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Hardware Copy Protection Battles 375

Posted by michael
from the shot-heard-round-the-world dept.
substatica writes: "Law.com is running this article on the content industry working to convince congress that not introducing hardware copyright protection ( as well as copy protection built into OS, Software, Web Browsers and Routers ) would eventually lead to the "industry's destruction", as put by Michael Eisner. We've been able to copy VHS for over a decade and they're still making movies. Does anyone really think that the movie industry will be eradicated due to copyright infringment?" Consideration of the SSSCA has been put off a few months, but it will be back. The Register covers one part of the split between content and hardware with this story about Philips getting more uppity about their Compact Disc logo, a follow-up to this story. The Reuters article that the Register refers to is here.
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Hardware Copy Protection Battles

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  • So essentially... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MiTEG (234467)
    they're admitting there is no way they can beat the media pirates without a law requiring hardware copyright protection? Is it just me, or is that like admitting they already lost?
  • Argh!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by b_pretender (105284) on Friday January 18, 2002 @06:02PM (#2864898)
    It's not Copyright protection!! It doesn't protect copyrights.

    Call it Copy prevention because that's what it does!! Perhaps Copy interference even.

  • The question is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ILikeRed (141848) on Friday January 18, 2002 @06:04PM (#2864907) Journal
    does the industry deserve saving? Maybe it's destruction would not be all bad. I guess we can all be thankful that there was no big scribe's union when the printing press was invented.
    • by Cato the Elder (520133) on Friday January 18, 2002 @06:31PM (#2865087) Homepage
      Parent got modded up as funny, but it actually makes a serious good point. One of the people interviewed for the article said that without this hardware copy prevention, "music could become a cottage industry in a few years." Guess what: tough shit. How would the world be a worse place if music was a "cottage industry" run by many small independant companies? Would we really lose anything?

      I'm in favor of copyright, generally. I think it's worth it to have people who can spend their entire lives producing entertainment. But that's not what this battle is about. If piracy _actually_ started making it too hard to produce new content, then there would be a public backlash that would fix things with either a cultural or technical solution
      This battle is about maintaining record companies and big studios place in the revenue stream. And they are becoming obsolete. This is like professional letter writers (yes, they actually used to exist) lobbying against public education because it would doom there buisness.
      • by scott1853 (194884) on Friday January 18, 2002 @06:37PM (#2865128)
        How would you classify N'Sync and Britney Spears? They have no musical talent of their own. They rely on others writing the lyrics and the music, yet many millions enjoy their music. In this case, the major record labels are needed in order to bring together a large number of people to produce the content. It's not like it's some garage band that already has talent, but lacks exposure.

        P.S. I don't condone the existence on the above mentioned bands, it's just an example.
        • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Friday January 18, 2002 @06:49PM (#2865186) Homepage
          For every N'Sync and Britney Spears, there are hundreds of low-profile artists that have TRUE talent and dedication that you'll never hear about, because they aren't in touch with the media monsters so they get squeezed out of the big picture.

          It wasn't always like this.. in my mind, this whole music prostitution started about fifteen years ago with the "New Kids On The Block". Mega cheese, mega publicity, zero talent. They released a handful of tapes within a couple of years, then vanished into oblivion. The poor fools who've tried solo careers barely got their 15 minutes of fame, so much they suck.

          Each big-name disc or tape that sells means another smaller artist that doesn't sell. Survival of the fittest marketing, that's all that matters anymore.
          • It wasn't always like this.. in my mind, this whole music prostitution started about fifteen years ago with the "New Kids On The Block".

            Manufactured no-talent teen "musicians" are a hell of a lot older than the New Kids. Ask your parents who Fabian was some time. It goes at least back to the Fifties, and probably well before that.

            • And how about that punk brat Mozart?
              • :)

                Seriously, I'll be awfully surprised if anyone is still performing the "music" of the New Kids, Britney Spears, or any manufactured teen pop star past or present, in fifty years, much less a couple of hundred.

                Music at its best has always had its share of enfants terrible, genuinely talented kids with a lot to say who shake up the old order -- from Mozart to Johnny Rotten -- and they are deservedly remembered. Kids with nothing to say who are actually products of the old order, such as Fabian et seq, are something entirely different, and hopefully soon forgotten.
                • Kids with nothing to say who are actually products of the old order, such as Fabian et seq, are something entirely different, and hopefully soon forgotten.

                  Whose Fabian?

        • Well its called evolution. If you don't have the talent to survive you die. Plain and simple. Welfare for the bad pop artist! Get real!
      • THE *REAL* PIRATES (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Mosts artists have been rooked royally by these content control freaks, just like consumers. Vote with your wallet, buy directly from independent artists. Also, with respect to hardware manufacturers.. again, vote with your wallet. Manufacturers or cartel associations (and their lapdog governments) that do not respect consumer fair use, or PRIVACY do not deserve consumer greenbacks. PERIOD!! You have to ask, who is actually the real pirate? It aint the consumers, it *is* the RIAAs, MPAAs and their crook international brethren. I'm VERY tired of my tax dollars being used to police senile industry distribution channels. The time has almost come when Adam Smith's invisible hand will break free again, and it's a clenched in a fist this time - thanks alot Greenspan, you freakin' genius.
        You can make it happen by voting with your wallets. Be forwarned though that the crookery of the IMF over the last several decades will mean that many people won't have anything in their wallets any damn way. So we'll be arguing about foodstuffs first :-) Grab a second hand guitar.... :-) and plant yourself a garden
    • by aussersterne (212916) on Friday January 18, 2002 @06:38PM (#2865131) Homepage
      I guess we can all be thankful that there was no big scribe's union when the printing press was invented.

      This analogy is broken. The problem isn't the unions. In fact, many of the entertainers' unions hate the RIAA/MPAA as much as the tech crowd does. Many performers (I have personal experience with musicians) are going broke while the RIAA/MPAA use their labor and creativity to rake in the dough.

      The RIAA/MPAA are not the scribes, they are the purveyors; they take what the scribes do and distribute it to the public. The RIAA/MPAA are the ultimate triumph of the bloodsucking middleman out to make a buck, nothing more, nothing less.

      Please don't blame unions.
    • What would have happened if Henry Ford's business had been killed in the beginning just because the horse carriage industry had seen him as a serious threat, and bribed the lawmakers to outlaw this stinking combustion engine. Where would USA be today? And where would European car industy be today, without American competition? Probably much ahead!

      As an European, I have nothing against American Law putting American business at a great disadvantage, as long as they don't imply that us Europeans should accept the same disadvantage just to protect American business...

      • Re:Better analogy (Score:2, Insightful)

        by MrResistor (120588)
        Then I hope you are doing everything in your power to bring down the WTO and all it's associated treaties, because it's already happening.

        Don't believe me? Then why was John Johanson (sp?) arrested for doing something that's perfectly legal in his country?

    • The real issue (which I first saw raised in Jessica Litman's _Digital Copyright_) is the way copyright legislation is "passed". It is basically a poster child for Special Interest Groups negotiating amongst themselves, while leaving out the General Public.

      As analogy, would the original US Constitution allowed slavery if black men had been allowed to participate in the Constitutional Convention?

      The fact is, in a fair negotiation, all parties that will be affected should be represented - wasn't that the basis of some party in Boston? - and copyright law is the most egregious example of what results when this does not happen. Consumers and artists (the RIAA represents content holders, *not* content creators) are not represented and wind up holding the shaft.
    • by richieb (3277) <richieb@NosPaM.gmail.com> on Friday January 18, 2002 @08:55PM (#2865839) Homepage Journal
      I just read a book on history of the relashionship between Islam and the West. Turns out that Islam had strong scribe guilds and the printing press was not used to print Arabic until 19th century.

