MPAA looks to bolster its dominance by plugging the analog hole

And that’s not all … it’s a triple punch! All in one oversight hearing!

Ken “Caesar” Fisher at arstechnica.com writes the following:

In all of our recent coverage of the oncoming High Definition revolution in entertainment, we’ve not talked too much about the infamous analog hole. The analog hole is the bane of Hollywood’s attempt to control your life; put succinctly, if you can hear it or see it on today’s consumer electronics devices, you can copy it, with rare exception.

The EFF has managed to get an advance copy of proposed legislation (PDF) that is scheduled to be introduced this Thursday. Entitled the “Analog Content Security Preservation Act of 2005,” this bit of MPAA-drafted work will have a hearing in the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property. For the most part, it’s the same fear-mongering song and dance we’re used to seeing (some of you may remember that just over three years ago the MPAA was asking Congress to force analog recording devices to obey DRM, and this is more or less doing this exact same thing).

If the MPAA has their way, all new devices capable of receiving video input must obey two DRM technologies, VEIL and CGMS-A (Video Encoded Invisible Light technology and Content Generation Management System—Analog, respectively). Such devices, be they DVRs, VCRs, analog input cards for a PC, etc., will have to listen for DRM markers in analog content and obey any restrictions on display or management (e.g., copying). Contrary to what I’ve read elsewhere, this is not limited to devices manufactured in the United States. It applies to all devices available through legal channels, including importation. Furthermore, I’d like to note that CGMS-A is the bandit behind the various copy control snafus that have been witnessed on the likes of TiVo and Microsoft’s Windows Media Center Edition.

Or, to simplify, any device that can record video will be illegal to import or purchase in a year, if it doesn’t obey DRM. Not only does this affect consumer electronics, but it would also have severe affects on computer hardware as well, which will have to provide secure pathways for all analog content. And operating systems based on open-source software would be in double trouble, because the DRM is closed source.

If you’ve been waiting for the Broadcast Flag to meet, fall in love, and reproduce with Genghis Khan, then wait no more. This bill does what the Broadcast Flag does for over-the-air (OTA) TV, but it extends it to every new device in the country for every kind of video, and adds even more control granularity for the content industry.

Ken goes on to say that “In plain English, this means that your recorded program, should you start watching it an hour after it’s done recording, will start to delete itself 30 minutes later. Think of the fun you and your family can have trying to keep ahead of the deletion queue!”

And this is only one of the really bad things that will come of this if it’s allowed to pass.

A must read! Not only this article but the links he provides to his prior articles about these types of issues including an interesting read on the Harvard Law project does legal case study of iTunes’ business model where one of the quotes came from.

There are members of many states on the committee during the oversight hearings. Please check them out and contact your representatives!

The Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property shall have jurisdiction over the following subject matters: copyright, patent and trademark law, information technology, administration of U.S. Courts, Federal Rules of Evidence, Civil and Appellate Procedure, judicial ethics, other appropriate matters as referred to by the Chairman, and relevant oversight.

There are 22 members 12 (R) and 10 (D) on the committee. The members are as follows:

Alabama (1)
California (7)
Florida (2)
Illinois (1)
Indiana (1)
Massachusetts (1)
Michigan (1)
New York (1)
South Carolina (1)
Tennessee (1)
Texas (1) – Smith, Chairman
Utah (1)
Virginia (3)


Oversight Hearing on “Content Protection in the Digital Age: The Broadcast Flag, High-Definition Radio, and the Analog Hole.”

Witness List

Honorable Dan Glickman
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)

Mitch Bainwol
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)

Gigi B. Sohn
President, Public Knowledge

Michael D. Petricone
Vice President, Government Affairs, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) on behalf of CEA and the Home Recording Rights Coalition.

Glickman, Bainwol Among Those Testifying Thursday on Broadcast Flag, High-Definition Radio, and the Analog Hole (PDF)


Analog Hole Discussion Draft
(PDF)

Broadcast Flag Discussion Draft (PDF)

HD Radio Discussion Draft (PDF)

They are trying to hit all three items in this one hearing. A triple punch! What will our elected officials who were appointed to this oversight hearing do?

Our Constitution gives us the right to let them know where their constituents stand on such issues.

See our article EFF: Stop the MPAA and RIAA’s Horror Triple Bill! for how you can help.

PublicKnowledge.org also has links to the testimony of the Witnesses on November 3.

I’ve done my part already before they even met on November 3 since we have three representatives from Virginia on the Committee.

They will be meeting again on Tuesday 11/15/2005 – 4:00 PM according to the schedule.

There is also a video webcast link if you have broadband.

Thanks to ebrke at SFL Forums for bringing the arstechnica article to our attention.

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Comments on: "MPAA looks to bolster its dominance by plugging the analog hole" (2)

  1. […] days. I am really happy that Stewart Baker of DHS sees the light. Wonder if he be at the oversight hearings on Thursday for the triple punch from the RIAA/MPAA? It would be nice if someone who […]

  2. […] Excellent article, David. We need to stop this! See our earlier posting on this as well here. You don’t take people’s rights away just because it can be used for evil. Keeping ho […]

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