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post #1 of 6 Old 11-15-2001, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello !

It might be too late for this info but I've decided to share it anyway.
Recently I came across the information that the dealer cost on PV-HD1000 was $537.95

Too bad Panny is not coming with the next generation model as there is significant market demand. Why Mitsubishi came out with 2002 D-VHS model ? Aren't they scared that "industry" will press them the same way they did to Panny ?

Andrey
(ex-systems engineer)
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post #2 of 6 Old 11-15-2001, 02:43 PM
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Mitsubishi and JVC have part of "the industry" in bed with them at this time, in the form of Sony, their Columbia-TriStar Motion Pictures Group and Warner Brothers, both of whom have licensed DTCP and support transmission of their content in home A/V networks using it. The other six or so "major" motion picture companies are sitting on the fence right now, pressuring the DTLA to amend DTCP to include features to protect OTA broadcasts from digital retransmission--many of them have parent companies who own national television networks. They don't care if you timeshift their broadcasts (and the courts have given us that right anyway); they just don't want to see them stripped of advertisements and made available for download over the net in the full HD glory the next day--much of the most valuable audience for their ads might eventually take to watching all television this way, and keeping archives of the downloads, making "Series M: the Complete Nth Season" DVD collections nearly worthless at retail.

They'd also like to see features that limit your recording to "timeshifting" and not archiving, since the right to timeshift was what the last Supreme Court decision on home video recording limited itself to. DTCP already incorporates features for this--a 3-bit "Retention State" field, located in the DTCP_descriptor packets which can be added to the ATSC stream, specifying eight specific lengths of time that a recording may be retained, from "Forever" to "90 minutes" (the shortest corresponds to the maximum buffer length that a PVR is allowed to maintain for "Copy Never" content--see page 66 of Digital Transmission Content Protection Specification Volume 1 (Informational Version), for details). The longest period short of "Forever" that can be specified with this field is "One Week", which seems a bit short for timeshifting--I might easily be away on vacation or even on business for longer than that. If they hope to get people to accept this (a hard sell in any case), I think that they'll have to dump either the "Three" "Six", or "Twelve Hour" value (what are they for anyway?) and add at least a "Four Week" one.

Mitsubishi and JVC are taking a gamble with the introduction of these products at this uncertain time. However, apparently no other recordable protected transport is being seriously considered at this time, and the studios aren't going to get away with a copy-protection scheme that doesn't allow at least timeshifting free OTA television and rebroadcasts thereof on cable and DBS, so I will be very surprised if all the protected STBs don't have the 1394/DTCP connections required for the use of these decks. It's also more difficult to sell HDTV to people when there is no way to timeshift it.

-- Mike Scott

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post #3 of 6 Old 11-15-2001, 11:19 PM
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There is no reason to believe that the fair use rights elaborated in the Betamax case is an exhaustive listing of what is/may be fair use. Some would like see the case revisited and the interpretation of fair use rights narrowed. Others would like consumer fair use rights expanded and protected from legal end runs like the DMCA. Most consumers would fall in the latter category, while I expect most publishers and copyright holders would fall in the former. It's a good thing that the Constitution has something to offer on this subject. Congress should take out that old document and read it again.

However, it seems foolish to base an entire technology and business model on a narrow interpretation of fair use. The Beatmax case was a narrow ruling since the court is not inclined to legislate. Similar challenges to the rights of privates citizens will once again make their way to the high court and I sincerely hope that the free exchange of ideas upon which this nation was founded will once again prevail. Fair use is an integral aspect of democracy and while progress in a business sense may be hindered by certain democratic ideals progress in a social and human sense is buttressed. A small price to pay IMHO.

Having said that, if fair use rights are protected all this restrictive copy protection technology being foisted on the consumer may end up bitting the hardware manufactures on the backside since they are the ones who are really on the hook when it comes to making current "HDTV Compatible" displays work with the more restrictive content protection measures.

