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The attached letter to editor was published in the Legal Times, a legal publication in Washington D.C. It was sent in response to an article on DTV, which did not deal with the copy protection issue:


HEADLINE: Airing a Major Concern About HDTV


BODY:

To the editor:


I read your article on digital TV with great interest ["Digital TV a Remote Possibility," July 30, 2001, Page 1]. As a lawyer, and an early adopter of HDTV, I have witnessed firsthand the stumbling of broadcasters, cable operators, and television manufacturers with respect to HDTV. ... think your article overlooks perhaps the most important and most troubling area-copy protection. There is something called 5C, which is an industry organization that has adopted a new standard for copy protection and HDTV broadcasts. In the near future, it appears that all televisions will have a digital "firewire" port-which is a small plug connector, much like a USB port on a computer, that broadcasts and restrict their copying, all set-top boxes, digital VCRs, and DVDs will connect only through this connector.


The problem is that no televisions or set-top boxes have these connectors yet-meaning that the millions of HDTVs sold could be rendered obsolete. As an attorney, and a consumer, this is most troubling-and I think could be actionable. Many consumers are outraged by this possibility. I think the area is unsettled, but it appears what may happen is that without these connectors, the television broadcast will not be in true HDTV, but in a lesser more-standard resolution (if that makes sense-instead of being broadcast in 1080i, it would be broadcast in 480i).


Anyway, I firmly believe that this is an area where legal action is needed. Otherwise, consumers will lose out.


Alan Arkin
 

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Maybe this will give the guys that write computer viruses something productive to do. All we would need is a decoder chip (make it look like a TV electronically) in front of our TV connection.


Is this possible?


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Tom Taylor
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by JediMastr:
I keep reading posts that say legal action may be required to keep our sets from becoming obsolete, but will that actually work? Wouldn't our 'fair use' rights have to be violated in order to stop HDCP? They'll just argue that the fact that our sets CAN do HD doesn't mean that they HAVE to accommodate us. Where is it written that because a program is broadcast in HD that they can't d-rez their IP at will? I just don't think we can FORCE them into acquiescence by any court action.
I don't think that the legal actions would be against the programmers who are providing the signals. They would be against the Hardware manufacturers who have advertized and sold equipment as being "HD-Ready", "HD-Compatable", etc... This especially holds true for companies who are about to introduce new equipment that does not meet the standards that the manufacturers have already agreed to. Toshiba is about to release a whole new line of "HD-Ready" TV's that they have already agreed to make obsolete.

 

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I keep reading posts that say legal action may be required to keep our sets from becoming obsolete, but will that actually work? Wouldn't our 'fair use' rights have to be violated in order to stop HDCP? They'll just argue that the fact that our sets CAN do HD doesn't mean that they HAVE to accommodate us. Where is it written that because a program is broadcast in HD that they can't d-rez their IP at will? I just don't think we can FORCE them into acquiescence by any court action.


Hope I'm wrong.


JediMastr


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