      One could argue that the slower dissemination of information was one of the factors that led to decline of Islam, after about 1000 years of being the most powerful and advanced civilization in the world.

  • by Ryu2 (89645) on Friday January 18, 2002 @06:05PM (#2864911) Homepage Journal
    If you've noticed, the trend in the past 10-20 years or so has been for the entertainment hardware companies and the content companies to be acquired/merge/etc by one another. For instance, Sony owns Columbia, Matsushita (parent company of Panasonic) owns at least a stake in universal, etc. Or on the PC side, Microsoft is doing a lot with NBC.

    It's possibly scary because now, instead of facing inertia from the electronics firms in terms of integrating DRM, now it changes the economics of the sitation, because now it will be in the hardware companie's best interests.

    I don't know about this, but could this be perceived as possible anti-trust violation? Could you imagine if Microsoft bought a stake of a major PC maker?

    Hmmm.
  • by firewort (180062) on Friday January 18, 2002 @06:11PM (#2864952)
    I just received a letter from my senator, John Edwards (D-NC) on this very matter.

    He says "Thanks for contacting me to share your thoughts on the Security Systems Standards and Certification Act (SSSCA.) I appreciate hearing from you."

    "As you know, this legislation, which has not yet been officially introduced in the Senate, would prohibit the manufacture of digital devices which do not include government-sanctioned copyright-protection technologies. A number of people have expressed concerns that this proposed measure is overbroad and that its restrictions on the duplication and distribution of digital content could be harmful to the technology industry. I understand your concerns."

    "As a member of the Commerce Committee and the Judiciary Committee, I will keep your thoughts in mind should the SSSCA or similar legislation come before the Senate. I will also continue to consider ways to improve our copyright and internet security laws so they better serve the public. Your letter will help me in that work."

    "Again, thank you for contacting me. Please let me know if I can be of assistance in the future."
    "Yours sincerely, John Edwards"

    What scares me here is, the continued work to improve our copyright and internet security laws....
    • by Lysander Luddite (64349) on Friday January 18, 2002 @06:22PM (#2865028)
      This is the *exact* letter I got from my Senator that bothered to write me. I haven't heard from the other one (Senator Dayton) nor my Representative.

      Is it possible that the industry already has a form letter written for the legislators or do all legislator's staff write the same thing?
      • A senator will never send you a letter that says s/he disagrees with you.

        In fact, when there's a hot issue and they know it's hot, they probably have two form letters, one pro and one con.

        The people who read the mail for the senators send out the "pro" mail to the "pro" constituents and the "con" mail to the "con" constituents.

        Call it 'vote preservation'.
        • Incorrect-

          On several occasions, Jesse Helms (R-NC) wrote me letters thanking me for my opinion, but that he wholly disagreed with me.

          The last one I got with this sentiment was when I wrote protesting the extreme measures that Ashcroft asked for in USA PATRIOT.

          Helms wrote that he sided with Ashcroft.
      • Wouldn't the mod point wasted on the previous comment (about nipples) be better spent on the parent comment?

        I believe that very few people are using threshold 0, and they should see a lot of such comments made by ACs. I wouldn't worry much about them.

        On the other side, people who read at +3 are here to read good comments. They would win if an informative comment is moderated from +2 to +3. And these are the people who /. really needs, who can make /. better, unlike those who come here to read troll comments.

        Sorry for offtopic, but it's getting annoying.

      • by Aexia (517457) on Friday January 18, 2002 @07:00PM (#2865234)
        It's actually just a variant on the "I haven't taken a position on this issue yet" letter that every office uses.

        Dear Constituent,

        [Paragraph 1: Thank you for writing me with your concerns.]

        [Paragraph 2: Summary of issue that includes concerns by the letter writer so as to appear the Congressman is sympathic.]

        [Paragraph 3: As a member of Committee X, I will keep your views in mind. Thank you for writing me.]

        [Paragraph 4: Now piss off.]

        Sincerely,

        [insert sig graphic here]

        Congressman [Your name here]
    • I got the exact same letter yesterday.

      I actually talked to some John Edwards staffers in Raleigh back in September, and they didn't have any sort of problem saying with a straight face "So what's wrong with the current copyright laws? We don't have a problem with creators getting copyright protection for upward of 150 years."

      They also didn't seem concerned about DMCA levels of protection given to copyright holders at the expense of the citizens. When I brought up the problem of DMCA-protected copy prevention mechanisms and a theoretical expiration of copyright, they shrugged it off with "I'm sure something will take care of that." Fits along well with the recent story about the last whatever kind of reel-to-reel tape drive that was being made. In 150-ish years when the copyright expires on stuff made today on digital media, do you really think the technology to salvage it will still be around?

      So I'm not too thrilled with Sen. Edwards cluelevel, and would encourage my fellow North Carolinians to continue to try to either show him the light or vote for someone else.
  • by Sanity (1431) on Friday January 18, 2002 @06:12PM (#2864961) Homepage Journal
    With the recent advent of the "motor car", the horse and cart industry is seeing a new and fundamental threat. Our industry is responsible for a significant portion of US exports to our neighbours, and if the government does not take some measures to protect us, that revenue will be lost. We also employ thousands of skilled trades-people who will also lose their jobs if action is not taken to prevent these "motor cars" from destroying our industry.

    We propose that all motor cars be limited to 5 mph, redesigned to eat horse-nuts, and regularly drop excrement on the road where others might slip on it. Only through this can our industry, essential to the American economy, be protected from these new dangers.

    • It might seem funny to you, but don't underestimate the lobbyist of the horse and cart industry. They actually ended up winning something.

      The vehicle code in California (can't remember the article number on top of my head) states that all vehicles (including motor vehicles, obviously) must carry a bunch of straw in the trunk (for the horse, what do you think?)

      I stumbled into this when I moved to California 4 years ago, and had to go to the department of motor vehicle for a written exam. There was a question which asked about this obscure article, and the choices were true or false. I thought someone must be kidding, and obvisouly, I got it wrong.

    • > With the recent advent of the "motor car", the horse and cart industry is seeing a new and fundamental threat. [...]
      >
      >We propose that all motor cars be limited to 5 mph, redesigned to eat horse-nuts [...]

      You do realize that to this day, taxi drivers in London are required by law to have a bale of hay in the trunk, so that they may feed their horse?

  • Us vs. Them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phatdawg (22373) on Friday January 18, 2002 @06:12PM (#2864966)
    Taken to the extreme, the only way they will ever ensure rights management (whatever that means) is to encrypt the data stream from head to tail. This is a boon for everyone involved. Hardware manufacturers will build new hardware to support encrypted content, software manufacturers will write software to run on that hardware, chip makers will make chips fast enought o support the new software. It's a win from top to bottom in the industry. People will pay per view/listen and the rights stream will be assured. The government will love it because they get to collect taxes. This is a Orwellian Utopia. Of course Michael Eisner loves it. The only person who gets screwed is the consumer.

    Screwed is the right word. This will kill independent/non-commerical artistic work (you won't be able to use that perfect U2 song for your student film). It will cause a huge social detriment (If I hadn't pirated everything I could get my hands on ten years ago, I would be a administrative assistant instead of a network architect. Side note: I would also not be recommending the purchases of volume license of the program to businesses).

    This is our society marching towards a new caste system. We are already being turned into one big sheep, consuming what we are given.

    There is a huge solution, though... Let's turn the TV off and stop listening to commercial radio. Expand your horizons and listen to indy media. Take a walk or read a book, or hell, write a book. Stop playing video games and watching TV. Stop wasting life with instant gratification.

    Mass media is the new religion (how many people attend the church of the West Wing every Wednesday?) and religion is a tool to keep the masses in check. How does that make you feel? How does it make you feel that Michael Eisner is using the money you paid for your kids to see the lastest proprietary disney fable as a detriment to their creative futures?
    • There is a huge solution, though... Let's turn the TV off...