On a more personal note, I would really love to see the CE manufactures release two versions of each display or recording device. One based on the 10 year old open standards for US HDTV and one that is based on the proprietary license "protected" technology. Which version would the market choose? If the actual cost to produce the "protected" version were reflected at retail could we expect a price difference between an open standard and closed standard?

The computer industry already knows the answer to those questions. Open standards always win the price war. It's only when value added features are supported by proprietary technology that people feel the need to abandon an open standard. Microsoft is expert at doing this, and is truly a victim of their own success. Much in the same way that the price fixing law suits brought before the courts found the music industry guilty as charged. Or how our government has found Microsoft to be a wolf in sheep clothing, but Microsoft is only getting off the hook because of change in the political wind. It's still the case that when you're too good at screwing everyone over it will eventually be noticed.

In the case of HDTV, the open standard existed long before any of these new schemes, so trying to sell any of this crap as an advance for the consumer is a false argument. Copy protection that destroys the rights of the consumer is not an advance and we shouldn't have to pay one extra penny for the privilege of protecting a MPAA members stock options.
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post #4 of 6 Old 11-16-2001, 05:05 PM
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Originally posted by JoeFloyd
There is no reason to believe that the fair use rights elaborated in the Betamax case is an exhaustive listing of what is/may be fair use. Some would like see the case revisited and the interpretation of fair use rights narrowed. Others would like consumer fair use rights expanded and protected from legal end runs like the DMCA. Most consumers would fall in the latter category, while I expect most publishers and copyright holders would fall in the former. It's a good thing that the Constitution has something to offer on this subject. Congress should take out that old document and read it again.
The Constitution used to give (white) men the right to own slaves (or rather, it upheld the right of State laws to give men the right to hold slaves and obligated States without such laws to uphold them, and return escaped slaves to their owners--article IV, section 2, last paragraph, rescinded by the XIIIth amendment)--it's not an infallible guide to right conduct for all time. No such document could ever be written. It has been examined and amended many times in the past when its provisions were found to be either wrong or simply outdated in their thinking. Its framers could not have begun to imagine the problems posed by this age of digital media.

While it's true that "Fair Use" rights regarding commercial television might not have been exhaustively examined and delineated by the Betamax decision, the crux of that decision was that it was made to support something that was seen to be a significant boon to the public: timeshifting OTA television programming. The issue of archiving was examined by the court in that decision and considered potential real infringement, not covered by "Fair Use". The Justice delivering the decision did not at all believe that VTR use was not copyright infringing--he actually stated a belief that lots of it could be. His premise for setting aside the Court of Appeals judgement against Sony was that there was a substantial amount of OTA television which the copyright holders had no objection to the recording of, and because of this, the use of the device could not be suppressed by holding Sony liable for potential infringements. He was not saying that all uses of VTRs to record OTA television were "Fair Use", but that enough were that the use of VTRs should be allowed, which I think was the correct decision for the time, even though it wasn't overwhelmingly popular with his peers (it was a 5 to 4 decision).

I certainly appreciate having the ability to timeshift television, and that's all I ask to be able to do. When I used VCRs to do it, I never owned more than 3 blank tapes at a time, constantly rewriting them and replacing them as they wore out. The studios do not propose to take this capability away from consumers (except for pay-per-view, in order to start making releases to it at the same time as they make them to retail and rental media), though that time-limit thing is a bit hinky.

