.

            Look at it this way - for the people working in those companies, it is their job to get you to watch TV and more specifically watch those ads They will pursue all means that they think are ethical/legal and probably some that they don't.

            The problem with the latter is the way in which corporations are not exactly treated as people. i.e. they don't get jailed or subject to bail conditions when accused of b
            • He got rid of a bunch of very obnoxious yes-men in a very satisfying way.

              You seem to remember that Canute commanded the tides to stop and have taken that as an example of a ruler out of touch with reality. The folks who think it is their job to stifle technological progress in order to preserve their employer's profits may be disconnected from reality. (However there is more than one reality - I cite the leadership of North Korea, Iran, and Cuba as examples)

              But back to the misremembered monarch. In a nutshe
          • by Alef (605149) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @03:41PM (#15467903)
            Look at it this way - for the people working in those companies, it is their job to get you to watch TV and more specifically watch those ads. They will pursue all means that they think are ethical/legal and probably some that they don't. But it's their job, and you can hardly blame them for doing it

            I beg to differ. You can blame them, and in fact you should blame them. That is how a market economy works: if I don't like that a certain shoe manufacturer profits from child labour, then I blame them for it, and stop buying their shoes.

            When we accept questionable and dishonest behaviour from corporations, simply because it is somehow expected of them, then that is how they will behave. The truth is, it is expected from them only because we accept it. If we didn't, it would no longer be profitable and they wouldn't do it. Companies have no intrinsic moral; their only moral stems solely from the criticism we as consumers place on them. Humans are the only source of moral in the system, and we must use it.

          • I wouldnt call RIAA tactics a legislative ( with the implication of lawfulness and law-abiding behaviour ) process, it is more of a criminal process. If I decide overnight I am entitled to million of dollars, then set about 'recovering' the 'valuable funds' that were 'stolen' from me by society at large, then am I permitted to kick down the doors of families and rob them at knifepoint?

            The RIAA does precisely this, albeit with the threat of lawsuits instead. There is no doubt at all that these actions are cr
          • Okay, well, you're making it clear now that you're trolling, but I will respond once more, anyway, since I believe some of your thoughts basically coproratist crap and should be shown as such, lest some poor newb mistake you for a realist and be misled... besides, I have a few minutes during commerical ...

            the use of non-market strategies (i.e. legislative means) is very common in business. Businesses do it all the time. If you want that to change, time to work on your politicians!

            It may be common, bu

      • by jthill (303417) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:40PM (#15467619)
        venting on Slash about the end of society
        Who'd-a-thunk anybody could strawman that post?

        Have you never once wondered why almost no one objects to Google's ubiquitous ads?

        Perhaps you think it's because they bribe us with all those cool toys. I thought about that. I don't believe it.

        I think it's because they offer the ads. They're easy to ignore.

        You can skip right over them without even noticing.

        But, say the networks, if they can't shove ads in your face for twenty minutes an hour, and sue you for ignoring them, they'll go broke? They're running ads for companies that can't sell their product without bludgeoning people into insensibility. "Revolutionary new garden tool!!!! Makes a great gift!!!!". Christ, buddy, they're trying to sue us for not watching spam.

      • If the networks can no longer count on people watching at least some ads, how are they to pay for content? The day most people have "auto-commercial-skip" is the day advertisers stop paying to be a part of the program.

        I have a friend who inteneded to do a Master's thesis on television advertising. She had to abondon it. It turns out she could not watch television advertising, even when she wanted to, because her brain had been trained to auto-skip them.

        She is an extreme example, but we all mentally (or even
      • by Znork (31774) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @03:28PM (#15467834)
        "If the networks can no longer count on people watching at least some ads, how are they to pay for content?"

        Technological advances have cut costs across the whole industry, yet the monopoly protected businesses costs go on rising all the time. Have you considered the possibility that, in fact, the content is expensive because it's protected, not the other way around?

        Opensource has shown us software can be produced at a fraction of the cost. Music has been freely produced for centuries. We're seeing more and more freely produced approaching quality pictures.

        Maybe the networks dont have to charge consumers, maybe the producers need to damn well cut their coke habits down a notch.

        "Are you interested in paying even more for cable TV then?"

