AVS Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,570 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, wasn't there supposed to be an announcement about proposed copy protection for broadcast television by now? I thought the broadcast copy protection workgroup was going to publish their proposed standard on Friday and start lobbying to have it enacted in law by Monday or Tuesday. Did Hollywood announce the standard with the same secrecy with which they developed it?


Jim
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,270 Posts
Maybe the BPDG has discovered that consumers are not so stupid as to have industry collusion be passed off as public policy. Or maybe they just got lazy and didn't finish writing the final standard. I would tend to go with the latter being the more likely explanation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,412 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
230 Posts
Here's a draft of the final report. The report is pre-dated 5/31/2002.


Before reading this, I didn't know the Work Plan of the BPDG was so narrowly defined. They are more of a "task force" than a "discussion group," if you ask me. Therefore, it isn't too surprising that their report fails to describe the supposed "redistribution problem" that their proposal is designed to address. (Nonetheless, a better report would have put the proposal in a larger context.)


What I'd like to see is a higher-level report from the CPTWG detailing the problem that is envisioned and providing their rationale for focusing on the approach taken by the BPDG. There is never only one approach to a problem. In this case, there is an obvious alternative approach that goes with the flow of technological development instead of against it. Was this given any consideration, I wonder? I look forward to reading "Tab C" mentioned in section 2.5 of the draft report, in which those who dissented from supporting the BPDG have their say.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,884 Posts
Quote:
The BPDG Work Plan suggested that a “parallel group†be constituted to address means by which any Compliance and Robustness Requirements applicable to the Broadcast Flag solution could be implemented and enforced. This parallel group has been established and has held several meetings. A separate email reflector for this policy group also has been established, and can be joined by sending an email message to [email protected] , and including in the body of the message the sender’s name and a request to subscribe to the policyg list. As of the date of this report, more than 135 individuals have subscribed to this reflector.
It seems that, like always, the devil is in the details of the "Compliance and Robustness Requirements" which aren't shown or even finalized. I'd like to see that X.2 document. It will be the Compliance and Robustness rules that will specify how existing technology must be crippled and made more expensive. Since it takes an infinite amount of dollars to make something infinitely secure, the walk-throughs that will take place in the parallel session will result in an expensive arms race, and probably a totally unworkable solution.

Quote:
1.2 Work undertaken by the CPTWG beginning in 1996 focused primarily upon means for content owners to protect physical media distributed to the public in encrypted form, and means by which consumer electronic and computing devices could perpetuate protections over encrypted content delivered to the consumer by such physical media and by cable and satellite transmission. Under current FCC regulations, most digital terrestrial television broadcasts are delivered in unencrypted form (“in the clearâ€). Thus, unlike prerecorded encrypted digital media such as DVD, or premium digital cable and satellite video transmissions delivered via conditional access, there may not be any licensing predicate (i.e., no technology license is needed to decrypt content) to establish conditions for the secure handling of such content. Consequently, consumer products can be legally made and sold that allow this unprotected DTV content to be redistributed (e.g., over the Internet) without authorization from the copyright holders.
Increasingly Hollywood gets a veto over new technology use through a web of patent and other IP licenses that may have other requirements, like limiting resolution, or maybe things like not skipping commercials. But these are referred to here as "licensing predicates". One goal here is to make sure OTA transmission is legally covered in enough "licensing predicates" to give the IP holders sufficient control of the technology.

Quote:
6.1 It is the understanding of the BPDG that the parallel group will consider means of enforcement of broadcast protection requirements, including by legislative or regulatory means. As noted above, two approaches have been proposed in drafts of section X.2, setting forth concepts as to how the Compliance and Robustness Requirements might be implemented and enforced. The BPDG recommends that the parallel group give consideration to these and potentially other proposed approaches for section X.2.
Yes, they want it put into law that everyone has to follow their dictates, whatever comes out of that parallel group, or future "requirements".


- Tom
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,174 Posts
If their solution for copy protection is not any more secure than the methods used by Sony for protecting CD's then we may not even have to worry about it. This article is a great comment on how millions spent on copy protection can be defeated by a magic marker.

http://www.msnbc.com/news/754854.asp?0bl=-0&cp1=1


As the article comments, maybe Sony will now request to outlaw the Magic Marker? At some point you would think these people would just get a clue and start to prosecute the pirates instead of spending millions to 'prosecute' the rest of us and try to defeat even 'fair use' copying just 'in case' we decide to copy something for a friend. I hope the MPAA etc. are also reading these headlines.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
230 Posts
jm,


We're talking about a completely different animal. Key2audio tries to accomplish its task by "fooling" existing hardware. The technology we're discussing here would be built into A/V devices. It might be interesting to contrast "after-the-fact copy protection" with "designed-in copy protection." However, that would be OT.