The copy-protection technology that is coming into existence makes it possible for the copyright holders to electronically indicate exactly what use of their IP they want to allow. I'm not a lawyer, but so far as I can see, nothing in Sony v. Universal could be used to argue against the application of this technology, and several passages in it could be used to argue in support of it.
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However, it seems foolish to base an entire technology and business model on a narrow interpretation of fair use. The Beatmax case was a narrow ruling since the court is not inclined to legislate. Similar challenges to the rights of privates citizens will once again make their way to the high court and I sincerely hope that the free exchange of ideas upon which this nation was founded will once again prevail. Fair use is an integral aspect of democracy and while progress in a business sense may be hindered by certain democratic ideals progress in a social and human sense is buttressed. A small price to pay IMHO.
And what do you consider the "Fair Use" of television to encompass? Automatically stripping it of ad content and making digital copies for personal archival purposes? Posting such digital copies on the Internet for download by whoever whenever? Should these uses cover pay television (which the Betamax decision explicitly does not)? I think that the term "Fair Use" is widely misunderstood--if you read Title 17, Section 107, where the term appears in codified law, it's mostly about assuring access to copyrighted works to scholarly researchers and critics, etc, for productive purposes, and allowing them to quote small excerpts of it in their own works, not for letting anyone do whatever they want with anything, even if they don't make money from it. Note that, copying television to permanent media so that you can put it on the shelf to enjoy again whenever you please is not a "productive use", and Justice Stevens actually points this out in the last Betamax ruling. Far from being "narrow", the case-law interpretations of "Fair Use" have been awfully broad and permissive.
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In the case of HDTV, the open standard existed long before any of these new schemes, so trying to sell any of this crap as an advance for the consumer is a false argument. Copy protection that destroys the rights of the consumer is not an advance and we shouldn't have to pay one extra penny for the privilege of protecting a MPAA members stock options.
These "new" schemes have existed since before HDTV began selling, in November of 1998--the first draft of 1394/DTCP was released months before then (the 5C had been working on it for a couple of years) and Matsushita announced their first chipset implementing it in December 1998. The Panasonic TU-DST50 DBS STB and PV-HD1000 HD D-VHS deck, both of which include early implementations of this technology, went on sale about seven months after the introduction of HDTV to the US market.

Copy-protection on HD equipment is probably in the nature of tilting at windmills. The members of the MPAA, if they continue to release content in digital form, are probably eventually going to end up in the position of trying to sell something that everyone knows will be available for free download from the Internet the day after it hits retail and/or rental. This is the problem that they face--not greedily bolstering their bottom-line, but trying to make sure that they have a bottom line at all. I'd hate to be part of a business facing this problem.

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post #5 of 6 Old 11-16-2001, 08:29 PM
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Mike I understand your point of view, but I just don't agree with it.

So far the majority of cases that involve the the DMCA and by extension the application of fair use rights have been cases where the altruistic kindheartedness of the the RIAA and MPAA have tried to keep a college professor from discussing scientific research and persecuted an individual from a company trying to make e-books compatible with software used to read to the blind. How can a reasonable person see the restrictions being imposed on the use of media and other IP as progress? It's progress in the sense that it protects traditional business models and current profits, but is that the only measure of progress?

While it's true that as the heart of the Betamax case was the balance between infringing and non-infringing uses in a more innocent time, I argue that the above examples show that NON infringing uses exists for all media formats. Making it illegal to use a product in anyway other than as a certain organization wants you to precludes non infringing uses. Even useful and universally benefiting uses are precluded. That leads to two major problems for me. 1) Lack for progress 2) Higher costs. I should be able to take my WMA file and copy it to my laptop if I wanted to. Fair use protects my ability to do so. The DMCA makes me a federal fugitive for doing so. Gez, makes a lot of sense to me.

As for the Constitution, its a living document. Amendments are a testament to the vitality of the idea behind the Constitution. Sure there are things that have changed over the years, but what hasn't changed is the power granted Congress to promote science, industry, and the arts by granting patent and copyright. The Constitution goes on to say that these goals must be balanced against the needs of the democracy. Free speech, free exchange of ideas, etc.... It's already been determined that the DMCA limits free speech in California, and I argue that the DMCA also limits innovation and fair use based on the first two examples.

