|First of all I have no problem with the content providers wanting to protect their content.
No argument here, and they already do just that. Practically everything we purchase
already has that, DVD, Satellite and Cable service, DVHS, etc. as well as all the displays.
|Second of all that said the concept that these guys are actually losing money from movie piracy is total BS. The percentage of people able to copy DVDs or copy HD streams is so small it's not even worth mentioning. People who want to copy media WILL ALWAYS DO SO, so matter what protection you put.
Third My only argument with copy protection(aside form it's a waste of time and money) is that it limits my legitimate fair use of media. It limits my ability to time shift and to backup a very error prone DVD medium. If they truly want to lock DVDs so you cna't back them up then they need to solve the failure rate or offer serious replacenment warranties.
Here in lies one of the biggest problems. The public broadcasters have reframed the issue as if they have the luxury of being treated same as the pay services. That too is a red herring. The fight is not about whether they can protect their content, the issue is that once the same content is broadcast on our airwaves, they no longer can make receiving that signal difficult if not impossible.
The most odious portion of the BS Flag that the MPAA does not like to mention is the use of HDCP. As it stands, you can watch OTA on almost any display including the millions of PC monitors. Here is Dan Glickman's statement about the BS Flag:
|"The broadcast flag does not inhibit copying, nor does it prevent redistribution of programming over a personal home network--it only restricts unauthorized redistribution of programming over the Internet and other digital networks."
What he holds out and don't spell out, perhaps because he thinks our elected representatives (as well as most consumers) are not technical enough to understand is that many people will no longer be able to just watch HDTV, nevermind recording and re-distributing on your network. Who does this benefit? The HDCP licensors.
|Now to the crux of the problem I see with the Broadcast flag verison of copy protection. I see three main issues here. The first is that I see this as the movie studios saying "I'm too lazy and stupid to make a real copy protection scheme, so just let me add one bit to my media and legislate that the rest of the world takes care of it for me".
That's not what they are saying. What they are trying to do is change the traditional agreement they had with the public, that is that what comes over the public airwaves cannot be copy protected. Once they pass the hurdle and get a law on the books, I predict that it will get worse.
|The second issue I see here is that this will put undo burden on the small and startup hardware manufacturers to comply with the rules being created by the big corps and enforeced for them by our gov't. I'm sure someone will patent a schem for doing this and everone else will have to pay them roaylties to even make product.
Indeed, the government should do no harm, should not write laws that inhibit competition and innovation. This alone is enough to fight over. If they are going to require this scheme, maybe they need to subsidize the cost of business start up, or require exemptions for small businesses that qualify under certain criteria.
I leave you with the following quotes from Sen. McCain regarding the obligation the governement has with the public, and what they need to hold up anytime they want to make new laws:
"Make no mistake, I continue to be a firm believer in market forces, which is why I believe that this voluntary proposal is an appropriate step at this time. We must be mindful, however, that valuable public resources are at stake here. Should the transition continue to be delayed, alternative measures will need to be taken in order to reclaim the spectrum for which so many other productive uses can be found and which rightfully belongs to the American taxpayers.
"I believe therefore, that Congress needs to be prepared to intervene, if necessary, to protect the taxpayers of this country
. If significant progress isn't made in the DTV transition, then I will introduce legislation that will not be voluntary...."
The lawmakers need to uphold their obligations to you, the public.