      Can I wait until 24 is over?
    • Re:Us vs. Them (Score:3, Informative)

      by aussersterne (212916)
      I think most educated people are aware of this (certainly most of the people at my university were) and in my humanities department at least, were discussing the implications for the future of US society.

      Over the last 100 years we've had mass migration into centralized urban areas and a kind of centralized media culture.

      I think it would be terribly interesting if, over the next 100 years, we saw a mass exodus of the intelligencia out of media culture and perhaps even physically out of the US and EU. It sounds far-fetched, and yet there are so many very intelligent students who graduated at the same time as me whose only goal is to get out of the western market lifestyle at any cost because they feel that the nature of ideas has been fundamentally changed, from a kind of forum for the enrichment of man to a tightly-controlled, tightly-protected profit-making establishment serving only this new caste system.

      Many of them in the technical fields feel that independent thought is not only threatened, but is dangerous to engage in. Witness Skylarov. It is truly bizarre to hear so many different friends who don't know each other all talking about moving out of the US and the west, because of the current intellictual environment, to the desert, to the jungle, to south america, to asia...
    • Slashdot should sponsor a boycott in protest of these changes, just to remind the industry that the consumer is king.

      Slashdot has a quite a bit of influence among the technically inclined, who buy a lot of stuff. The admins could break this site out of the news and bitching mode and into a proactive force... if they wanted to. I think a TV boycott would be hard to pull off - but a music or theater or DVD boycott wouldn't. Hell, if we got enough momentum we might actually be able to kill the incredibly corrupt music and radio industries off, and then see to it that it was rebuilt around the artists instead of parasitic companies. And once you've scarred one industry the rest will think twice before screwing the consumer.
    • Re:Us vs. Them (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wfrp01 (82831)
      The government will love it because they get to collect taxes. This is a Orwellian Utopia. Of course Michael Eisner loves it. The only person who gets screwed is the consumer.

      I have to disagree that the only person who gets screwed is the consumer. I'd also throw in the government (who is also a consumer, but I'm quibbling). Imagine this: Federal legislation mandating security measures be built into hardware. On top of that, run a digital rights management operating system - provided by MS, of course, since they own the patent. Combine with the encrypted data stream you mention.

      Now what have you got? You have a computer system over which you have literally lost control. There is no possible way that you could know everything this system is doing. Of course this is bad for the consumer. But remember, the government is also a consumer. A very large consumer. A consumer who's participation is required in order to realize this dystopian vision.

      And that is where I see a ray of hope. If our government can be made to realize that supporting such efforts could, quite literally, usurp their control over the systems used to manage our country, I would hope they would take pause. And after a pause, I'd hope they'd bitch slap the evil robber barons promoting these measures until they're sobbing crybabies.
  • Movies make money (Score:3, Insightful)

    by w.p.richardson (218394) on Friday January 18, 2002 @06:12PM (#2864969) Homepage
    Movies will not be "put out of business" because there is a value added aspect of seeing a movie in a theater. The scents, sounds, and the experience are something that can't be duplicated at home currently. Even if I could copy movies perfectly and view them at home, I would still go to the theater because I like it, it's that simple.

    Creating crippled hardware wont make any difference in my behavior, and I suspect that it won't change anyone else's either.

    • (Slightly off topic)

      However, movies don't make a lot of money in the box office. From the MPAA's 2000 US Economic review [mpaa.org], they state the new high is only $7.66 billion. Videocasette sales [mpaa.org], at an average of say (guessing) $20 each, were only $12.4B (rental casettes are charged differently thanks to Blockbuster's efforts.)

      Compared to telecom, Internet, autos, pharmecuticals(sp), etc, at $20B this is a *very* small industry. It's simply amazing how much control they wield.
      • > However, movies don't make a lot of money in the box office. From the MPAA's 2000 US Economic review [mpaa.org], they state the new high is only $7.66 billion. Videocasette sales [mpaa.org], at an average of say (guessing) $20 each, were only $12.4B (rental casettes are charged differently thanks to Blockbuster's efforts.)
        >
        > Compared to telecom, Internet, autos, pharmecuticals(sp), etc, at $20B this is a *very* small industry. It's simply amazing how much control they wield.

        Agreed. The only conclusion I can draw is that Hollywood lobbyists must be able to procure better-quality cocaine and/or bigger-titted hookers for the relevant Congressmen.

        Personally, I'd like to see the tech industry fight back on this one. "Please don't jeopardize the $500B-1T/year tech economy for the sake of the $20B/year in chickenfeed produced by the entertainment yokels."

  • ..that they will go away if congress dose not pass this law? :)
  • As the article said, the process of setting the standard is going quite slowly. I find it quite humorous that the process for setting the standard is rarely fast enough to keep up with the process of hacking it. Granted, it may be more difficult to hack hardware. But it's still done. Take a look at how long a game console is released before it's hacked. I don't think that they can implement the hardware copyright on all digital media before a solution for this kind of corporate fascism takes hold.

    On the other hand...if they do...we'll have plenty to keep us busy for a couple years!
  • by SmurfButcher Bob (313810) on Friday January 18, 2002 @06:19PM (#2864997) Journal
    Philips had the great insight that it isn't copy protection, it's actually a "mechanism for stopping the playback of music", which it is.

    "The Music Industry's" intention is to thwart PC playback until a later date, when CDDrives that enforce copy protection will be available.

    My question - this obviously forces a spurious obsolence of existing CDDrives, for the sole purpose of forcing the above upgrade which has no actual benefit to consumers, and screws every existing CDDrive Mfg on the market. Doesn't this border on a predatory innovation under anti-trust laws?

    I'd love to hear some insight on this.

    -SBB
    • "Doesn't this border on a predatory innovation?" Only if there's a monopoly. These are oligopolies, so the antitrust laws don't apply.
    • I don't know how many people noticed this part of the article at the end, but Mike Godwin at law.com clearly has a pretty poor opinion of the Hollings bill. And he's challenging us to take notice and do something. Are slashdot and the EFF going to bark all day like little doggies, or are they gonna bite?

      What gets lost in the debate is the voice of consumers -- whatever they are called. Maybe they are willing to trade away open, robust, relatively simple digital tools for a more constrained digital world in which they have more content choices. But maybe they aren't. The Hollings bill is unlikely to attract them to the debate, pitched as a "security standard" rather than as a new copyright law.

      Like the larger philosophical war that is raging around the world in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, the looming war between these two sides has the potential to be a long, difficult fight without a foreseeable conclusion. And if and when peace talks begin between the two sides, there's no guarantee that the rest of us will have a seat at the table.

  • by e1en0r (529063) on Friday January 18, 2002 @06:20PM (#2865011) Homepage
    "the Hollings bill would make it a civil offense to develop a new computer or related technology that does not include a federally approved security standard preventing the unlicensed copying of copyrighted works. In at least one version, the law would make it a felony to remove a watermark or flag from copyrighted content. It would also outlaw logging onto the Internet with any computer that removes or sidesteps the copy protection technology. "

    So, if this gets passed, would we all be forced to upgrade our computers before we can legally log on to the internet? I can't imagine that most Americans would be able to afford this. Will the Cyber Police haul away Joe Poorman for not being able to afford an upgrade? And what about people in other countries? Could they use their old computers?
    • by Masem (1171) on Friday January 18, 2002 @07:00PM (#2865235)
      People keep overlooking that SSSCA had a grandfather clause that any hardware/software made before a given date (I believe 2 years after passage) would not be subject to such rules.

      Not that I'm agreeing with anything in that bill, only that it would not require forced upgrades, etc. as many many many people mistakening state.

  • "It would also outlaw logging onto the Internet with any computer that removes or sidesteps the copy protection technology.


    Tell me that doesn't scare every one of you.

