FCC Gives Hollywood The Right To Break Your TV/DVR … Just ‘Cause

It is always disheartening when something is made illegal because you could do something naughty with it. Techdirt reports:

Mattl (CC) via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Mattl (CC)

For a couple years now, the MPAA has been asking the FCC to break your TV/DVR, and let them effectively put a type of DRM (by enabling “Selectable Output Control” or SOC) on video content, such that you will not be able to access the content via third party devices, such as your DVR or your Slingbox. Effectively, they want to break the ability of your equipment to work. You wouldn’t be able to legally record the movie that was playing on your TV. The MPAA’s argument here makes absolutely no sense at all — and when they’re called on it, the doubletalk comes out.

The MPAA’s argument is that if it could block people from recording movies, they could release the movies on things like PPV before they release them on DVD, adding yet another window to the long list of windows that Hollywood uses. It’s still not clear how more windows helps anyone but Hollywood, but they keep claiming this is some sort of consumer benefit. The thing is, their argument makes absolutely no sense at all when you look at the details. First of all, there was nothing whatsoever stopping them from releasing movies on PPV prior to the DVD release. Nothing. You don’t need DRM to do it. In fact, some major studios already do this without breaking your TV in the process.

Of course, the MPAA’s response is that it would never release movies this way without SOC, because then people would copy them and… um… piracy… oh mygod… Hollywood is dying. Or something like that. But that makes no sense. First, as noted, some studios already release movies this way. They don’t need SOC. Second, the whole claim that this will lead to more unauthorized file sharing is a total red herring — because all of the movies they’re talking about were already in theaters — and once a movie is in the theaters, it’s already available widely on file sharing networks. There is no increase possible, because the content would already be widely available. On top of that, of course, as the GAO just noted, the MPAA’s ridiculous claims of losses from “piracy” are totally bogus.

[Read more at Techdirt]

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  • dumbsaint

    Pirates already own PCs presumably. Add a cheap TV tuner card and some free PVR software and it will take even less time to distribute from your home to the masses.

    Please keep fighting the inevitable. It's piracy that's ruining the industry and not the fact that you produce tired and condescending shite put together by execs and bean-counters.

  • tonyviner

    We'll find a way around it, we always do.

  • dumbsaint

    Pirates already own PCs presumably. Add a cheap TV tuner card and some free PVR software and it will take even less time to distribute from your home to the masses.

    Please keep fighting the inevitable hollywood. It's piracy that's ruining the industry and not the fact that you produce tired and condescending shite put together by execs and bean-counters.

  • tonyviner

    We'll find a way around it, we always do.

  • 5by5

    100% a violation of my fair use rights.

  • 5by5

    100% a violation of my fair use rights.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Gosh…you'd think that despite all the evidence to the contrary, the movie biz is shrinking because someone watched something without paying enough for it…as opposed to vast hordes of people becoming disinterested in sterile putrid glop that is less interesting than the 6 dollar bucket of popcorn in your lap.