In the BPDG draft, the only sign of reason that I could find is in a footnote. It reads:
Quote:
One BPDG participant asked that “unauthorized redistribution†should be agreed not to include any redistribution that would be deemed “fair use†of content that a consumer legitimately acquires. Several BPDG participants observed that although the requirements would not impinge upon copying of time-shift recordings, current content protection technologies inevitably cannot accommodate all instances where redistribution of DTV content (e.g., the retransmission of program clips for educational purposes) might be fair use. Other participants noted that debate or comment on application of fair use principles was outside the scope of the BPDG. Some participants noted that, although such fair use purposes might be met today by converting the signals to analog and then back to digital form, it was their hope and expectation that future, more sophisticated systems that implement broadcast protection may better accommodate such fair uses.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,412 Posts
Ah, the old felt-tip pen applied to the edge of the CD trick!


It's an audiophile tweak to improve CD sound quality, ostensibly by reducing errors induced by light from the playback laser light source refracting within the disc and being picked-up by the laser sensor in the player, which supposedly induces undue reliance on error correction, which somehow supposedly compromises playback fidelity. (Except that with the audiophile tweak it was a green felt-tip pen. The thinking was that "red laser light + green ink = black 'light.'" Of course, if there's really anything to this then black ink ought to work just as well if not better.)


Maybe these "copy-protected" discs rely upon some kind of interference signal being rectified via refraction of an optical representation of a high-frequency sinewave that represents a digital code (the way CDs work, anyway) that's between the normal layers of the disc, but at a right angle to the normal reflective layers? Players whose laser sensors were relatively insensitive to refraction-born interference would be unaffected, players with a problem with it wouldn't play the discs correctly, and players that are designed to be sensitive to the interference could not be used to clone the CD.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
230 Posts
Key2Audio is a pathetic hack that will quickly fade into obscurity. BPDG, on the other hand, is poised to propose a plan that has far-reaching implications. It deserves our intense scrutiny. Can we *please* concentrate on BPDG now?


Back to the draft: Another piece of news (to me, anyhow) was a description of Philips' alternative plan. They wanted to preserve the flag info without encrypting anything. The criticisms of this plan by the other BPDG members are valid.


The real problem, however, is that everyone - including Philips - is thinking inside the box. Instead of placing limits on technology to make it more manageable and controllable and familiar, the question they should be asking is: How can we harnass the power of free, widespread re-distribution to provide revenue for the people who create the material and originate the broadcast?


Another observation: Mitsubishi's Robert Perry, who is associated with the Home Recording Rights Coalition (he testified on their behalf in the Senate hearings a couple of months ago), is one of the chairmen of the BPDG. I wonder how he is able to rationalize this?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,174 Posts
Cambridge Bob

My point was not that the copy protection here is the same, but only that no matter what they do, most likely some simple solution will be discovered by some innovative person in order to recover his'pirate' capabilities, and once publicized the whole protection scheme will be useless for anything except to prevent the public from exercising their 'fair use' rights. I don't expect the solution to be as simple as the CD fix, I just thought it was illustrative of what a waste of time and money all this protection stuff has become. If Sony had spent that much money trying to find and arrest the big time 'pirates' and left the 'fair use public' alone, they would have gotten more value from their investment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
230 Posts
jm,


You surely won't be able to defeat DTCP or HDCP with a household implement. Only a genius with too much time on his/her hands could break the ice - maybe. And then, they would have to put themselves at considerable risk to distribute the illegal software or (in the case of HDCP) hardware.


