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Bill Would Outlaw Digital Receiver Recorders 487

mjdroner writes "ZD-Net has the latest on a sweeping telecom bill in the Senate. The bill provides no support for net neutrality. The bill does, however, include a provision to authorize the FCC to outlaw digital receivers that record broadcasts. The article states that those receivers would be replaced with devices that treat anything with an audio broadcast flag as copy-protected."
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Bill Would Outlaw Digital Receiver Recorders

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  • you know the drill (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dbrower ( 114953 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:14PM (#15249040) Journal
    send rational letters and email to your reps; not that they will listen, but so they know folks are paying attention. -dB
    • Just as long as they aren't paying for such crap-tastic hardware.
      May it die the death of Divx, or whatever that lobotomized thing Circuit City was pushing was called.
    • by fishdan ( 569872 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:24PM (#15249141) Homepage Journal
      For those who didn't read the article: the bill does say ...Americans should enjoy the right to share recorded broadcast TV over their home networks, make "short excerpts" available over the Internet, and that news programming generally should not be flagged...

      Holy Crap! They actualy agree that I should be able to share recorded TV shows over my home networks? That has got to be the most reasonable thing I've seen from the gov't in AGES. It's got to be a mistake on their part right?

      • by soupdevil ( 587476 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:29PM (#15249176)
        They agree you should be able to, but they want to be able to monitor it, and charge you for it.
      • How about this. 100 people make a disjoint set of short excerpts of some movie/tv show and share it over the Internet and then a system to automatically download all these excerpts!

      • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:40PM (#15249258) Homepage Journal
        "Holy Crap! They actualy agree that I should be able to share recorded TV shows over my home networks?"

        Yes, but, only on 'blessed' hardware sold to you by the corporations....and should these store bought appliances allow you to do so, under full DRM, then yes you can do it. I would, however, be a bit apprehensive that you would be allowed to do that with your store bought hardware. And do remember, it will be against the DMCA to hack around this.

        Of course this completely wipes out the the DIY market....a good MythTV box would be great for what you want to do, but will be against the law to sell you hardware you could build yourself to do what you want...


    • I would like to point out that a rational letter will go much further than an email, as it shows true dedication and effort on your part, whereas anyone can fire off an email in five minutes.
      • I would like to point out that a rational letter will go much further than an email

        My Rep's web page implies the opposite: he suggests that your snail mail may be substantially delayed due to increased mail "security".

        • by hazem ( 472289 )
          My Rep's web page implies the opposite: he suggests that your snail mail may be substantially delayed due to increased mail "security".

          That's because he/she really doesn't want to hear from you.

          1. Send an e-mail because a letter in the mail will be slow
          2. Send a letter by mail because we'll ignore an e-mail

          It's a win-win because they've effectively stopped two channels of communication.
    • by Rob the Bold ( 788862 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:59PM (#15249395)
      You might consider including a "contribution". They consider requests made without cash to be shoplifting (or worse, piracy).
    • Without cash or hard drugs in those envelopes, you might as well send nothing at all.
  • freaking MPAA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:14PM (#15249046) Homepage Journal
    Every time this legislation comes up it gets thrown out. Why doesn't the MPAA embrace technology rather than buying off Congressmen and sneaking this line item into every damn piece of proposed legislation?
    • Re:freaking MPAA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:20PM (#15249101) Homepage Journal
      Because if you swing the bat enough times eventually you'll hit the ball.
      • Because if you swing the bat enough times eventually you'll hit the ball.

        I don't follow the sport but even I know that's not true in baseball. The batter cannot leave his box, but the pitcher doesn't have to pitch to the box.

        Now cricket, I admit to having no idea about whether the bowler has bowl anywhere near the batter or wicket.
    • to keep buying congresspeople off. If they keep trying one day they will win.
    • Re:freaking MPAA (Score:2, Insightful)

      by john83 ( 923470 )
      Why doesn't the MPAA embrace technology rather than buying off Congressmen and sneaking this line item into every damn piece of proposed legislation?
      This way requires less original thought.
    • My question to you would be: why would the MPAA embrace technology, when instead they can just buy off Congressmen and sneak this line item into every damn piece of proposed legislation?

      Sure, it hasn't passed so far. All they have to do is keep trying.
    • Because they believe that buying politicians is cheaper than the amount of money they'd lose.
    • Re:freaking MPAA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by enitime ( 964946 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:25PM (#15249143)
      Because if they lose, they can always try again.