        Are you? Every serious analysis of the pricing shows that more protection equals _higher_ pricing. The day you're locked into a clockwork orange type setup in front of the TV, you can be damn sure the commercial break isnt ending. Ever.

        Almost every other economic sector has to play by free market rules; it's time for the IP sectors to do the same.
      • by jd (1658)
        Also known as the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC for short). It is arguably a subscription channel - if you have a television, you pay your subscription, in the form of the license fee - and it is 100% advert-free. When it's bad, it's pretty bad (but still better than any of the US cable channels at their worst). When it's good, it's damn good.

        How to translate this into the US system? Well, let's start with PBS, as that is the only public broadcasting service the US has. To be on-par, PBS would need

        • but it's still a tax

          No, there's the small difference that Coke and Pepsi can't put me in jail if I opt not to pay the "tax" by buying generic soft drinks instead.

          And if you think the US has a contentious political climate now, just wait until you put politicians in charge of all the funding for popular entertainment.

      • If the networks can no longer count on people watching at least some ads, how are they to pay for content?

        Doesn't bother the BBC :-)

        There is enough content on there to keep me busy for a while anyway...

      • by m874t232 (973431) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @06:05PM (#15468541)
        If the networks can no longer count on people watching at least some ads, how are they to pay for content?

        They aren't; they should go out of business if they can't figure out a new business model under changing market conditions. In fact, advertising supported network television is obsolete.

        but you need to put down emotion and maybe start coming up with reasonable alternative business models

        Why do I have to figure out a new business model for them? Or why should Congress artificially limit technology just so that outdated business models continue to work?

        Do you want Congress to pass laws against combustion engines so that the business model of hay producers and blacksmiths continues to work?
    • I tought the whole point of paying for cable was so you did not have to have/watch commercials?
    • So, for those not using some sort of tivo-like device, if they should step out to relieve themselves, is THAT theft?

      Sorry, but this is old news. Jamie Kellner has said previously [slashdot.org], that there is only "a certain amount of tolerance" for peeing.

      When asked if he considers people who go to the bathroom during a commercial to be thieves, he responded: "I guess there's a certain amount of tolerance for going to the bathroom. But if you formalize it and you create a device that skips certain second increments, yo

    • Has anyone read Player Piano by Vonnegut? Great book... pretty good story about technology and designed obsolescence, and the collapse therein of a society... I won't give away the ending,

      I think you just did.
    • Never read anything by Vonnegut, but I'll look that one up...

      Anyway, I have no confidence in PAC's, lobbyist, or letter writing campaigns. They (MPAA members) need to feel some pain.

      If you buy a CD, DVD, or go to a movie you are supporting these bastards. Just stop, and tell everyone you know that you've done so.

      For myself, until BOTH the DMCA and the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension are repealed, they'll not get a dime from me; I will cost them money at every opportunity. I'm not interested in giving
    • by Reaperducer (871695) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @05:04PM (#15468275)
      In the freedom-filled United States, if I purchase and legal DVD of The Incredibles at HMV and rip it to my iPod video, I have committed a crime.

      In Communist China, if I purchase a legal VCD of The Incredibles at HMV and rip it to my iPod video, I have not committed a crime.

      Guess which country got my money when I wanted The Incredibles on video.
  • Seriously... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    ...when is somebody going to call the RIAA and MPAA out on RICO charges?

    Either that, or disband them by force - let them be first against the wall when the revolution comes!

  • by Mr. Samuel (950418) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:59PM (#15467381)
    Crap like this is part of the reason why I avoid television altogether.

    For the moment, DRM and all of its related ridiculousness is the concern of geeks. We're the ones who are informed about the problems with DRM and the slippery slope that it's sent us down.

    If things continue to get worse (and there's no reason to believe they won't), it will get to the point where the general public will no longer line XYZ Company's pockets. And when you hit the bottom line, you suddenly start speaking that company's language.

  • is to actually involve yourself politically. If you just sit there and do nothing, the government/industry/lawyers will continue to infringe on your rights. Stop complaining in forums when stuff like this happens; VOTE or WRITE LETTERS or ORGANIZE A PROTEST *before* it happens and help ensure laws like this don't get passed.