    • call me a crook, and throw me in jail, because I will NEVER, and I mean NEVER, obey this proposed law.
    • Hummm ... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheViffer (128272)
      sounds like a good time to buy Cisco since all routers, hubs, etc would also have to get destroyed.

      I guess the old saying (joke) "The Internet is Down" would actually mean something.
    • Because it is an absolutely unworkable law. It cannot be enforced. They might as well requires all cars to drive as 100 years ago, limited to walking speed following a flagman. Or require everyone to salute cops and call them Sir Yer Royal Higness Sir.

      When they stoop to unenfiorceable laws like this, it is a sure sign they are running scared.

      Let's suppose the silly thing passed. They'd have to redesign the hardware of course. Make it not work with old hardware. Well, let's call that doable.

      Now how do they ban Linux, *BSD, etc? They have to, you know. The hardware won't protect Hollywood without the right (M$) software, you do understand that? Right, good. Now let's suppose they make distribution of free source OSes illegal. They will certainly shut down major servers after many court battles. Let's suppose they do so. Let's suppose that the only way to distribute Linux is via anonymous news groups, or email with friends, etc.

      Obviously they can't crack down on every single person. They probably couldn't even crack down on enough of them to scare everybody else off. So how do they stop people from working on free source OSes?

      They make compilers illegal, that's how. Just like they made Linux and *BSD illegal. They have to, because you couldn't make a compiler which recognizes (and refuses to compile) operating systems, as opposed to harmless applications.

      Now tell me, how much of this can they really get away with? I say none of it. Even if they were naive enough to pass the legislation, by the time the courts got done with it, there wouldn't be anything left worth spitting on. The practical aspects of it would get people's attention and there would be so many loopholes that it would be a seive.

      IT IS UNWORKABLE and a sign of desperation. They know they have lost. When will you realize it too?
    • If I can't copy shit... why am I going to get on the internet.?

      Seriously though, the problem is no good content is legally available.

      I'm paying money for cable internet, but there is little available to fill this bandwidth. Except! pr0n, warez, media.

      Since my ISP ownes the rights to most of the content out there, they shouldn't be mad if I take something for myself.

      I've found a place to watch Gorillas in full screen-awsome quality Real video. Other than this, there is very little out there besides bland web-pages. Sure getting linux iso's is nice, but that's a small part of the broadband market. One page I like is netbroadcaster.com, even though it's pop-up city.

      Stop piracy? Give us something else to do.
  • by TheViffer (128272) on Friday January 18, 2002 @06:22PM (#2865025)
    to get such "cops" into hardware.

    Case in point, the serial numbers in Pentium Chips. Everyone from the biggest geek down to your 90 year old grandma was screeming bloody murder about it. So much that (I believe) Intel has stopped the practice. Or if they havent, the bios can quickly disable this "feature"

    The problem with hardware is "who is going first". Answer? No one. Its suicide. If Intel came out today and said our chips have the new "super-duper-clipper-dipper-chip" in it that stops all copying of copyright material (work with me on this one). AMD's stock would FLY through the roof, people would flock to AMD processors, and AMD would be king.

    Until there is either an extremely fierce law or just one vender who makes hardware X, it is nothing but talk and wants by some very uneducated people who believe that a computer can do anything. Well there partially correct, computers can do anything, but others (programmer, hardware manufactors, etc) can do anything to stop there "anything". Nothing is "unbreakable".
  • copyright is dead (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joshuaos (243047) <ouroboros@STRAWf ... .com minus berry> on Friday January 18, 2002 @06:24PM (#2865043) Journal
    We've been able to copy VHS for over a decade and they're still making movies. Does anyone really think that the movie industry will be eradicated due to copyright infringment?

    The power of the internet is very different than VHS tapes. As bandwidth grows, and storage increases, no technology, with the possible exception of hardware protections (I for one think that widespread use of hardware protection would lead to an underground hardware market), copyright will not be able to survive. Copyright is a concept that only works when the medium and the media can't be separated. You can't separate a book from it's words, or a VHS tape from it's movie. Sure, you can copy it, but only to another medium. We now have a medium that is flexible enough to functionally separate the two.

    I don't understand why anyone but the music industry cares if technology has made the business model of the industry unprofitable and unnecessary. I'm' sure the horse and buggy industry was pissed about cars, but I don't hear them still complaining (overused example, I know, sorry). Yet a lot of people actually seem to buy this whining about the death of the recording industry.

    The internet is a big leap in human technology, and it's made a lot of our laws unaplicable. That's okay, lots of the laws that the founders of this country thought were a good idea, but we don't have around anymore. Why? Because things change, and the laws have to change with them. Copyright (and eventually the pattent system), are over. Deal with it, and move on hardware manufacturers/music industry/everyone else.

    Cheers, Joshua

    • There are problems with your argument. First off, the well used "Horse and Buggy" analogy doesn't apply here. The Horse and Buggy was not an industry, and it did NOT have the money and power of Movie and Music industries behind it.

      The movie and music business has made a great deal of money through the use (or misuse) of copyrights and the patent system. That money and power can and will be brought to bear to protect those things, whether we like it or not.

      Death of the system? No, not for a very long time. Only the death of some of our freedom will result from this.

    • by jhines0042 (184217)
      The internet is a big leap in human technology, and it's made a lot of our laws unaplicable. That's okay, lots of the laws that the founders of this country thought were a good idea, but we don't have around anymore. Why? Because things change, and the laws have to change with them. Copyright (and eventually the pattent system), are over. Deal with it, and move on hardware manufacturers/music industry/everyone else.

      You make some very good points.

      But:

      1) I'm sure that lots of individual horse farmers and buggy builders would have taken issue with losing their livelihood. There never was a mega-corporation with hundreds of lawyers employing tens of thousands of people to produce ONE brand of buggies or ONE herd of horses.

      2) Artists whose works can be copied perfectly due to digital technology (music, movies etc...) stand to lose lots of money. I know that much of the money never makes it to the artists and that most of it gets into the hands of the mega-corporation. However without some form of copyright laws the artists would get nothing at all. As a result artists would either a) not make art, b) not share their art except at closely held screenings, c) start charging a whole lot more for the copies that you can get.

      3) It is not possible to reproduce an oil painting perfectly for example (at least not that I'm aware of) without using a forger, oil paints, and lots of time. But if a technology came about that allowed you to copy an oil painting (just as one example) perfectly.... then the market for oil paintings would collapse. But there is something there in owning the original and not a copy so even then there would not be a total collapse of the market.

      Without copyright laws I predict that we would have to pay a whole lot more to enjoy our music, our movies. We would go back in time to the age of Live Performances. Opera, Plays, Concerts would rise in prominence. You would need to hire musicians to ride in your car if you wanted to hear music there. Why?

      Because there would be no incentive.

      From an economics standpoint there would be INFINITE supply versus FINITE demand. NO MONEY COULD BE MADE.
      • As a result artists would either a) not make art, b) not share their art except at closely held screenings, c) start charging a whole lot more for the copies that you can get.

        So your saying, "art for art's sake" will be rendered obselete too?

        We would go back in time to the age of Live Performances. Opera, Plays, Concerts would rise in prominence.
        Is that such a bad thing? No more pre-digested digitally-mangled record company pap for your ears?
        Music made by people that care enough about their music to play their own instruments and write their own songs?

        Because there would be no incentive.
        The only incentive real artists need is themslves.
        In a world without copyright, people would still produce art. They would still record and still make movies.
        Humans were creating artistic works before money even existed.
        People will still buy art, too-
        partly because people like it and want to support the creation of more, and partly because for many people, copying takes more effort than just going to the store and buying it.

        C-X C-S
    • By this reasoning, movies should have killed live theater since "nobody" would choose to get dressed up to look at distant figures instead of watching nice clean closeups in the comfort of jeans (or less, if watching at home.)