      Laws don't get repealed. They only need to win once.

    • Re:freaking MPAA (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      good question. Seems the MPAA is a bunch of money-hungry scum-sucking lawyers and I doubt any one of them in the corporate office was ever a professional musician. Otherwise they might consider doing something like actually representing the interests of musicians and, oh, maybe paying them for their work instead of paying a heard lawyers to sue people.

      Last I checked, corporate lawyers are bottom-feeders known for filing lawsuits especially against those who beat their respective organization to the latest
    • Re:freaking MPAA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Random Utinni ( 208410 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:42PM (#15249270)
      The problem as I see it is twofold:

      First, the system we have tends to a two-party system []. The problem is that there are more than two issues. So in voting for any candidate, you are forced to prioritize the issues, and vote for the candidate that represents your viewpoint on the issues most important to you. The downside is that smaller issues, which may still be *very* important, will often fall by the wayside. With multi-party systems [], there is enough choice and variation in candidates, that you can find someone who matches your views and priorities fairly closely, and that candidate will still have a decent chance of getting elected. In the U.S., we don't have that, and it's unlikely to change anytime soon.

      Second, we have the problem of interest groups. Normally, it's not a problem. The idea behind special interests is that you may have a group of people for whom a particular issue is *very* important. Since the group isn't large enough numerically to influence election outcomes (due to problem #1, above), they lobby the elected official to try and persuade that official of the merits of their cause. The problem is that the only people joining special interest groups are the small special interests. The vast majority of the population got left behind in the program. If you're an elected official, the only people talking to you are the special interest groups... so after awhile you begin to believe them; there's no one out there arguing the other side. It's the joy of what's called "the silent majority".

      So, what's to be done? Well, for starters, we need to provide an alternate viewpoint in government. The easiest way to do this is to contact your local representative or senator. They *do* respond. Even if it's only a form letter from a staffer. I know, I used to be one. Don't try email campaigns... they don't get any real respect (too easy to automate). Letters and phone calls do work; what's required is volume. If enough people show an interest, your rep's *will* listen.

      Second, we could try to start our own lobbying group. Give a concentrated voice to the technically literate population... someone to say "I represent 10^N voters in your state who all feel very strongly about X". Any takers? Let me know [mailto].
      • Re:freaking MPAA (Score:4, Informative)

        by EvanED ( 569694 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [denave]> on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @06:14PM (#15249528)
        Second, we could try to start our own lobbying group. Give a concentrated voice to the technically literate population

        You don't need to do that. It exists [].
      • Preferential Voting (Score:5, Informative)

        by wall0159 ( 881759 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @06:37PM (#15249691)
        I think you missed the benefits of 'preferential voting'. Essentially it means:

        'I'll vote for this guy, but if he doesn't get in then
        I'll vote for her, but if she doesn't get in then
        I'll vote for them.. etc'

        To use an example from the previous US election, one could vote for (say) Ralph Nader, but preference John Kerry. (Yeah, yeah, so I'm left-of-centre). With preferential voting, you're not wasting your vote, even though Nader will probably not get in. Rather, you're sending Kerry a message that you don't really approve of his policies, but just prefer him to the Other Guy. The crux is, that your vote still goes to Kerry.

        Another benefit, is that minor parties can allocate their own preferences. So one could just vote for (say) Nader, and he could negotiate his preferences with the major parties. This would give him leverage in the policy development of the major parties in the lead-up to the election. It also makes people more inclined to vote for minor parties, because they know it's not a 'wasted vote'.

        That's the system we have in Australia, and I think it works really well. I think it's absolutely essential if we're to encourage multiple parties (even if they're minor parties).
      • Re:freaking MPAA (Score:3, Interesting)

        by houghi ( 78078 )
        The problem is that there are more than two issues. So in voting for any candidate, you are forced to prioritize the issues,

        Simplufied explained:
        Your parents tell you to choose.
        1) A cat or a dog.
        2) Linux or Windows

        What you would like is a Linux and a dog. However, you must choose A) cat and Linux or B) dog and Windows.
        Imagine that you think having Linux is more important, you suddenly are stuck with a cat.