If we as a nation are willing to skew the balance of interests so far in the direction of protecting current business models and current profits, then we should be aware to how that really will affect our world in years to come. It also begs the question as to why the media companies are the first to ask for legislation to protect their interests and the most vocal opponents of legislation to regulate any of their activities. Are they trying to have their cake and eat it too? Sure they are, and they have been too successful. The balance of commercial and societal interests has been skewed and it needs to be realigned. Too many laws have been bought and paid for. Congress can write a law stating that PI = 3, or that the Constitution had it all wrong when it comes to free speech and personal liberty, but it doesn't make it true. It appears that the courts will have to protect the People from our own Congress. It will be a big black eye for the Congress when this happens, but that seems to be the way things are heading.

Home recording rights is one small portion of these issues, but it's one that we all can intuitively understand. Now that FOX places electronic advertisements behind home plate in the World Series can we really make a determination between what is a commercial and what is content. Should the Congress make it illegal to place adds within other forms of programming? We would be naive to think that high value venues like the Super Bowl and the World Series are going to be the only times when advanced forms of advertising are used. Maybe that's the way things will have to go???? In reality, it's the way things have always been. ;)


Case in point, did anyone else notice the TIVO in this weeks episode of Friends? Or the Pier One reference? Or 50 years ago that the Texaco Theater was sponsored by TEXACO??? You can't edit out a commercial when everything is a commercial.
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post #6 of 6 Old 11-16-2001, 11:25 PM
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Originally posted by JoeFloyd
Mike I understand your point of view, but I just don't agree with it.
The very basis of free discussion :).
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So far the majority of cases that involve the the DMCA and by extension the application of fair use rights have been cases where the altruistic kindheartedness of the the RIAA and MPAA have tried to keep a college professor from discussing scientific research
Excuse, please? Are you talking about Niels Ferguson, the Dutch guy who claims to have come up with a method of breaking HDCP but won't describe it because he's afraid of the DMCA? That's his own paranoia and it's baseless--he hasn't been charged with anything or threatened with any charges. He just doesn't like the DMCA and gets a little publicity for his stance by complaining about something that isn't actually a threat to his work. Nothing in the DMCA prevents the discussion of methods of breaking copyright protection: just the production of actual working mechanisms (computer programs or electronic devices) whose sole or substantial purpose is to break technological protections of copyright, the distribution and/or sale and use thereof. There is a participant in these very forums, Keith Irwin, who has had a treatise on the vulnerabilities of HDCP posted online for nearly five months--his paper remains online and he remains free, and to my knowledge, unthreatened with DMCA prosecution, which would be thrown out of court any way, since, like I said, nothing in the DMCA says that you can't discuss how to break a copyright protection mechanism. That would be restraint of free-speech. Now, if either of these people created a working device that actually breaks HDCP, and published the firmware, circuit diagrams and assembly instructions for building it either for sale or distributed them for free, that would be an infraction of the DMCA as written.
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...and persecuted an individual from a company trying to make e-books compatible with software used to read to the blind.
Oh, c'mon! How stupid do they think the courts are? If Dimitri Skylarov had produced a program that translated books in Adobe's copy-protected format into blind-readable form after access to its contents had been enabled with the proper password (or whatever they require), that would be one thing, but as I understand it, he did not. He wrote a program that anyone could buy from his company that breaks the protection on those books for any purpose. And why would the blind need such a program anyway? Why would they not just ask the copyright holder for access to a translation of the book?
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How can a reasonable person see the restrictions being imposed on the use of media and other IP as progress? It's progress in the sense that it protects traditional business models and current profits, but is that the only measure of progress?
How can any reasonable person think that people can maintain a financial incentive to produce copyright protected creative works in digital media--including the HD video that we all love so well--if they cannot protect it from widespread free distribution through the Internet, or even by people just making one copy at a time for friends and relations?
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While it's true that as the heart of the Betamax case was the balance between infringing and non-infringing uses in a more innocent time, I argue that the above examples show that NON infringing uses exists for all media formats.
And those uses, so far as television is concerned, are all provided for by copy-protection mechanisms defined for video and other digital media. The only non-infringing uses by private citizens of OTA television and rebroadcasts thereof is timeshifting (except where the copyright holder explicitly want to grant more, which the copy-protection mechanisms allow him to do), and only case-law grants you that right. US Code Title 17 would forbid any copying but for the broad interpretation the courts have given its "Fair Use" provision. No case-law exists that makes it explicitly legal to copy pay television, at all: "the Betamax decision" doesn't extend to cover that because it contains a footnote that says that it doesn't. That didn't matter at the time, since there wasn't any technology to allow the timeshifting of some things but not of others--there is now. I expect that there will be court challenges to the use of this technology, but I think that those challenges stand on weak legs--I think that they can prove that the technology allows timeshifting and that anything else lowers the earning potential of their product. People sell sets of "Series M: the Complete Nth Season" DVDs now--why would anyone buy these if they could compile a set of perfect digital copies of all the episodes (with devices that automatically remove the advertisements, or edit them out by hand with their PCs) or download them anytime they want from the Internet? One of the four criteria for determining "Fair Use" cited in Title 17 is "(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work". Use that can be shown to adversely affect the profits of the IP holders is not "Fair Use".
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Making it illegal to use a product in anyway other than as a certain organization wants you to precludes non infringing uses. Even useful and universally benefiting uses are precluded. That leads to two major problems for me. 1) Lack for progress
You'll have to explain that to me.
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2) Higher costs. I should be able to take my WMA file and copy it to my laptop if I wanted to. Fair use protects my ability to do so.
Except that, by buying the music in WMA form, you agreed to abide by the copyright holder's terms for using it. If you didn't like them, don't buy it that way; if enough people don't like it, they'll stop selling it that way.