      Records and CDs should have killed concerts.

      All this technological change will do is eliminate the blood-suckers who act as middlemen between performers and audiences. It means that the market for a recorded performance may dry up, but the artists will be able to sell live performances to fans who are unable to attend in person.

      The result will be a blooming of creativity. If you have _a_ performance of the Nutcracker Ballet, you're going to play it straight. If you have a live high-quality video feed to people willing to pay a reasonable fee (say 1/10th the price of a ticket to the actual performance), you'll be able to see a straight performance. You'll be able to see the 'cracked' performance that's often done at the close of the season, when all of the performers (and the audience) blow off some steam. You'll be able to see some experimental productions, where up-and-coming directors get a change to try out ideas.

      Same thing with concerns. Performers can't stray too far from what they did on their albums because a lot of the people in the audience will be pissed if they pay $50+ and don't hear what they expected to hear. But if you can pay $5 for a feed from the current live performance on a concert tour, the artists will have more flexibility - especially if they announce that some of the dates will be more experimental than others. Listen to a night of jazz with Garth Brooks, or the down home back street boys.

      If you care about the art, there's no question that hardware protection will be a disaster. Not only would you have the current pressures to do more of the same damn thing, you couldn't even let "black market" experimental stuff out to see how well it would fly. "Art" would be reduced to what middle-aged accountants like. *shudder*
  • The Great Lie (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rayonic (462789) on Friday January 18, 2002 @06:34PM (#2865103) Homepage Journal
    I keep hearing the same argument over and over again that I figure it deserves some recognition.

    The Great Lie is as follows: Without us (your friendly neighborhood content conglomerate) the entire well of human creativity would dry up!

    Let me elaborate. They're saying that without the RIAA and it's member companies, nobody would create any more music! Without the MPAA and the big studios, we'd never see any more new movies. The Lie is that without big, greedy corporations continuing Business As Usual, nothing new or original would ever produced, ever.

    History proves otherwise, though. Already we've seen small bands create their own music and give it away online, just for the exposure. In a few years of technological advancement, any talented bunch of people will be able to make their own "Hollywood style" movie at home. Writings? Ha! People will gladly write free work on any subject imaginable [fanfiction.net].

    Heck, some people [somethingawful.com] even lose money bringing original content to the masses.

    So you see, whatever happens, you can't stifle human creativity. No matter how hard you try. We don't need Them to entertain us anymore; and the only reason they're still around - the only reason they were ever around in the first place - is by our good graces.
  • by leto (8058) on Friday January 18, 2002 @06:35PM (#2865112) Homepage
    See trustedpc.org [trustedpc.org] the "Trusted Computing Platform Alliance, or TCPA, formed by Compaq, HP, IBM, Intel and Microsoft.

    It "trusts" the hardware from a special chip on the mainboard, which trusts the BIOS, which trusts the Harddisk bootblock, which trusts the OSloader, which trusts the OS, which trusts the software application, which trusts the stream. This is done through a "privacy certificate agency" that just identifies your pc uniquely (and really, we will not keep records of who you are, those will be destroyed after you've submitted your identity and we have checked it!)

    Ofcourse, trust here doesn't mean that YOU can trust your PC, but that THEY can trust YOUR PC.

    If this standard makes it, the opensource community has a big problem.
  • killing bambi (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wfrp01 (82831) on Friday January 18, 2002 @06:36PM (#2865120) Journal
    ...not introducing hardware copyright protection ( as well as copy protection built into OS, Software, Web Browsers and Routers ) would eventually lead to the "industry's destruction"

    Two things. One, such a statement is gross hyperbole.

    But two, so what?! The argument IP proponents always make is that they need more and more government protection or their industry will suffer. Well maybe it should suffer. If you build a business method on an anachronism, you will, and should, suffer. You should suffer, because this is how the economy minimizes the amount of total suffering. Which is what lawmakers should really be concerned about. The economy as a whole - not particular outdated outliers.
  • Maybe the problem is the idea of the "content industry" in the first place.

    Those words show just how much meaning art has to these executives -- zero. "Content" is a way of referring to art as commodity, and it devalues both the artist and audience into sellers and buyers in a market.

    Maybe we don't NEED an industry to feed us "content" anymore. Maybe we can make it up and share it amongst ourselves. Maybe we'll pay those of us who we really like. Maybe we won't be bamboozled by the bright lights of big money spectacles anymore. Without their ludicrously large promotion budgets, the Nsyncs and the Pearl Harbors of the world will fade away, replaced by new choices that mean something.

    I think it's this future that we're seeing emerge, and I find a lot of hope in it. I think it terrifies the "content industry". And it makes me glad. Because to be successful, their content will have to become art again.
  • He argues that the protection system is not a protection system as such, but simply a mechanism for stopping the playback of music. This interesting claim allows him to contend that the protection systems are not covered by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, and lays the ground for the mother of all sue-fests with the number of large and rich companies who are most certainly not going to agree with him. Tin hats all round.

    If they can manage to do damage using that particular argument, then DeCSS cases and anything related to it can also be won. "Playback protection != Copy protection"!! If the courts agree, then DeCSS's arguments will definitely hold the water in the courts. And then it may even break up the whole "playback license" issue as well!

    This is an exciting case where two companies butt heads instead of "politician-buying-corporate-interests" vs. 'the people.' Obviously, the people no longer have influence... and that makes perfect sense since the people don't elect the officials any more... clearly, the corporate interests buy their people into office.

    Yes! This is HATE SPEECH! I hate where politics have gone and that they forgot where they came from.
  • `` Supporters of the Hollings proposal
    don't couch the legislation in terms of
    protecting embattled copyright
    interests. They frame it as a measure
    designed to promote digital content
    and the use of broadband, high-speed
    Internet services. If Hollywood could
    be assured that its content would be
    protected on the broadband Internet,
    the argument goes, it would develop
    more compelling programs for the
    Web and spur greater consumer
    demand for broadband.''

    Excuse me. The single greatest spurs for broadband *ALREADY* exist; Hell, hollywood is doing their utmost to shut them down. They're Napster, Morpheus, Gnutella.

    If it hadn't been for those programs, internet bandwidth would be a fraction what it is now. Furthermore, there'd be much less reason to PURCHASE broadband anymore.

    Hollywood: If you don't put your own goods online now, where people want them, then someone else will do it for you. (which is already occurring.)
    • > Hollywood: If you don't put your own goods online now, where people want them, then someone else will do it for you. (which is already occurring.)

      Precisely.

      What's more use to the country's long-term economic prospects?

      A $20B/year industry (MPAA+RIAA) being able to enforce copy control so that next year it's a $22B/year?

      A $600B/year industry (telecom) being forced, by customer demand, to deliver last-mile solutions and broadband to the home, so that consumers can use P2P solutions to copy music and movies at will? Every home will have on-demand access to every movie and every song ever recorded, ever. (Remember the old Qwest commercials?)

      I say torpedo Hollyweird, and let the chips fall where they may. And the fiber light up where it may. And the hard drives spin. And the PC upgrades flourish.

      Never mind the long-term, what's likely to cause a short-term pickup in telecom capital expenditures? Demand, that's what.

      Content drives demand. The content's out there - in the form of CDs and DVDs. The tools are out there - MP3 encoders, DiVX encoders, PCs. The leading edge of P2P users can do all the "work" of encoding and uploading it. Your Grandmother only needs to know she wants to download it.

      All that's missing is Congress passing one simple bill - that would release artists and end-users from the MPAA's yoke by limiting copyright protection to 5 years.

      To Congress: Abandon the $20B/year dinosaurs and spur economic growth by turning to the $600B/year tech industry. Don't forego building the interstate highway system in order to appease buggy-whip manufacturers.