        Not only that, it will be explained that you do not like dogs, because othersie you would have choosen
  • Boy I'm glad there's more than one country that sells these... Equally glad that the FCC doesn't have range on those countries and my uncle Tito can import ANYTHING.
  • Bill again! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:14PM (#15249048)
    Bill Would Outlaw Digital Receiver Recorders

    Is there anything Bill wouldn't either outlaw or make compulsory? I'm getting really sick of that guy.
  • by slashname3 ( 739398 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:15PM (#15249053)
    So the FCC is going to replace my mythtv box with a new system? Are they planning to do this just after they confiscate all the firearms from the public?
    • You don't worry about the future much, do you?
      • You don't worry about the future much, do you?

        There is not much you can do about the future. They keep heaping shit on you until you die. That is just the way it is. The likely hood that they would be able to pass such a thing is minimal. And if they do there is no way they would go door to door searching for such things. And they sure as hell would not REPLACE them, the costs would be to much.

        The article itself is not much more than a troll.
    • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:19PM (#15249088) Homepage Journal
      It's easier to confiscate electronics than firearms. Well, less risky, anyway.
      • by slashname3 ( 739398 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:22PM (#15249113)
        If/when they come knocking on my door looking for my mythtv box they will wish they had confiscated the guns first. Without doing that first it will be much more dangerous to try and confiscate the electronics.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government. --George Washington

          Our government can't perform a mass seizure because the people are armed. Instead, they will ban the sale of the recorders and perform a few minor spot arrests to keep people on their toes. What's with the GW quote? I thought it was cool!

        • No idea why this was modded "funny", the guy makes a very insightful point. Without basic protections, we'd be free at the whim of the government. When the people have those basic protections however, the government governs at the whim of the people. The difference is profound.

          Note to those who don't get it: you don't get it. That's fine, but you're wrong.
    • Nope, this comes first - mythtv users are the "dry run" exercise in preparation for the subsequent firearm seizure.
    • by LunaticTippy ( 872397 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:23PM (#15249130)
      I'm guessing it'd work like video capture. You'd have a really tough time finding equipment that isn't broken by design.

      When I was getting a capture card just for composite video I simply gave up on finding one that didn't respect macrovision. I've got some tapes that aren't out on dvd that I'd like to use, and I had to buy a box (I got a time base corrector) to capture them.

      So if/when this passes, expect new tuner cards to have broken drivers. There will probably be a way around it, but the casual user will be unable to build/buy a unencumbered dvr.

    • I've got it,

      The ultimate "You can't touch this gadget Mr. Congressman!"

      A combination "Fuzzy kitten/Solar cell/Colt 45/Digital Receiver & Recorder/Bible (insert your own holy book here)".

      There's something for everyone...And who says a do-it-all gadget cannot be successful.

  • by Fulcrum of Evil ( 560260 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:17PM (#15249071)

    "These measures will help assure that the information superhighway does not turn into a red light district," Exon said at the time. "It will help protect children from being exposed to obscene, lewd, or indecent messages."

    Yeah, that worked out so well.

  • Sing along! (Score:5, Funny)

    by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:18PM (#15249078) Homepage Journal
    The Fellas At The Freakin' FCC Song

    Peter: They will clean up all your talking in a matter such as this
    Brian: They will make you take a tinkle when you want to take a p*ss
    Stewie: And they'll make you call fellatio a trouser-friendly kiss
    Peter, Brian, & Stewie: It's the plain situation!
    There's no negiotiation!
    Peter: With the fellows at the freakin FCC!

    Brian: They're as stuffy as the stuffiest of the special interest groups...
    Peter: Make a joke about your bowels and they order in the troops
    Stewie: Any baby with a brain could tell them everybody poops!
    Peter, Brian, & Stewie: Take a tip, take a lesson!
    You'll never win by messin'
    Peter: With the fellas at the freakin' FCC

    And if you find yourself with some you sexy thing
    You're gonna have to do her with your ding-a-ling
    Cause you can't say penis!

    So they sent this little warning they're prepared to do the worst
    Brian: And they stuck it in your mailbox hoping you could be co-erced
    Stewie: I can think of quite another place they should have stuck it first!

    Peter, Brian, & Stewie: They may just be neurotic
    Or possible psychotic
    They're the fellas at the freakin FCC!
  • Simple solution... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:21PM (#15249109)
    Vote in a Democratic Congress this fall.

    The President will veto anything they put together and they'll refuse to pass anything the president tries to put through.