    Otherwise, this article reads just like any other rant on the DMCA. Honestly, why can't anyone think beyond "all your stuff should be free!" mentality. It won't work. Music is a bussi
  • by Harmonious Botch (921977) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:02PM (#15467395) Homepage Journal
    I forget the exact quote - and the author - but someone once said that for every law that is passed there is a new business opportunity created in the black market. Fortunately, I'm close to Mexico. Place your orders here.
  • by RatBastard (949) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:02PM (#15467396) Homepage
    It was never about piracy. Domestic/consumer level piracy is so minor as to not make a difference in their bottom line. The real media pirates are the overseas DVD pressing plants that press legal DVDs by day and bootleg DVDs by night.

    This is about controlling what you watch and how you watch it. It's about protecting their advertising revenue. It' about making you buy a new copy of your favorite content every time they change formats.
  • by kaiser423 (828989) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:04PM (#15467404)
    The most tell-tale part:

    In 2003, 321 Studios, of St. Charles, Mo., launched a software product called DVD X Copy for these more typical DVD owners. The company built in aggressive measures to prevent piracy, including an antipiracy splash screen that appeared when viewing any copy and watermarks that would enable copies to be traced back to those who made them. The management at 321 Studios hoped that these cooperative measures would stave off Hollywood's wrath.

    The company was wrong. Before the DMCA, 321 Studios would have been on relatively safe legal ground. From the time of the Betamax case, U.S. courts had made it clear that copying devices were legal so long as they had any substantial lawful use. But the DMCA changed the rules. When the movie studios sued 321 Studios, the Hollywood contingent did not argue that any of their movies had been unlawfully copied. Instead, it said that the product circumvented a "technical protection measure," which in this case was the Content Scramble System (CSS) on DVDs.

    The CSS is the scheme Hollywood uses to encrypt movies on DVDs. Decryption requires a key, which manufacturers of DVD players obtain by signing a license with the DVD Copy Control Association, a consortium of movie studios, including Fox and Warner, and technology providers, such as Intel and Toshiba. This license, in turn, forbids licensed devices from making digital copies of DVD content or from offering playback modes that the studios disapprove of. (DVD recorders can copy only unencrypted digital material, such as home movies.) The licensing rules and DMCA put companies like 321 Studios in a quandary. If they signed the license in order to obtain the CSS decryption keys, the document prohibited them from using those keys in software capable of copying a DVD. If they didn't sign the license and forged ahead anyway, deriving the CSS keys on their own, they risked prosecution or a civil suit under the DMCA for circumventing the CSS. After consideration, 321 Studios opted to go forward without a license. The DMCA quickly washed away DVD X Copy. After the movie studios prevailed in court in 2004, manufacturers pulled DVD X Copy and similar ripping tools off the U.S. market.

    • CSS can barely be called encryption. The playback unit has the key hidden away in the firmware. It was security through obscurity and guess what? A screw up allowed a trivial hack to obtain the key and the entire CSS scheme was made useless (it was useless anyway as if you have the resources of a DVD pressing plant you don't need to decrypt a DVD to duplicate it.)

      CSS cannot be fixed but its replacement proposed for the new formats has an update mechanism whereby your player can have it's firmware updated

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:04PM (#15467406)
    By eliminating free trade.

    Given the choice, the customer would buy the "better" product. The "better" product, for the customer, would of course be the one that offers him more liberty.

    Now, devices that do that will vanish from the market because their companies are sued into oblivion. Result: Only crap can survive.

    The customer is left out of the loop, as the deciding mechanism which items should survive on the market, which is actually his responsibility and role in a free market.

    Free trade is dead. Welcome to the world of ... well, what exactly? In Communism, The Party decided what's good for you. What do you call a market where the producer, and him alone, dictates what you can and may buy?
    • Free trade is dead. Welcome to the world of ... well, what exactly? In Communism, The Party decided what's good for you. What do you call a market where the producer, and him alone, dictates what you can and may buy?

      Well, it would usually be a plutocracy, but luckyly for us we now have a much better term to call it: a corporatocracy [wikipedia.org] where laws are made by and for corps (yeah, it is a neologism and you won't find it in your dictionary). Corps being owned by the richests, it boils down to plutocracy in the

    • why "just not buying" cannot correct DRM [boingboing.net]

      modern DRM is a result of large scale collusion and/or caving by electronics manufacturers, standards groups, hollywood, the FCC, and many other private parties.

      who do you boycott? all of them? well then be prepared to live in a cave, eat by candle light, and hunt for food again.
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:04PM (#15467407) Journal
    but they can never stop people building their own, nor can they stop people from 'loaning' their CD/DVD/Whatever to their friends. The 'sneakernet P2P' service.