  • by The Cat (19816) on Friday January 18, 2002 @06:40PM (#2865142)
    I was in a well-known copying establishment a couple of days ago, watching a small, polite, quiet woman at the counter talking to the attendant:

    Woman: "I'd like a copy of this please" (holds out inkjet print of a picture)

    Attendant: "I'm sorry, but that picture is copyrighted. I can't copy it."

    I was floored. I got really, REALLY angry for a moment, then started thinking: do these people have a neural link to the Library of Congress? How do they know it's copyrighted? What if it's public domain?

    The woman was crestfallen. So I said:

    "She might be planning to make Fair Use of that picture."

    Attendant: "Still can't copy it. It's our policy. It's only Fair Use if it's educational."

    To which I replied:

    "or journalistic, or non-commercial and limited in other ways, or for criticism, or properly attributed. There are four criteria for Fair Use."

    So I asked the lady, "what's it for, school report or something?" and she says yes, that her daughter was going to use it for school. So I turned to the attendant and said

    "There you go, black-letter Fair Use."

    He just shakes his head, still refusing.

    Is this what we're looking forward to? Copyright police behind the counter at copy places? Taking an I.P. attorney's pager number along as well? I really felt bad for this lady. It was late and she looked very tired and the report was probably due the next day. I'm sure whoever made that picture would have filed an immediate Federal injunction to bar this woman's daughter from turning in her report before requesting a licensing fee schedule.
    (uh huh). I actually considered going back to the office and making something similar in Bryce for her to use with a signed letter placing my picture in the public domain.

    I kind of wished she had brought her daughter along. Imagine the media frenzy/public relations disaster possibilities of a copy place attendant, arms folded, refusing to copy a picture for a crying 5th grader's school report. heh heh heh.

    It's sad, and it has absolutely *nothing* to do with the original purpose of copyright law. This needs to be fixed, and soon.
    • i agree, but having worked at kinkos before for over 2 years - they have to have all there employees be dicks about that because they have and had several lawsuits filed against them for copyright infringment for letting people make copies out of books and even profesionally taken photos - ie: you go to the corner photo store to have your family pictures taken - you go to kinkos and make copies - the photo place finds out and files a lawsuite against - you guest it - kinkos - why? because they consider there photos copyrighted. - its stupid but it happens.
    • a well-known copying establishment
      I assume you mean Kinko's. They were seriously burned about seven years ago when several large textbook publishers sued them from making their "couseworks" packages... copies of teacher selections from textbooks all bound together in a nice package... *much* cheaper for students (esp. in poorer communities). It would have cost more than it was worth to get permission for every single passage. Since then, they have been training all "co-workers" (ha!) to refuse to copy any material that they suspect is copyrighted.

      It's a shame.

    • For the fun of it, maybe I should see if I can copy some of my own stuff (pictures - professional looking) [earthlink.net] at kinkos.

      When they tell me no, I'll then Ask them if they have a release form I can sign for them. I bet they don't have one.
  • I don't see what Hollywood is so worried about. For a DVD to be pirated, it means at least one person at some point bought a legitimate copy of it.

    For the vast majority of crappy movies Hollywood puts out, one person buying a DVD copy is pretty optimistic sales prediction, DeCSS or no DeCSS.
  • Let them get into this stupid scheme of hardware protection. When every manufacturer got into it, I'll start a company that manufactures old style hardwares, with a label saying that the hardware is not compliant and must not be used for playing the "compliant contents".

    The trick is to publish details hardware specs, and make the hardware such that the microcode can be upgraded, and that it is easy to do too.

    With all these OSS hackers creating new softwares for my hardwares, the market is all mine.

    It's like making guns. The manufacturer doesn't care (or pretends it) how you use the gun. They just label it as a tool. You do whatever you want. My hardware is also a tool, you do whatever you want with it. And obviously, I'll have very good support for OSS hackers too :)
  • I mention again.. if your going to bitch, Bitch Productively. Ranting on /. is good for one thing alone: Getting ideas up to write your congresspersons. If you don't agree with something, use due process. Don't make the call of anarchy - change using the established CCS. For god sakes, use the same (Real IT, not Open Source im-14-and-a-sysadmin-for-mynameco-industries) methodologies you would use for anything else. Structured Change. Its how it happens, folks. That and bribes. Big hoking bribes.

    Anways, I feel obligated to point out:

    www.house.gov
    www.senate.gov
    www.whitehouse.gov

    also let the MPAA/RIAA know. All you do by biznitchin here is ruff up feathers, get everyone hot and bothered, and then.. do nothing else. Evaluate your goals, and take steps towards it.

    Just my $0.02
  • If Eisner is so concerned about the industry's destruction, why doesn't he consider what his customers want? I realize that most people have the IQ of various garden vegetables, but I'm not going to buy something that's a pain in the ass to use. If all of this copy protection crap becomes mandatory, I'll just have to fall back on all the books I've been stockpiling at about 5 cents each. I already have enough to last me many, many years, so I think I can afford to miss the characters on Friends whining and the characters on ER facing yet another personal crisis that has nothing to do with medicine (yes, I know that those are on NBC and Disney owns ABC, but I don't know what shows are on ABC, I don't even know what number channel it is around here), not to mention the recent torture fad... I suppose I should start recording the few good shows out there that aren't likely to be released on a reasonably priced set of DVDs (not that I particularly care for CSS and region coding, but at least there are ways around those) while I'm at it. It feels like an information cold war - better stock up while you can, it might not be around tomorrow...



  • ...it was accompanied by 1) a significant increase in the definition of "fair use," and b) a serious reduction in the length of copyrights.

    I like the musicians I listen to enough to pay them for their work. And I have little interest in making massive copies of the latest albums to distribute on the net for free. I understand that these people need to get paid for the investment they make in artists.

    So they can put DRM stuff in my CD burner, I'm cool with that. But the trade off for them doing so is that they have to release their choke hold on creative works. I want copyrights that last for an absolute maximum of 10 years before the work goes into the public domain. I want to burn my sister one of my CDs for her birthday. I want to be able to remix tunes and post them on the Internet. Or add a soundtrack to my home movies.

    Basically, if the content industry wants all of this additional ability to protect their copyright, I want something in return: COMPULSORY LICENSING. I have no issue with paying a nominal fee to these people so that I can remix their music and post it online as my own work. That seems rather fair to me.

    It breaks down like this: copy protection is going to happen. There's too much money in it for the tech companies. Now as I see it, we have two choices here- we can either 1) fight this legislation, and spend valuable game playing time figuring out how to crack the latest encryption schemes, or b) utilize this opportunity to get some copyright laws that make sense.

    • > So they can put DRM stuff in my CD burner, I'm cool with that. But the trade off for them doing so is that they have to release their choke hold on creative works. I want copyrights that last for an absolute maximum of 10 years before the work goes into the public domain.

      You raise an interesting point.

      Patent protection is ~17 years.

      Copyright protection is over 75 years.

      The limitation on patent protection is essentially the tradeoff you described. If Pfizer develops a wonder-drug, in exchange for telling everyone how to make it, they get the exclusive right to make it or license its manufacture.

      I'd argue the 'net has turned copyright into exactly the same deal as patents, and that therefore, the length of time for copyright protection ought to be no longer than that afforded patents.

      In the Bad Old Days, the act of publishing a dead-tree book, or a wax cylinder or vinyl recording, didn't "tell the world how to create their own copies". It was a physical object, and you invested a lot of money in the printing presses and pressing plants used to create the objects. Creating and distributing the physical object didn't give anyone the ability to create one for themselves.

      But now, the act of pressing bits onto aluminum, whether in DVD or CD form, does place the instructions for reproducing the work into the public sphere. Just as Pfizer's patent application for Viagra tells anyone how to make a happy little blue pill, the little plastic discs you buy at the movie or music store tell anyone how to reproduce a work of music or film.