    With luck, we won't have any more new laws until 2008.
    • 2008? I'd really be hoping to prevent any bills being passed until at least late January 2009.
    • by kaufmanmoore ( 930593 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:29PM (#15249178)
      The **AA pays the dems off too.
    • by Wylfing ( 144940 ) <brian&wylfing,net> on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:38PM (#15249239) Homepage Journal
      Vote in a Democratic Congress this fall.

      The President will veto anything they put together and they'll refuse to pass anything the president tries to put through.

      With luck, we won't have any more new laws until 2008.

      I don't know if this was meant to be funny, even though it is and got modded that way, but it is also in fact quite perceptive. This is the way things are supposed to work in the USA. The government is supposed to be bogged down in all kinds of inefficienes so that they are too sluggish to impose any tyranny over the people. Any government naturally attracts the power-hungry. The neat trick here is that we make it hard for them to actually get anything accomplished.

      • How I desperately wish the FFs had gone further with that design. Should have required 3/4 agreement to pass anything, and 7/8ths to override veto.
    • yeah, that worked well with the DMCA didn't it?

      (hint: it was signed into law by clinton)

    • by cayenne8 ( 626475 )
      "Vote in a Democratic Congress this fall."

      You know...I don't think that will work either. Best solution, is to wipe the slate clean with both houses and executive one in office can be re-elected....start from scratch.

      Not only would it get rid of the status quo of corruption and non-representation of the people, but, alternate competing parties would stand a chance.

      Of course as long as we are making 'wishes'....I'd like to have a pony.


    • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) * on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @06:34PM (#15249670)
      Vote in a Democratic Congress this fall.

      You mean the same ones who tried to blokc a bill recently because it did not grant the FCC enough power to regulate telecom net neutrality issues? The same FCC that wants the broadcast flag (as evidenced by this bill).

      The FCC should not have any more power, period. Vote for Senators who do not want to give the FCC power, REGARDLESS of what party they hail from.

      Vote based on the individual, not the party.
    • by johnny cashed ( 590023 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @06:41PM (#15249712) Homepage
      But you don't understand. If there was no Democratic party, the Republican party would have need to invent them. They are two sides of the same coin. I also love it when people talk about third parties. We don't need third parties, we need third, forth, fifth and sixth parties. The more the better. The Democrats and Republicans are just playing us with the good cop/bad cop routine. They are still not on the average joe's side. They are out there for the moneyed interests. The two party system is just that, a system. A method of aggregating power while at the same time giving the illusion of checks and balances. They make everthing a false dichotomy. Society is too complex for a two party system.
    • Doesn't work. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pavon ( 30274 )
      A while back I read a study reported on in the economist, that looked at what the effects of the legislative branch being controlled by one party and the executive branch by another. The only legislation that it curtailed were big controversial changes (say socialisation of health care). However, it was also noticed that pork spending increased dramatically, apparently because it was used as a bargaining chip to get one side to agree to the others legislation. I'll post a link to the study later if I can fi
  • Change the stream format from audio to "something else" and decode it on the other end.

    What it is redefined as could be as vague as "scientific data" or "random text"

    Just a thought.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:25PM (#15249144)
    Anyone who voted Republicrat or Democan, shut up and go sit on the sidelines.

    You've already demonstrated that you want an intrusive, activist government, you have no room to complain now. You ASKED FOR THIS.

    If you don't want this, vote straight Libertarian this election and every election thereafter.

    A vote against a Libertarian candidate is
    a vote to abolish the Constitution itself.
    • Thinking about voting Libertarian? Check out Critiques of Libertarianism [] before you drink the cool-aide
      • All of that looks like anti-libertarian propaganda that is mostly illogical.

        Here is a better suggestion; read some descriptions of libertarianism (neither from libertarian evangelists nor libertarian haters), and think for yourself.

    • The libertarian party seems to embrace intellectual protectionism as much as anyone else. Look at many of their candidates and leaders to know for sure that they are as gung ho on it as Dems or Reps.
      • You see, that's because fencing something off and keeping others from using it is not "initiation of force." It's a natural right to keep others from using something you own. So any force you use to protect your property is automatically "retaliatory force."