    All the *AA will ever manage to do is drive the sharing and fair use into a dark underground where they can never be able to find it without spending all of the money they do make. At that point, they will have to blame the loss of sales on their own crappy content, and their insane business practice of financially murdering any company that stood even half a chance of helping them find the 21st century.

    Yep, so by all means, lets all work together to help the *AA find the real world, and do all our sharing underground, off the net, so they have only themselves to blame. Who knows, it might work..... NOT

    Can't we just shoot them now?

    Seriously, this is just one more reason to have them outlawed for monopolistic and draconian business practices. I personally don't see anything wrong with making *AA groups illegal... If enough of us vote, well, you never know...
  • by Tablizer (95088) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:05PM (#15467411) Homepage Journal
    This is yet more evidence that we are not a democracy. These bans and discouragements are almost entirely the result of lobbying backed by big inc's with deep pockets. No citizen majority voted for these. "Silly company, voting is only for humans".
    • It's proof that our government is for sale is what it is.

      Which is pretty much the same thing as what you said.
    • In a democracy, the government decides everything. The people only have the power to change the government, but they cannot tell them what to do or what not to do.

      Democracy is the problem. Your vote is useless because everyone else ends up voting for the person out of two they hate the least. Elections are won based on what the general public thinks of the opposition. Real issues are lost behind a cloud of misdirection from both sides. Plus the media, who are being fed lots of money, are feeding the public
      • Voting for change is an incremental process. Each 4 years or so you get to choose one issue to vote on. If you are lucky, one of the two candidates that have a chance of winning actually agree with your point of view. Otherwise you are screwed.

        Some States have issue-based ballots where you vote on specific issues. The feds could copy this model.

        imagine how hard it would be not to be corrupted by the RIAA/MPAA.

        Right now it is *legal* for organizations like the **AA to give campaign donations. Perhaps tha
    • by ZachPruckowski (918562) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:50PM (#15467670)
      I'm not an economics major, but all the capitalists I've ever talked to seem to love the whole idea of "the market will solve". It's sort of their silver bullet to any arguement. So why don't we let the market solve? Capitalism is supposed to be dynamic. Companies have to accept changing roles and adapt to them, not fight them. Big companies have to be forced to accept that sometimes they "have to roll the hard 6" and take risks. There should be no corporate entitlement. No company is guaranteed to make money. That's what pisses me off about the RIAA and MPAA. They refuse to consider changing themselves to the world, they'd rather change the world to suit themselves. Granted, that might mean the end to $300 million production value blockbusters or fewer 1 hit wonders and more solid bands, but the world will cope, and the market can decide which model they like better.
      • I'm not an economics major, but all the capitalists I've ever talked to seem to love the whole idea of "the market will solve".

        That is only true in a free economy.

        Once the government gets involved and limits that freedom, things like black markets and "the underground" come up.

        The media companies are not interested in being part of a free economy, they are interested in control and big bucks, and they pay government officials regularly to ensure this lack of freedom.
  • GeekPAC (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:11PM (#15467449) Homepage Journal
    I keep saying we need to form GeekPAC, a so-called Political Action Committee (AKA "trade organization") to help counter the big lobbying from deep-pocket companies. Geekpac would also promote open source, reduce software patents, and make companies scientifically justify "shortage" before importing more H-1B's. If we don't protect our political ass, nobody will.
  • by Quixote (154172) * on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:13PM (#15467461) Homepage Journal
    Here's what will happen: a bunch of geeks will get their panties in a twist, maybe dash off an email or two to a few politicians, and then go back to their video games and D&D.

    Here's what needs to happen: put your money where your mouth is. Set up a PAC (Political Action Committee); fund it liberally so it has a lot of clout; and let it loose after the politicians who sponsor legislations which hurt consumers. In the end, it's all a matter of money. If you people are willing to put your money where your (loud) mouths are, then you can expect change for the better. Otherwise, just bend over and take it quietly from the *AA.

