Wednesday, November 05, 2003

DRM TV for the US masses:

FCC Endorses Built-In Copy Controls: "A small victory for consumers, say consumer groups, is that the FCC rule does allow fair use of copyrighted content. Two commissioners dissented in part from the ruling, urging a fair use provision be included. However, how it will be implemented is not clear."

Great, another quickly thought-out ruling based on the pressures of a large body (the MPAA in this case) that fails to address any kind of long term issues. Just what the world needs.

THe problem with this approach is that it's far too easy for the MPAA to now put pressure on to delay, or indeed avoid completely, bringing in fair-use allowance. This could occur through either (1) a legacy-to-be distribution of early technology that doesn't cater for it, as the definition hasn't been defined yet (fair use would be delayed, most likely), or (2) a claim of technological difficulty - once you allow any copies, it opens up a whole new (foot)ball game in terms of circumvention. The MPAA, like the RIAA, consistently show a great lack of understanding when it comes to all things technical (but hey, at least their website is still up ;) - like the X-Box, expect a great deal of activity in the underground when these devices start hitting the streets.

As usual, expect more laws to make circumvention even more illegal to go along with all this. I suspect we'll see more DeCSS style fair-use/piracy arguments (although if the DRM standard remains open and free, then us non-Windows/Mac users might stand a chance of watching TV on our PCs).

Should be interesting.

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