Tuesday, November 01, 2005

MPAA writing legislation to close the analog hole

The EFF says:

[T]hat's not spooky enough for the MPAA. For their party trick this year, they want to take one of the most basic and ubiquitous components in multimedia, and encase it within a pile of legally-enforced, complex, and patented proprietary technology - forever.

Ladies and gentlemen, the MPAA have chosen Halloween week to resurrect their most misconceived monster ever: the Thing from the Analog Hole.

Feel free to flick through this new Halloween document: it's a legislative draft proposed by the MPAA for a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property, on the topic "Content Protection in the Digital Age: The Broadcast Flag, High-Definition Radio, and the Analog Hole," on November 3rd.

On Thursday, they'll be no doubt declaring this law's passing to be vital to the entertainment industry's survival, just as Jack Valenti told the same committee that the home video-recorder would kill the film industry.

Here's what the proposed law says, in a nutshell:

Every consumer analog video input device manufactured in the United States will be, within a year, forced to obey not one, but two new copy restriction technologies: a watermarking system called VEIL, and a rights system called CGMS-A (we've covered CGMS-A before; we'll talk a bit more about VEIL soon).

And what might these MPAA-specified, government-mandated technologies do?

They prescribe how many times (if at all) the analog video signal might be copied - and enforce it.

A hundred years from now, we'll be lucky if we can access any "turn of the century" cultural works at all.

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