    EFF has its place; but it's not a PAC. You need a Consumer's PAC, with at least $10M+/year of budget, to have a serious impact.

    • I'm willing to hand 5k a year to that idea. But who's going to do the same?

      I can't fund 10M a year by myself. That's exactly the problem we're facing. We're many, but we're not organized. Together, we'll probably have more money on our hands than the RIAA and its henchmen combined. But they have a structure behind them, and money too.

      And how many of us will think "Well, 5k a year... with that money, I can just go and buy the DVDs/Games/whatever I want..."
  • by Newer Guy (520108) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:17PM (#15467482)
    The United States has been on the slippery slope towards becoming a third world country technology wise for over a decade! Corporations have virtually unfettered access to our elected officials, who bend over for the ca$h they fill their bank accounts with. THIS is the reason for what this article speaks of - We have the best Govt. that money can buy!

    Consider this - though the (analog) VCR was invented by Ampex, a USA corporation (now defunct I believe), not a SINGLE VCR was ever built in this country! I don't believe that there is a single motherboard or other computer part that can claim to be 100% USA made either.

    We are a country of takers and users and Congress leads the pack in taking! WHEN (not if) our style of living falls flat on its face, we'll have no one but ourselves to blame!
    • I had a Brother word processor, made in something like 1991, and it had a sticker "Made in USA from domestic parts" or something like that. Intel or AMD (I think) may have a few plants in the US of A.
  • by Budenny (888916) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:18PM (#15467490)
    Olson was puzzled why economic growth was faster in the South, after it lost the civil war, and also why France in the 19c after having had three or four revolutions and two catastrophic war time defeats had grown faster than Britain under stable rule. He concluded and showed that long periods of stability allow vested interests to accumulate anti competitive practices which enrich them at the expense of the whole.

    We are looking at a classic example of this. Consider those who profit from the DMCA. Olson's insight was that it is in their interests to impose costs on society as a whole which are many times, maybe 100s of times, greater than what they themselves receive, as long as what they receive is more than they otherwise would.

    Let interest groups carry on behaving like this for year after year, and gradually the costs imposed on society become so great that economic growth slows or stops totally.

    Then, only a dramatic structural change, abolition of the accretions, will help. The good news is, it helps dramatically.

    In an ideal world, the various Federal Agencies would counterbalance such interests, because they, being nominated by people elected on a broader basis, will have it in their interests to represent the country as a whole. However, special interests are ingenious and find ways through, and this only works by fits and starts.

    It can be done. Thatcher did it in the UK. Democracies can do it, when they see the need. This is the good news, the bad news is, it has to get pretty bad first!
  • by alfs boner (963844) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:19PM (#15467493) Homepage Journal
    The DMCA hurts consumers in more than one way.

    First, it hurts the end user or consumer by imposing government restrictions on how we use things that we "own". Or more to the point, we no longer own things that we buy.

    It also hurts us that we don't see competition. This means higher prices, collusion, price gouging, and all the other nasties that come along with pseudo-monopolies.

    We are further harmed by the lack of new jobs and opportunities. Real growth for our country is not in the 1000+ employee multinational corporations, but in the small companies employing 25 or less employees. The DMCA seriously harms innovation and prohibits companies that are more truly American companies from growing, making money, paying taxes, and employing more workers.

    And we get the short end of the stick when these companies no longer need to innovate from the unnatural monopoly caused by the DMCA protects them from newer, more competent competitors. Not only do we not see the innovative, improved, products from fresher companies, we also see outdated technology from the companies that have lost the need to improve in a free market system.

  • by Zadaz (950521) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:23PM (#15467512)
    This is just obvious. In fact this is what the DCMA intended to do. Just like other laws put hitmen (mostly) out of business and Coke had to stop putting coke in the Coke.

    My question is, if this is such a big deal, what are you doing about it? If every person who was pissed off about this gave $100 to a lobby to fight it, we'd have it overturned by next week. Imagine the political power that could be brought against the MPAA/RIAA if we took our DVD/CD money and spent it on lobbyists...

    (voting and writing to representatives is for wimps)

    • there are several multimillion dollar lobbying groups which have been lobbying agianst the DMCA.