Notwithstanding the danger, if the BPDG plan or anything like it becomes the law of the land, it will dramatically increase the motivation to hack one or more of the encryption systems. It's one thing to have "high-value" content (e.g. a recent movie) running from a HD-DVD player to a display in encrypted form. It's quite another to put the same lock on a trashy TV show with commercials. It practically screams "hack me!"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,797 Posts
"You surely won't be able to defeat DTCP or HDCP with a household implement. Only a genius with too much time on his/her hands could break the ice - maybe. And then, they would have to put themselves at considerable risk to distribute the illegal software or (in the case of HDCP) hardware. "


Sure you can. All it takes is a video camera, a dark room, and a decent display. The result won't be HD, but that doesn't matter one whit - MP3 audio isn't CD quality either, but it gets passed around just the same. In the end, it is absolutely impossible to protect inherently analog content (even though it is distributed in digital form). And as anyone that has perused PTP sites would know, the ultimate quality of the material has nothing to do with whether it will be shared in large volume.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
230 Posts
dkeller_NC,


The camera idea occured to me when I read jm's message. But the quality and convenience that this workaround provides isn't the same and that's the real heart of the matter. If you want to circumvent copy protected CDs, you could also plug the line out of your CD player into the line in of your sound card, etc. The reason people are so extremely pleased with the magic marker trick is that it entirely restores our expectations for quality and convenience.


Your argument demonstrates that "fair use rights" can never truly be taken away. The only achievable goal of copy protection is to increase the difficulty of making a relatively perfect copy. The industry seems to know this - that's why they allow non-secure outputs to work normally, albeit at a lower resolution. The problem is not that consumer rights are being taken away - but that consumer expectations for quality, convenience and flexible use are threatened.


The problem I have with the BPDG proposal results from my belief that the electromagnetic spectrum is a public resource. It should be put to use in a way that best benefits the public. TV broadcasters should be regulated and required (within reason) to serve the public good. Satellite and cable distribution systems also use public resources, so they're in the same boat. However, rather than seeking to make OTA, cable and satellite more equal, the public good would be better served by having a variety of broadcast platforms, at least one of which should be entirely free and open. OTA is the obvious choice.


The " Consensus at Lawyerpoint " site just put up a new set of drafts of the BPDG proposal, including Table A, which is kind of interesting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
637 Posts
C Bob - I hope you're not suggesting that extreme measures of CP are OK for Cable/Sat as long as they leave OTA alone.


OTA is beginning to struggle in several metro areas. Ad rates (in constant dollars) per capita have been slowly declining for approx 9 years and have dropped significantly in the past 13 months. There are numerous ongoing discussions among local broadcastors about the viability of continuing OTA especially given the costs of OTA vs cable/sat distro. I'm sure that more than a few have given this consideration when faced with the upgrade to digital.


I can see a day when a local 'station' announces that they will discontinue OTA and distribute their content only via cable. I think that it is absolutely imperative that 'method of distribution of broadcast content' NOT be a differentiator. Fair Use should be fought for and applied equally to all.


Aslan...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,884 Posts
Quote:
The problem is not that consumer rights are being taken away - but that consumer expectations for quality, convenience and flexible use are threatened.
Consumer expectations for quality, convenience and flexible use are based upon knowledge of what is available at the current state of technology and economics. And cable franchises are somewhat based upon a limited local monopoly.


To the extent that cable does not match those expectations the consumers have a right to complain, and in extreme cases, the cable companies may find limits to their monopoly powers.


It would be better for the cable companies to satisfy the consumers even if it meant standing up to Hollywood or failing to get access to some content. Only in certain optional PPV type services should they even consider restricting quality, convenience, and flexible use in order to satisfy Hollywood's requirements for access to prime content. Instead the cable companies should consider making each new Hollywood demand public and appealing to the court of public opinion. They might find a lot of support.


- Tom
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
230 Posts
Aslan,

You may be right. I don't know why I'm clinging to this idea that OTA is somehow more sacred. All broadcasts use public resources - the electromagnetic spectrum; or physical airspace (with cable). Maybe all should be treated equally?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,412 Posts
The thing that's "different" about terrestrial, OTA broadcasters is that they got their spectrum for free instead of having to bid on it and are therefore held to a gamut of public service obligations. In the case of OTA DTV broadcasters this includes providing at least one free channel who technical quality is at least as good as NTSC. Whether the "free" channel must also be "free to record" is another issue. It goes back to public "expectations" vs. "rights."


The NAB went along with the concept of copy-protection of IP so that they could continue to have access to the Hollywood studios' material...whether for PPV or subscription subchannels or for the "free" service...depending on what the FCC, the Congress and/or the courts would let them get away with, IMO. I suspect that under pressure from consumers, Congress will put the kabosh on copy-restrictions on "free" OTA programming, but we shall have to see.


In any event, normal TV programming, as opposed to Hollywood-produced movies, will never likely be copy-restricted. The poroducers of the shows and the advertizers just want you and everyone else to watch the shows and the commercials. (Requiring that PVRs not have commercial-deletion capabilities is another can of worms!)
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top