The law doesn't control the cost of most things, particularly luxuries, like entertainment software--we do. By buying things or refusing to buy them at the cost that they're offered at. If we refuse to buy them, we should not then try to obtain them by some other means. That is the definition of theft.
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The DMCA makes me a federal fugitive for doing so. Gez, makes a lot of sense to me.
Nope--only if you use a device that breaks WMA's copy restrictions in order to do this. Breaking the law, as always, is done by your own choice and at your own risk.
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Free speech, free exchange of ideas, etc.... It's already been determined that the DMCA limits free speech in California, and I argue that the DMCA also limits innovation and fair use based on the first two examples.
Well, I've given my response to your examples. I didn't know that California had officially denounced the DMCA--I can't find any news about this. Do you have a link to something?
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It appears that the courts will have to protect the People from our own Congress. It will be a big black eye for the Congress when this happens, but that seems to be the way things are heading.
You think that the fairly conservative Supreme Court of today are the ones to do it? I doubt it, but I could be wrong.
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Home recording rights is one small portion of these issues, but it's one that we all can intuitively understand. Now that FOX places electronic advertisements behind home plate in the World Series can we really make a determination between what is a commercial and what is content. Should the Congress make it illegal to place adds within other forms of programming?
I can't believe you're even suggesting that. Wouldn't it be a violation of the free-speech rights of the people who produce the programming? Or isn't advertisement protected speech?
Quote:
Case in point, did anyone else notice the TIVO in this weeks episode of Friends? Or the Pier One reference? Or 50 years ago that the Texaco Theater was sponsored by TEXACO??? You can't edit out a commercial when everything is a commercial.
Friends is terrible in its overt product placements. It has been suggested in other threads that this is the business model that the copyright holders will have to move to in the digital media age, when people will only pay for their product if they feel like it--heavy product placements paid for by advertisers. I think that product placement doesn't make very good advertisement for everything. It's okay for keeping things that are well known in people's minds, but it's virtually useless for advertising new and unprecedented products, or new products with features that can't be seen at a glance. To make this work, you'd have to work an explanation of the product into the plot somehow. Not very easy in many contexts. And there are genres of programming, like period fiction and futuristic scifi, where product placements can't be done at all--nobody's going to buy a can of Crisco on a counter in the galley of Enterprise, or virtually anything sold today appearing in the midst of a drama set in the old west.

-- Mike Scott

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