      Further, over the years they have sollicited and received support from such powerful groups as the ACU, the HRRC, Intel, Microsoft, Apple, and a sleu of other tech companies.

      The obcene amount of power wielded by hollywood lobbyists, and the fact that several congressmen are directly receiving residual income from royalties(mary bono for one), continues to prevent the overturning of this special interest sell out.
  • by Marcos Eliziario (969923) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:30PM (#15467550) Homepage Journal
    Really,
    Microsoft still is evil, and I know that they happily jumped into the DRM wagon too. But when I compare today's news with the past I get a chill. Our rights are being ripped in a astonishing fast pace, and hollywood is suceeding in making things that even Microsoft never dreamed off.
    The sad part is that they are likely to succeed; The average people don't understand the ramifications of those laws, and when they question their representatives, they are easily convinced by some crappy explanation in the line that this kind of laws helps to prevent terrorism, or save americans jobs or something like that.
    But the truth is that RIAA are a threat to capitalism and free market. They are blocking inovation, subverting the law, and turning law-abiding citizens into criminals without they even knowing that.
    We have to stop them. Know! Maybe it's time for another Boston Tea's party.

  • As a consumer I prefer flexibility. The more options I have for using a purchase the more likely I am to buy it. In what other industry exists the mentality that the more restrictions that are placed on products the better off the industry will be? Imagine if you could only buy a particular brand and style of shoes to go with a particular brand and style of suit or a particular brand and size of nails to use with a particular make of hammer.

    Everything that the entertainment industry is suggesting is causin

  • ReplayTV's TiVo-like devices which featured sharing capabilities, along with automatic ad skipping; the company was sued to bankruptcy, and the reincarnated device supported neither sharing nor ad skipping

    Whenever I use a VCR to record something, I really enjoy the fast forward to skip ads. In fact, I usually prefer using the VCR than watching the thing live for that very reason...

    So I wonder. Does Tivo prevent you to make a fast-forward? Otherwise, wtf about this ad skipping capability... no one is gonn

  • by jbssm (961115) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:59PM (#15467714)
    I would really like to thank you all.

    Now I can sleep well in the evening knowing that after a day full of downloading copyrighted music and movies, not paying a cent for them and still making copies of what turns out not to be junk to give to my friends ... I'm doing my role to make this world a better place to live.

  • Suffocate them (Score:4, Interesting)

    by suv4x4 (956391) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @03:35PM (#15467877)
    Funding lobby organisations (i.e. to buy lobby politicians)? Voting differently? Sending letters, phoning them? Rioting?

    Forget it. It doesn't work. One thing works: stop buying and suffocate them. They are nothing without money. Money gave them power, no money, no power.

    There's a mountain of evidence anyone could easily understand about how MPAA and RIAA make our life worse and are detrimental to our society.

    We need people with marketing experience to help us pick out the major pain points MPAA/RIAA have created in the last years and bring them to the society in an easy to understand manner.

    We need to spread the information to the casual folks so they know, and stop funding MPAA/RIAA, by not buying their products. We have to clearly point out the companies behind MPAA/RIAA, they should not be left anonymous.

    I'm willing to participate if someone can organise a campaign with web dev/graphics & print design. Yup, I'm actually willing to do something. Anyone else?
  • by Reaper9889 (602058) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @03:55PM (#15467971)
    Then I saw this story I could nearly hear Robert Heinlein saying this: There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or a corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years , the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped ,or turned back, for their private benefit.
  • TFA states the following:

    One example is ReplayTV's TiVo-like devices which featured sharing capabilities, along with automatic ad skipping; the company was sued to bankruptcy, and the reincarnated device supported neither sharing nor ad skipping.

    I don't think SonicBlue actually went into bankruptcy, and its ReplayTV product was purchased by Digital Networks North America Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of D&M Holdings U.S., Inc. They own things like the Denon, Marantz, and Boston Acoustics brands as well as Rio and ReplayTV.

    SonicBlue 5000-series models supported internet and local program sharing and both manual (Show/Nav) and automatic commercial skipping as well as a 30-second FF button (QuickSkip). The commercial skipping features navigate between marks which are created at the start and end of commercial advertising blocks that the unit detects and marks at show recording time (it isn't just a simple time skip). Those units still perform as they did when initially purchased.