      And yet, someone would have you believe that patents are only worthy of 17 years' protection, after which enough economic value should have been wrung out that anyone can make "generics".

      ...and these same someones (we call 'em legislators) tell us, in the same breath, that copyrights ought to apply for 75 years after the creator's death. (And no doubt, 95 years when Eisner decides the Rat's time is almost up).

      It's time a judge realized that the act of releasing a copyrighted work on a digital medium is fundamentally no different than filing a patent -- it's a way of telling the world how to create something neat -- and that the protections afforded copyrighted works should be cut back, at a minimum to the 17 years currently afforded patents.


  • Everyone knows that copyright (and other IP) laws are a balance. Maybe we could restore some of that balance if they were applied across the board. Let's require the same level of "protection" for our own personal data that the corps demand for their content:

    all personal data must be put in some special encrypted file format, with tags which say who it belongs to and a "license" for accessing it legally.

    a PDAA (personal data access association) might arrange licenses to purchase use of personal data. It will be copyrighted for 150 years of course.

    The hardware that telemarketers, customer databases, marketing depts. use must have built in protection to respect the limits in the above file formats.

    federal raids and frequent audits to make sure no one is accessing the data without a license.

    I'd personally like to make a statement which must be viewed and acknowledged each time any of my data is accessed. I might license my data for a bit more in exchange for disabling this feauture.

    criminal penalties, pressure on the rest of the world to adopt similar laws, etc. need to be included.

    Sounds too burdensome? Takes away the rights of businessess?

    Well.. maybe we can work out a cross-licensing agreement.

  • The Book Precedent (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Atreides4 (309781)
    Think about the book, that ancient storage miracle. There's nothing in a book to prevent someone from copying it, short of the "if this book has been stripped" moral appeal inside some. And widespred photocopying of books does go on, as does some (limited) net piracy.
    In the early days of the printing press, illegal copying was much more widespread than it is now. Gradually, it dissipated in the First World, but not to due to any kind of technological enhancement of the book. It was due to old-fashioned laws, cops, courts, and decreased acceptance of pirated works. Also helpful was the library, which allowed the sharing of works so sholars didn't have to own every book they worked with.
    Despite the technological vulnerabilities of the book, centuries of change and the web the book publishers are still here, and still raking in the dough. The book publishers reluctantly accept used bookstores and libaries, and you could make a good case they benefit greatly from them, because they encourage a literate population that will buy their works.
    While I realize that the printing press is a far from perfect analogy to the Internet, (copying by press is much harder than point and click) both were quantum leaps in communication. The printing press certainly didn't destroy creativity and artists, and in fact greatly aided both. I believe that the same will be true of hte Internet, that making communication easier always stimulates creativity.
    I also wonder if the "content companies" will just accept a certain level of piracy as the cost of doing business as background noise and accept like the book publishers have taht people are willing to pay a premium for clean, easy to use, legal content. And also realize that police and society will tend to kill the larger offenders.
  • * It is easier. Computer with a CD-burner and a fast connection is everything that is needed and it is faster too. Burning a CD is a 10 minute job. Copying VHS movies takes time. Same thing with music - not so anymore (combine that with the last point).
    * It is cheaper. CD-R's are dirt cheap.
    * The quality is mostly better or at least good enough.
    * No quality loss when copying.

    The last point is important - earlier, the copying was limited because the copy was not as good as the original - not so any longer. Makes spreading stuff much easier.

    I'm not defending RIAA or MPAA, but I understand why they are worried.

  • by cryptochrome (303529) on Friday January 18, 2002 @07:12PM (#2865284) Journal
    We should be allowed to copy, distribute, and especially modify TV and movies as we choose. If such a new paradigm means that the only way the producers can be compensated for their productions is pay-per-view and per-use billing, that's fine with me - so long as that billing is a fair price, it's low enough for everyone to afford (and it's WAY higher than it should be at the moment), and it passes into the public domain in a reasonable time.

    Why am I saying this? Because the biggest problem with the media today is that the producers, and the government, and especially the distributors exert entirely too much control over how and where their products are used, which is precisely the reason the US constitution was so specific regarding copyright and patenting. There is nothing inherently wrong with copying someone's idea or work, despite people's territorial urge to the contrary. Art and invention rest on foundations of previous ideas and works laid down over the years, to the benefit of everyone. The free dissemination of ideas enriches all involved and in turn allows further improvement and better understanding. Governments (or at least the US government) and companies have no business telling you whether and how you use that information - that's censorship. This is why allowing people to modify works is so important. Excerpting clips, commenting (via additional media tracks in the case of video), parodying, and most importantly translating (as in the case of fansubs) works allows people to fully utilize them.

    The only argument (besides matters of national security like nuclear technology, or products of criminal acts like child porn) against allowing people to copy freely is that it would remove the profit motive (and how strongly the profit motive is relative to other factors is a matter of some controversy), thus encouraging secrecy or discouraging people from innovating altogether. Thus patents and copyrights are granted for only a set period of time to allow their makers to recoup their expenses. They are a bargain created to serve the public good by encouraging innovation and dissemination of those innovations. People used to understand that, but greedy companies and their lawyers have obscured that through intimidation (as in the case of Disney) and legal loopholes (as in the double whammy of restrictive software licensing and anti-circumvention legislation) to devastating effect.

    (I apologize, this is a repeat of an earlier post I made on a story that was already off the front page - so I decided to reuse it)
  • by beej (82035)
    I'm sure of it. Bigtime piracy houses, sure they care. But just consumer piracy out there, I'm sure they don't. Seriously, Joe Blow isn't going to buy the movie anyway, so who cares (from a fiscal standpoint) if he has a pirated copy?

    Keep you eye on the prize, they say, and the prize is this: pay for play. These guys won't rest (because they're out for profit) until you are paying for every single viewing of their movies. This kind of legislation facilitates that and the piracy issue is a diversion to hide that fact.

    It's a control thing.

    I'm just waiting for their next trick when it becomes mandatory to watch their movies.

  • Not surprisingly, Rick Lane, News Corp.'s vice president for governmental affairs, and the other content industry lawyers think that the computer companies need to get over it. After all, mandates have been a fact of life for the consumer electronics industry -- particularly radio and television equipment -- for decades. Forty years ago, for example, the government told television makers to build UHF-reception capability into all new TVs.

    The mandate to add UHF to TV receivers was not a mandate that had as a tradeoff to break VHF reception. The only tradeoff was that it added about $30.00 to the price of a $300.00 TV. TV prices went down from there and the UHF tuner component price went down even faster. The only damage this mandate caused was it destroyed the market for those set top UHF converters.

    Of course /. readers know that what the content industry is wanting will destroy the capability to make your own music, trade in free music, and play either of those, as well as the same for movies. This will also hurt independent artists who have not signed their soul over to ...

  • Sorry about this...but one day I was playing around at work with MS Picture-something and I doodled a banner ad for Law.com.

    I haven't thought about this in years, but it might be interesting to "fake banner ad" collectors:

    (An interesting side note, both accounts related to the above-linked sites have been cancelled for some time, but the pages are still accessible).
  • We've been able to copy VHS for over a decade and they're still making movies. Does anyone really think that the movie industry will be eradicated due to copyright infringment? You are not being objective : VHS copy is lossy, digital copy is not. The movie industry will survive : they own the talents, they just have to find out new creative way of creating value from it. CD sales may be dead, but there are many other ways. For example, I know a label [musiques-hybrides.com] that publishes CDs but mainly lives off advertising, movies and evenemential performances. In any case, they are in for a hell of a rough ride : reinventing a business model from the ground up is not for the faint of heart.
  • Hobbex posted a very interesting comment a few days ago to a related story, you can find the original comment here [slashdot.org], I have copied it here for your convenience:
    Please don't compare someone who has killed members of his own species to someone who is trying to run a profitable business (no matter what you think of that business.)