        Hey, if I want to claim that I own all the air on the planet and suck it up into some kind of space hoover and charge all you poor suckers for breathing it, that's my right. And if you try to stop me you'll be commiting the cardinal sin of "initiating fo
  • by kitzilla ( 266382 ) <> on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:26PM (#15249154) Homepage Journal

    When some clever corporation figures out a way to turn a profit by sticking babies on pikes, a pliant US Congress stands ready to make it legal -- and to keep private citizens from doing it themselves.

    All the actual baby piking will be done overseas by non-union workers, of course.

  • by deathcloset ( 626704 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:28PM (#15249168) Journal
    You know, I'm starting to think that broadcast television, motion pictures and recorded music might not be worth all this trouble.

    Perhaps it's time to start enjoying live plays and musical performances again. Seriously, my digital entertainment is video games and documentaries. I am starting to think the unthinkable: maybe I can live without TV and Movies.

    People will continue to create entertainment and education for download right? Oh, right...Unless network neutrality is abolished and my provider decides that I can't access this freely created content.

    I wonder, is it time that I start figuring out how to set up a HAM-based Internet connection?
    • I recently went 3 years with no tv / movies. It was fine. Now I watch some tv, but mostly just in the background while I read or play games. It's pretty easy to live without TV. The wierdest part was not knowing any of the common cultural references. People would talk about shows or commercials and I'd not seen any of them.
    • Much of the good recorded music (most pop pre 1980) was recorded by people who were playing live 6 nights a week. Since midi and protools pop music has been made by programmers - we literally have machines that do that now. I like modern sound sculpture music, but the lack of live music means the dying off of a skill set. Without hours on the bandstand, there is no Louis Armstrong, Bird, Motown, Beatles.
      "Unplug the jukebox, do us all a favor
      That music's lost its taste
      Try another flavor
      Live music"
  • of PCI tuner cards (e.g., ATI All-in-wonder TV) that have already been sold and installed in PC's? Do I need to stage the destruction of my PC to keep the blackshirts from coming for me in the dead of night?

    Just askin', is all.

    • That's all water under the bridge.

      As long as the new cards being sold are compliant the MPAA will be happy. The old ones will break or become obsolete soon enough. If they're smart they'll make it a felony to buy or sell these and troll on ebay.

      I'm sure there will be a way around it. Driver mods or offshore software. That doesn't mean it isn't evil.

  • "The Inducement to Read Act" because I know they have already exceeded my threshold for expropriating money from my wallet. One could also try writing congress, but I've yet to receive a reply when doing so, even from a staff flack.

    It's interesting that illegal immigrants have better organizational skills than US citizens. Actually, it's more pathetic than interesting. We have lost our republic.
  • by poopie ( 35416 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:31PM (#15249189) Journal
    That's what the history books will record. Corporate interests stifled freedom and creativity so much that the companies pushing this CRIPPLED new technology actually were not able to find buyers and more and more ANALOG-based innovation continued.

    Expect to see more digital-to-analog converters, more people paying *LESS* to get ANALOG cable TV, more people less willing to pay extra for HDTV, more people happy to have analog-based PVRs and not have their recorded sports games automatically erased, or see messages from pay movie channels that state this content cannot be recorded.

    I, for one, am in NO HURRY WHATSOEVER to purchase any digital tv devices.

    We need a cool catchy name for Analog TV - something like Fair use TV or unencumbered TV.

    We need a crummy name for HDTV - something like Restricted use TV.

    The MPAA is ready to fall on their swords for forced digital rights - they seem to not see any way to profit that doesn't involve controlling every device between them and me. I'll be damned if I'm going to give up control of my devices to the MPAA or RIAA. ... UNLESS THEY GIVE ME AN EXTRA DEVICE FOR FREE. WHEN THE MPAA PROVIDES MY FLATSCREEN, TUNER, AND PVR AND ALL SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE, I'LL GLADLY ACCEPT THEIR CONTENT UNDER THEIR TERMS.
  • by popo ( 107611 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:32PM (#15249194) Homepage

    Would that be like, "a computer"?

    Newsflash: There's no hardware unique to a TiVo.

    They'd have to outlaw PC's for this bill to work.

    Let them try. It will be a death sentence for every commercially manufactured, dedicated PVR. And the birth of some truly wonderful opensource software.

    Sounds good to me.
  • by fortinbras47 ( 457756 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:33PM (#15249201)
    I don't know about you, but I am HIGHLY suspicious of the government's ability to do anything sensical when it comes to technology, and I can think of nothing worse than a law being passed to correct some theoretical problem that DOESN'T CURRENTLY EXIST and might never exist.