    Current 5500-series models still mark commercial blockss while recording and still fully support both Show/Nav (manual movement between block markers) and QuickSkip, so manual commercial skipping and the 30-second FF is still present, but the automatic commercial skip has been removed. Also, the internet sharing capabilities were removed.

    I believe a 5500-series ReplayTV can be made to temporarily regain both automatic commercial skipping and internet sharing capabilities if the disk is reimaged with a 5000-series formatted disk, but I can't personally vouch for that (I own a 5000-series box myself).

  • Dream. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by trudyscousin (258684) * on Sunday June 04, 2006 @04:59PM (#15468251)
    Besides moaning on Slashdot about this topic, I gave $100 to the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 2000. They're a lobby, of a sort. Our lobby. I suppose not "every person who was pissed off about this gave $100," as another poster put it, because by now, we're still wallowing in the fallout from the DCMA.

    Last year, I wrote to Senator Dianne Feinstein (apparently the best California lawmaker money can buy, given that she's the progenitor, all or in part, of so much of the anti-consumer legislation we're seeing) and voiced my concerns. I got a boilerplate reply implying my concerns were without merit, and that the preservation of movies and television and recordings were of utmost importance.

    So, I'm taking matters into my own hands, inasmuch as I cannot form them into more than tiny fists against the RI- and MPAA hegemonies. I am canceling my digital and premium cable services, reverting back to basic. When a commercial comes on, I already turn down the volume and go to the can. Or go for a snack. I'll be sure to buy my CDs second-hand, and I'm not buying from the iTMS any longer. (For the love of Pete, people, don't rent your music!) I have no plans to buy new video equipment; my 1989 Sony 21" Trinitron will be my last video monitor when it breaks down, because what will I be able to buy other than a DRM-hobbled flatscreen? If I buy HD-DVD or Blu-Ray equipment, it'll only be for computer storage, that is, if the rights I currently enjoy with my computer still exist. If I go to the movies, it'll be at a Century or Camera cinema instead of one belonging to AMC, because AMC sees nothing wrong with foisting commercials on my girlfriend and I after I've paid twenty bucks for us to see a film. And when the fall quarter comes along at my local community college this year, I'm digging my saxophones out of the closet and signing up for concert band. Or perhaps the local non-profit production company's pit orchestra. I probably didn't touch on everything one could do, but, you get the idea.

    If enough people did all that, perhaps those such as Jamie Kellner (he of the infamous not-watching-commercials-is-stealing quote) or Thomas Hesse ("Most people, I think, don't even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?") would have no alternative but to rent themselves out as urinals.
  • Here are their names (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mapkinase (958129) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @05:15PM (#15468315) Homepage Journal
    You can boycott the companies that are promoting those luddite acts or vote against Reps and Senators, that are on their payroll:

    "In an attempt to put an end to all that, Hollywood has drafted the Digital Transition Content Security Act, introduced as H.R. 4569 in December 2005 by Reps. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) and John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.). This legislation, better known as the Analog Hole Bill, would impose a design mandate on any "analog video input device that converts into digital form an analog video signal.""

    The RIAA is urging the FCC and Congress to impose design restrictions on any future HD Radio recorders to stave off a successful new mutation: a digital hard disk recorder that allows easy and flexible archiving of radio broadcasts. As similar devices have appeared for satellite radio, the recording industry has also begun pushing for legislation to restrict them, such as S. 2644, the Platform Equity and Remedies for Rights Holders in Music (PERFORM) Act of 2006, introduced by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Cal.).

    Hollywood lobbyists actually convinced the FCC to impose broadcast flag regulations in 2003, but a U.S. Court of Appeals found that the Commission lacked the authority to regulate the internal workings of televisions. Hollywood is now asking Congress to give the FCC that legal authority by passing the Audio Broadcast Flag Licensing Act of 2006, sponsored by Rep. Michael Ferguson (R-N.J.)."
  • by v1 (525388) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @08:02PM (#15469032) Homepage Journal
    about how whole classes of devices were eliminated, and how others won't even see the light of day as a result of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

    Ahh you just need to keep in mind that the whole goal of the DMCA is to enrichen the.. oh wait that's not it.

    encourage innovation. Ya that's it. Help make new technologies flourish, like um.. this one they're crushing now.

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