    I agree that you cannot really compare Rosen, Valenti & Co. to the likes of Bin Laden, certainly the urgency of stopping the latter is much greater do to the immediate threat his evil poses to peoples lives - but we still need to be aware that they to represent a deep evil, and a long term threat to the our freedom as a people that is in many ways more scary then that of religious fundamentalists for the simple reason that is is not as certain to fail.

    It is easy to paint these people as simply being the ugly side of capitalism - after all it is at the nature of our system that people, and corporations, act in their own best interest, even when they are everything but utilitarian - but it is not that simple. They are not just ruthless capitalists trying to squeeze some money out of us - and what they are attacking is not just our wallets, but our fundamental freedom and self determination in the digital age.

    The future that the corporate overlords from whoom our friends Rosen, Valenti and Co. are lackeys have dreamed up a is one where all the information that people access and process is completely controlled by machines loyal not to their users - but to those very corporations. They are working toward establishing a world where the machines which will continue to grow more and more intimately integrated into our very identity and existance are not tools for freedom but chains of bondage - where the promise of unlimited communication becomes instead a reality where our lives have been invaded by machines that control every word we say and hear. And in the name of "security" and "anti-piracy" they are hijacking the governments that are supposed to guard our freedom to force this world down our throats whether we want it or not.

    The threat of an information age where the machines we use to access information are not controlled by ourselves, but rather control us, is a distopia beyond the imaginations of the most paranoid technophobes. The road they are trying to lead us down, and for which the resistance is small, is one of the most profoundly dangerous threats to the very meaning of being human that we have every faced - in very real terms, these are people who are selling out humanity to an unholy union of corporations and machines.

    Let us not forget that evil wears many faces.
  • by Thagg (9904) <thadbeier@gmail.com> on Friday January 18, 2002 @08:21PM (#2865699) Journal
    The LA Times has a great article on the coming copy protection [latimes.com] for video. It has a truly halarious ending...

    Consumer-electronics executives say they don't want consumers who've invested in HDTVs--about 2 million so far--to lose any of the value of their investment. But Preston Padden, an executive vice president of Walt Disney Co., said the impact would be extremely limited. "If the biggest problem to getting this solved is the 13 people who've already purchased HDTVs, I will personally drive the converter boxes to their homes and install them myself."

    If it really is 2 million people, Preston Padden has some serious work ahead of him.

    Basically, the article says that the studios and networks are desparately trying to get a standard in place for watermarking video before they are mandated to begin transmitting digital signals in just a few months. The article unfortunately doesn't explicitly point out the implications of this technological solution -- that all current computers would have to be made illegal for this to work.

    thad
  • by NanoGator (522640) on Friday January 18, 2002 @10:43PM (#2866162) Homepage Journal
    Why is it that Hollywood is so imaginative when it comes to worst case scenarios, but nearly every movie ever made has a sequal? *eyeroll*

    Okay, first, they *can't* make every bit of hardware protect their content. They C-A-N-N-O-T. It's, as Ralph Wiggam would say, unpossible. They talked about making routers not send copy-restricted (I refuse to use the term 'copy-protection' here) data through them. But the thing is, if I break apart the data blocks, randomize them, and then have the computer on the other end reassemble them, then the routers won't work. That philosophy likely applies to the rest of the hardware. You'd seriously need sentient hardware to look at the data to know what's up.

    Secondly, they can't get every piece of hardware out there to stop it. Sorry. Too late. Btttz. Unable to comply.

    Third, it is ridiculous to believe that every single piece of Hollywood content is going to be made accessible on-line. I can imagine more popular shows like Red Dwarf or the Simpsons or Family Guy or whatever to get pretty well captured and made available, but the people who make that available are true fans of their respected shows. I'm not going to be able to find an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond (*gag*) available. You know why? Because I seriously doubt anybody's going to take the time to capture it and make it available. And if they do, I'm not going to waste my time downloading it just to watch it. Stream? Maybe, but not download it.

    There's too much content out there! Lets say I build a computer designed to capture a show as it's downloaded, I still would manually have to go in and edit out the commercials. (editing out the commercials is a condition of actually hurting the industry) There's NO WAY I'm going to be able to manually do that for every single show every day of the week! I have a life! Are some people going to do it? Maybe, but not ever on the scale that the industry is afraid of.

    Anyway, I have drifted off topic a little bit. Back to my topic "They're fighting the wrong battle...", well Hollywood is taking a really backwards approach here. They think that by stopping piracy they're going to save their revenue. They also think that if they protect their content so it can't be copied that they're going to have a growing market for the rest of time. It won't work! The truth of the matter is that if anybody doesn't watch the show when it's first aired (which is the prime time to see it, if you miss that then you're likely to have some dumb ass friend or radio DJ spoil the ending for you), then the value diminishes. More and more people have less and less time to catch TV shows when they're first aired. That's exactly why VCR's are in every home! If somebody wants the show bad enough, they'll either set it up to get it themselves, or they'll find a way to go get it. If that means that a Napster clone is the way to get it, then the people will go there.

    So there's demand here, right? That means there is a market! Instead of fighting the 'piracy', fill the demand! Ever hear of Video on Demand? I wouldn't need to go to Morpheus or Kazaa if I could just go to a website that has the show ready to stream and click play. If they want to insert commercials into it, THAT'S FINE. That works!! I love it! I'll embrace that! But PLEASE give me that opportunity before you claim that piracy will destroy your market! Fighting piracy won't save the market, but filling demand will.

    *He who finds it amusing that Hollywood is willing to spend money to stop losses they don't have, but isn't willing to try to make money on demand to watch shows at our leisure.*
  • Sequential Articles (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DarkZero (516460) on Friday January 18, 2002 @11:29PM (#2866323)
    I think most forms of copy protection are wrong and abuse the consumer, but... can you really brush piracy off as financially inconsequential to businesses, and then post an article just an hour later about Adobe failing in the Asian market due to widespread piracy, without sounding biased and stupid?

    Obviously, with how powerfully piracy affects the Asian market, piracy IS a legitimate matter for businesses to worry about financially. The real question isn't whether it affects them, but rather whether or not copy protection abuses the consumer far too much for businesses to be allowed to use it.
  • by werdna (39029) on Saturday January 19, 2002 @12:48AM (#2866656) Journal
    content industry working to convince congress that not introducing hardware copyright protection . . . would eventually lead to the "industry's destruction", as put by Michael Eisner.

    Of course, this has been the content industry's siren song for almost a century. Virtually every major new form of automation has been labeled a harbinger of death to copyright, to with:

    Piano Rolls

    Radio

    Audio Tape

    Television

    Video Tape

    DAT

    Other digital sound media

    Every one of these technologies were identified as a damning threat to the "content industry," and to an extent, this is true, when the "content industry" is defined as an entity committed to entrenched business models and technology for exploiting works of authorship.

    As it turns out, all these things ever turned out to be, were changes. For the most part, each new technology enriched our nation, and enriched those in the "content industry" smart enough to effectively exploit them.

    The reason great technologies occur, is because innovators are free in our market to test the value of their inventions. Alas, these content "moguls" are not only seeking to protect the works of authors they have exploited, but also to control and limit innovation and develop new "threatening" technologies.

    And this is why technology regulation is not intellectual property law -- it is precisely the opposite of the policies justifying IP. Instead of glorifying and supporting the market, record companies and movie companies are seeking the right to shut down those who are neither copying nor duplicating their works, but who are simply innovating their works into irrelevance.

    Such pro-dinosaur economics can only lead to the ruin of the new economy, and at a moment it is at its most tenuous position. Sure, a few will stay rich, for awhile -- but at what cost?

Put your Nose to the Grindstone! -- Amalgamated Plastic Surgeons and Toolmakers, Ltd.

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