    What would happen if Congress tried to pass some Net Neutrality Law? Since there isn't any kind of ACTUAL problem now, I'm sure the bill would undoubtedly screw stuff up through the law of unintended consequences.

    Congress would insert all kinds of special provisions that would benefit some group at the expense of others, all kinds of new technology would become illegal, and lawsuits would proliferate. Who knows what would happen, the point is that when congress acts on technology (eg. the DMCA) they are likely to create a huge mess and things better be PRETTY DAMN bad before Congress can do more good than harm.

  • Question... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lobo ( 10944 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:33PM (#15249206) Homepage
    Does anyone have suggestions of a device that will do this before the law is passed?
  • I hate to say this, But the end is near for media as we know it. This will eventually pass. And when it does pass, then it gives ground for breakage of the Sony vs Paramount law that allowed us to have a Betamax or VHS deck in our homes. Once they can successfully get that law overturned, then anyone caught with contraband such as recorded movies on tapes, or disks that are not commerially produced, will be subject to jail time and a substantial monitary damage award. If you think things are bad now, wait u
  • I would be concerned if there were something worth recording anymore.
  • by MushMouth ( 5650 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:42PM (#15249267) Homepage
    Bruce Perens warned us all this would happen 6 years ago in his "Napster Hurts Free Software []" essay.

  • Something about MythTV and my cold dead fingers, but I just can't seem to remember how it goes.
  • Am I the only one that thought the article summary was talking about this Bill []?
  • Not CopyRight to the Freedom of Speech

    Congress needs to get a backbone and know the difference. If people are speaking out on public broadcasting network, and FCC blocks out the ability to spread the content in any form or shape regardless it's copyrighted or not, it's discarding the freedom of speech.

    Nobody owns your words and your mouth, so shall nobody own your ear.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    As someone who doesn't illegally steal material, I'm starting to find all this DRM stuff annoying.

    For example: I bought the latest Nine Inch Nails album With Teeth, only to discover that you can only play it on a PC through a proprietary software player (assuming your OS can run it, of course). That player sucks, and does annoying things like messing up my computer's volume levels. I haven't tried personally, but I'm reliably informed that it won't work in some car CD players as well.

    The point here is t

  • by gillbates ( 106458 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:52PM (#15249340) Homepage Journal

    I don't mean to troll, but it seems to me that if the MPAA and RIAA had their way, we wouldn't listen to music or watch tv at all. At least not in the manner to which we've become accustomed.

    Why would I bother buying an expensive recorder if it couldn't record all of the content I might like to record? Why would I watch tv or listen to the radio if I couldn't later share the experience with friends and family?

    And I'm less likely to watch tv in the first place if I can't share a funny clip with friends later. Take the Simpsons, for example. Often times I'll want to replay a clip of Homer doing something stupid for a friend. But if the MPAA has their way, I wouldn't be able to do this.

    Or take talk radio. My wife and I were riding along listening to talk radio when a traffic situation caused her to focus on the road. So naturally, she's lost a little bit of context and remarked that she'd like to rewind the radio to catch what she missed. Of course, you can't do this now with a car stereo, nor will you ever if the RIAA has their way.

    I've noticed that my media consumption habits have changed. It used to be that I would buy several CD's a year; I don't think I've bought one in the last two years. Yes, I suppose I could easily bypass the copy protection, but why bother. If the record label is such a jerk that they attempt to keep control of what I now rightfully own, then they can keep their shiny plastic and I'll keep my money. No sense in encouraging scumbags anyway.

    And why would I bother paying Hollywood for movies that I won't be able to enjoy in the future? My uncle has a few thousand decaying VHS tapes which he won't be able to play 10 years from now. And of course, with the DRM on DVDs and thanks to the DMCA, when DVDs are obsolete, you will lose your investment. At least my uncle could copy VHS to DVD. But how long would that last when the next generation players enforce DRM?

    So I've kind of given up on Hollywood and Big Music. It seems that they've become to wrapped up in their own hubris to realize that crippling content doesn't add to the value of the product. And yet, their stockholders continue to buy the old mantra, "Piracy is killing our business..." It's not piracy - it's lack of value. Why would a consumer buy something they legally can't own? The **AAs haven't figured out the American vision of entertainment is much different from their own. Americans:

    1. Want to own what they've legally purchased
    2. Consider ownership to be something perpetual, not "for a limited time"
    3. Like to share their culture (tv, movies, music) with others.
    4. Like to watch good movies and hear good songs again and again.

    By contrast, the RIAA and MPAA envision this model of consumer enjoyment:

    1. The consumer pays for the content, but the RIAA/MPAA still owns it.
    2. The consumer pays every time they enjoy the content.
    3. The consumer re-purchases the content any time the RIAA/MPAA decide a format change is necessary.
    4. The consumer only owns the content until it interferes with the profit made by the studio. Witness the industry's attempts to thwart re-selling used CD's.

    So, even those of us who would be otherwise honest must face a decision:

    • We play by the RIAA/MPAA playbook and pay continuously for content we've already bought, or
    • Forget the RIAA/MPAA and find a different mode of entertainment.

    So, is tv relevant anymore? Not when I can't enjoy it. Same for music and video - I'm enjoying public domain works now and independent stuff that I glean from the Net. Yes, I can afford to pay for my content, but why would I pay if I can't own it anyway?

    The RIAA/MPAA can't seem to understand that individual ownership and the rights that come with it are a fundamental part of selling content. If you don't want to give up control, don't sell the content.

  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ ( 559379 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:53PM (#15249346) Journal
    that money can buy in the United States. Seriously, look no further than the DMCA, a piece of legislation introduced by the long brain dead Orrin Hatch that is so vaguely written that anything is illegal if a corporation doesn't like it.

    How does this happen? Why with money of course!

    It's proof positive that EVERY law written in this country needs to have a sunset date of one or two years when it's reconsidered for renewal.

    What I would suggest is for you to find ways to use these laws for your benefit. It's not just for corporations.

    Here's an example, it's illegal for travel agents to get together and collude, it's against the Sherman Anti-Trust act. They should be able to band together and do whatever the hell they want. I started a travel agents mailing list that after a year had been infiltrated by members of the airline industry. The solution? Start a new one, this time started with a core group of trusted people and any new agents would have to be recommended by a current member and seconded by another. Next, protect the list under provisions of the DMCA, so if a travel vendor happened to get their hands on a transmission, they would be in violation because of the DMCA.

    Here's the payoff: Delta gives 10% off their fares to a particular mega agency in Chicago and American gives 10% off their fares to another large regional agency in Atlanta (one of several ticketing deals that agencies have around the country). This wonderful set up allows the agency in Chicago and Atlanta to talk and they ticket each other's discounts helping each other to not only give cheaper deals but to meet their requirements for a nice big fat override check from the airline every year.

    Is this fair? No, but then again paying travel agents no comission isn't either. You CAN make a difference folks, stop bitching and be creative. These laws are written for you, bit e back.
  • Why waste time with this garbage when there are so many better uses of State time? I really don't understand - besides the "low hanging fruit" or "government-as-mouthpiece-of-businesses" arguments - why this country is afraid to face issues and problems that are meaningful and need resolution. Instead, what we do over here is run around under the banner of intellectual property while the labor pool is vanishing, the economy's sluggish, and the citizenry aren't liking the actions taken by the government.

  • ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UltraAyla ( 828879 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @06:05PM (#15249440) Homepage
    so, even though people have been recording things on audio cassettes for decades, now that people are doing it digitally in smaller numbers (it takes some technical knowhow), all of a sudden they want to outlaw the recorders?

    I think that copy protection schemes are overwhelmingly proving the idea of self-fulfilling prophecies by pushing more people into illegality. It seems like a great premise of the whole freedom thing is trusting people to do what's right in a situation, and not forcing them to do what is right by removing access to legitimate resources. Just my two cents.
    • Re:ridiculous (Score:4, Informative)

      by cei ( 107343 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @06:34PM (#15249671) Homepage Journal
      so, even though people have been recording things on audio cassettes for decades, now that people are doing it digitally in smaller numbers (it takes some technical knowhow), all of a sudden they want to outlaw the recorders?

      Yes, that's exactly what they want to do. Their reasoning being that a digital copy is (or at least can be (with lossless compression)) as good as the original whereas an analog copy is inherently lossy. With a perfect digital copy there's no need for us to re-consume the original (for additional cost), because once we have initial access to it, we can access it just as well any time we'd like. They feel threatened by this.

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith