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Television Media

Anti-Copying TV Technology Creeps Forward 369

Posted by timothy
from the what-do-you-mean-fair-use dept.
An anonymous reader writes: " After CDs, then comes TV? Although the technologies being spoken about are supposedly to prevent online sharing of television content as digital network television is born, the extents of the control being spoken of is alarming. When I purchase my next television recording device, will I be able to chose to record my favorite show while I am away from home? Will I be able to record one show while watching another? Or will I be at the mercy of the network ... only allowed to record should they *want* me to record. It could be possible to prevent the recording of first-run shows, forcing either-or choices (and affecting ratings and advertising rates,) rather than allowing us to watch one, record another."
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Anti-Copying TV Technology Creeps Forward

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  • hmm... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by doooras (543177)
    seems kinda funny... anti-copy TV broadcasts at the same time as ST:TNG being released on DVD. good thing i already have the good eps taped. could this possibly mean that other series will be released on dvd as well, so recording won't be necessary?
    • Re:hmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by msobkow (48369) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @10:08PM (#2859593) Homepage Journal
      I have a feeling they're trying to create a market for the over-priced DVD episodes of TV series. Who in their right mind would pay $20+ for two episodes on DVD when they can get tolerable quality with an SVHS recorder ($4 for premium blank tapes), or use a capture card and crunch it down with their own DVD-R burner ($5/disk)?

      This isn't about preventing "piracy", it's about finding a new way to steal a few more dollars from the consumer.

      Personally I would have less issue with a pay-per-view approach provided that:

      1. Price per 1 hour episode is no more than $1
      2. No commercials, previews, ad-banners, or other such nonsense is included
      3. The data stream is 100%. No bullshit blurring, bitrate reduction, or other nonsense like DirectTV uses. If I gotta pay, I want unreduced 1080p (not 1080i), with full 5.1 sound.
      4. A guarantee that there will be no dropouts, glitches, etc.
      5. I can make a non-duplicatable archive copy using a durable media like DVD.
      6. No monthly service charges. If you want me to pay per episode, I'll only pay for what I want to watch, not for all the hundreds of hours of useless tripe.
      7. No time slotting. If I subscribe to a series, I expect it to be deposited for viewing or archive on a weekly basis, to be viewed when I have time and the inclination.

      All in all, I don't have an issue with protecting the content from wanton copying and redistribution. I'm rather shocked at the number of people I know who already see first-run theatre movies captured by DV cameras and transcoded to crippled-bitrate MPEG4; I can understand the content provider's concern over the issue as bandwidth increases.

      As to the advertising revenue, do these morons really think I buy anything because I saw it on TV? I select purchases based on rational evaluations and independent 'net reviews, not based on some glitzy TV advertising or the biased sound-bite reviews provided by print media or ZDNet and it's affiliates.

      • Re:hmm... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Carrot007 (37198)
        First let's take a look at your points.

        > 1. Price per 1 hour episode is no more than $1

        seems reasonable.

        > 2. No commercials, previews, ad-banners, or other such nonsense is included

        indeed in pay-per-view the adverts belong on the "preview" (advertising) channel.

        > 3. The data stream is 100%. No bullshit blurring, bitrate reduction, or other nonsense like DirectTV uses. If I gotta pay, I want unreduced 1080p (not 1080i), with full 5.1 sound.

        couldn't agree more, we shouldn;t have to put up with the crap.

        > 4. A guarantee that there will be no dropouts, glitches, etc.

        this is completely unreasonable. you couldn't guarantee this sort of thing. problems happen.
        however the box could notice that a dropout occured and thus give you access to a re-view for free.

        5. I can make a non-duplicatable archive copy using a durable media like DVD.

        ahh but this contradicts the price in point 1. either it's gonna be cheap and you have to pay each time to watch it (i mean do youreally need to hoard a lot of stuff you don't need? (like so many people out there!!)) or it's gonna cost more and let you keep a copy.

        > 6. No monthly service charges. If you want me to pay per episode, I'll only pay for what I want to watch, not for all the hundreds of hours of useless tripe.

        this is entirely dependant on what they provide for the "service charge" no service charge would usually equate to mimimum usage requirement. they can't just let you subscribe and do nothing. it would make them bankrupt.

        7. No time slotting. If I subscribe to a series, I expect it to be deposited for viewing or archive on a weekly basis, to be viewed when I have time and the inclination.

        This would be nice and hopefully in the future. Though "deposited weelky" certainly sounds like time slotting for me ;-) though i know what you mean.

        Carrot007.
  • But (Score:2, Informative)

    by Raul654 (453029)
    The networks are still bound by FCC regulations that through the airwaves transmissions be in the clear - that means that the big players, if they want to keep broadcasting through the airwaves, would be unable to prevent copying of those signals. Is there any way they could prevent people from taping in-the-clear signals?
    • by jafac (1449)
      They'll just migrate all the worthwhile, expensive to produce content off of the public airwaves and onto Cable/Satellite channels.
    • Hmmm... what do you think the odds are that we'll see a bill proposed that would change that? Can't have all that valuable intellectual property just sent out to anyone, now can we?

      (I don't think I've ever used the word "intellectual" in reference to broadcast TV content before.)
      -b
    • by Sloppy (14984)

      The networks are still bound by FCC regulations that through the airwaves transmissions be in the clear

      That's the FCC's regulation today. Nothing is above subversion.

  • by fleener (140714) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @09:15PM (#2859326)
    If I can't tape TV shows, I'll set up a video camera on a tripod, get a tightly cropped picture and use a timing device to record my damn shows. Or maybe I'll finally get so pissed off I withdraw from all corporate entertainment consumption.

    Dammit, could the entertainment industry be bigger assholes?
    • by Macka (9388) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @09:25PM (#2859382)

      Or maybe I'll finally get so pissed off I withdraw from all corporate entertainment consumption.

      You read my mind. This actually might be a good thing. I'll be more inclined to get out more. Well, perhaps as far as the local pub anyway :-)
    • by Robber Baron (112304) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @09:58PM (#2859552) Homepage
      I bet it won't even notice whatever content protection scheme they put in!
    • by swordboy (472941) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @10:00PM (#2859559) Journal
      Don't worry... The only way that they can prevent copying is if they were to replace every TV in the world with TVs that can decode an encrypted signal *after* it enters the TV. Since this would be very cost prohibitive to undertake even within the next 25 years, you can expect that, until this day, there will be a device that can copy the video signal on standard 75ohm coax that is used in the tens of millions of TVs in use today.
      • The only way that they can prevent copying is if they were to replace every TV in the world with TVs that can decode an encrypted signal *after* it enters the TV.

        Sure they can prevent it - all they have to do is stop radiating unencrypted UHF and VHF signals, so old TVs will be come expensive paperweights, unless you buy their decoder set-top-box.

        I don't like it, but nobody's forcing them to continue providing advertising-subsidised, free content to the masses, as has been the case for fifty years. "They" control everything we can view and record because "they" are sending it to us in the first place. Don't think it won't happen - how many of you still use analog cellphones?

      • Uh, didn't they say the same thing about CDs?
      • by yerricde (125198) on Friday January 18, 2002 @02:00AM (#2860409) Homepage Journal

        The only way that they can prevent copying is if they were to replace every TV in the world with TVs that can decode an encrypted signal *after* it enters the TV.

        The Federal Communications Commission (US analog to Canada's CRTC) has mandated that TV stations go digital by January 1, 2006 [fcc.gov], when the FCC will terminate television stations' analog spectrum licenses.


        Updated!
      • The only way that they can prevent copying is if they were to replace every TV in the world with TVs that can decode an encrypted signal *after* it enters the TV. Since this would be very cost prohibitive to undertake even within the next 25 years, you can expect that, until this day, there will be a device that can copy the video signal on standard 75ohm coax that is used in the tens of millions of TVs in use today.

        Actually the decryption would have to be on the component which does the displaying. Just about possible with an LCD, but not really practical with a CRT. Even then you are faced with the problem of making a display device which will only work with a human eye...
    • Heh, cancelled my cable months ago, and haven't missed it one bit. I've been away from it long enough that TV mostly annoys me now. I've become jealous of my precious time.

      <irony>I do have lapses tho, which usually result in Slashdot posts such as this one. ;-)</irony>

      • Same here. I canceled it in November in preparation of a move. I've moved, and I really don't want it back. OK, I'd like a few channels like CNN, TV Land, Sci-Fi, TechTV, etc., but the rest could disappear for all I care. Actually, I stay informed on current events via the Net and radio, so I really don't need TV news. If I really wanted that, I could catch a stream of BBC World. Much better than CNN and not even on American cable anyway. I still watch DVDs when my girlfriend comes over, but at least there I choose the stuff I want to see. I'm not really sure that I'm ever going back to cable. Maybe I will, but I don't miss it too much.

        Perhaps I'm a tiny minority, but the programmers had better be a little concerned about people like me because I used to watch TV, and now I really don't, and if I notice others getting frustrated with copy controls, I'll suggest they curtail their viewing as well. There are alternatives to television, now more so than ever, and making it harder for people to watch what they want is only going to drive them toward these other activities.

  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @09:17PM (#2859332) Homepage Journal
    ... the entire TV, music, and movie industries are on the verge of bankruptcy, because of those evil digital pirates. Yo ho ho and a bottle of TiVo, mateys! Let's take the Digital Main!

    Sheesh. The VCR was the best thing that ever happened to Hollywood. Recording and sharing _increases_ interest in the entertainment industry's products. Why can't they see that?
    • ...They can't see that because they'd all rather have a dime today than a dollar tomorrow. It's not even their fault, really; they're answerable to shareholders, like everyone else.

      As long as people see the stock market as a short term, get-rich-quick environment, corporations have to look at their businesses that way. You want long-term stability and decent behavior? Buy into companies that act that way (and realize that you'll make less money in the short term).

      There's a lot to be said for US-style capitalism, but it seems we've hit the point of diminishing returns. Companies are incented to rape their customers for short-term profit so big shareholders can get out with a big profit... and then the company goes to hell while the shareholders move on to the next "fast growing" company, which has no choice but to do the same thing (by no choice, I mean that the majority shareholders, including corporate officers, all stand to gain by that behavior).

      Cheers
      -b
    • by jafac (1449) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @10:16PM (#2859622) Homepage
      The same is true in Music and Software.

      Where would Windows be today if tens of thousands of future MSCE's hadn't pirated the crap out of Windows 3.1 and MS Office? At least PART of Microsoft's success is due to the rampant piracy - especially with MS Office, where WordPerfect employed goofy copy protection, Microsoft did not, and people flocked AWAY from WordPerfect. When people went from home-hobbyist to legit, they bought licenses.

      Where would Adobe be today without the rampant piracy of Photoshop by tens of thousands of graphic art students (don't tell me this is not happening).
      They'd be the publisher of software that is so hard to use, an artist's costs are DOUBLED *JUST* to begin learning about how to use Photoshop. Photoshop has a HUGE learning-curve to do anything but the most basic operations. Their marketshare would be comparatively microscopic. But since people have pirated it, they can mess around with it, learn it, evaluate it's worth (find out that, hey, $600 really IS justified for this gem!).

      And it's been said MANY times, (it's like a broken record - no pun intended) that music sales have INCREASED due to Napster - because Napster tended to act as a free-promotion mechanism, and people may have kept a lot of MP3's they never intended to buy, but they also purchased a lot more CDs that they wouldn't have otherwise been exposed to.

      In a society of law and order, we can bitch and moan all we want about whether or not these companies have a RIGHT to protect their own IP in the face of provisions like Fair Use. That's all academic. But it's certainly not in most company's best interests to do so. It's so blatantly obvious - and yet time and again, we see companies who are competing, don't often CARE if their software is pirated. It's a convenient way to gain marketshare - it's dumping, without actually dumping.

      But as soon as they achieve any kind of dominance (read: monopoly power!!!) they clamp down the screws. I think this is what bothers everyone deep down in the bottom of their hearts - people know right from wrong, they sense it, and it's easy to justify "stealing" IP from a monopolist who's abusing their position. The monopolists want their cake, and they want to eat it too, and us consumers along with it.

      If they weren't monopolies, I would join the "libertarian" crowd and say: hey, just let the free-market punish these assholes for their crappy business practices.
      But that would be the same as saying - gee, I hate the way my electric company raises my rates and I still get outages. Fuck it all, I'm going to move to another state.
      • by Reziac (43301) on Friday January 18, 2002 @01:41AM (#2860309) Homepage Journal
        Sorry, you're dead wrong on one point -- WordPerfect has NEVER had copy protection of ANY sort (at least from v4.1 onward), and still doesn't, other than an easily-defeated serial number. Conversely, Word2.0 and 6.0 (there were no Word v3/4/5 for PC, only for Mac) DID have a rudimentary sort of copy protection -- the installer wrote back to the first diskette, "personalizing" it with the registered user's name. And now M$Office has full-blown Activation.

        WordPerfect started losing market share when some suit-encumbered moron decided to restrict tech support to registered users (this was really the key point, not WPCorp's slowness in adapting to Windows). Previously, totally free toll-free tech support was available to ALL WordPerfect users, including for pirated copies, as WPCorp recognised that the best way to lock in a customer base is to get them using your product in the first place. And it worked -- people pirated one version, but bought the next (well, I bought 16 "nexts" and counting). That deliberate winking at borroware, along with near-total printer support, made WP the market leader.

      • Where would Adobe be today without the rampant piracy of Photoshop by tens of thousands of graphic art students (don't tell me this is not happening).

        Probably selling a lot of copies of Photoshop Elements [adobe.com] (that is, Photoshop minus the prepress engine) at $100 a piece (not $600) and making a wad of dough [verylowsodium.com].

        Photoshop has a HUGE learning-curve to do anything but the most basic operations.

        How does it compare to GIMP's? Is GIMP 1.2 easier or harder than Photoshop Elements?

        • Photoshop does have a learning curve.

          I once went out with a girl who was taking a Photoshop class. I sat down and taught her more in one hour than she learned in her class. Why?

          Because I had it at home and she didn't. She got 30 mins to use it at the most. I could play all night. She couldn't afford it, so she actually paid more over time to learn it than I did.

          Since then though, I've gone to the Gimp. It's easier.
    • by b0r1s (170449) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @10:31PM (#2859673) Homepage
      Dont allow the slashdot editors to hide information from you.

      READ IT FOR YOURSELF. [slashdot.org]

      Make sure you note the massive amounts of -1 moderations, all done simultaneously, obviously by an editor.

      Stand up. Make your voice heard. Tell the slashdot staff you will not tolerate editor moderation on large scales, such as this!
      • Apparently, they mass moderated all of them back up to 0 from -1.

        This is a clear case of editors abusing their power. Someone archive this, since we know it isn't going into the /. archive.
      • I'll second that (Score:4, Insightful)

        by StandardDeviant (122674) on Friday January 18, 2002 @12:03AM (#2860040) Homepage Journal
        Yes, by all means read the whole thread. I also stuck a link to it in my signature, which hasn't changed in something like a year previous. If any moderators (or god forbid the chimpanzees that have tied up the editors and taken over their consoles) see this post, consider that if you look at my record, I'm consistently giving back to the slashdot community by trying to post worthwhile comments and do my metamod every day. In other words, while most likely I'll get a -1 Troll or offtopic for this, I think this thread reflects legitimate concerns in the slashdot community.


        A side note to anyone at Andover.net/OSDN/VA who happens to read this. Remind yourself that when Slashdot became corporate, the userbase became your customers, and indirectly your source of revenue through advertising. Piss us off too much, and watch your revenue stream trickle off...
      • Excellent (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by Erris (531066)
        Every troll in the freaking world has identified themselves by posting on that thread. I suppose that Boris is one in the same with the rest of the robots represented there and that Boris recieves a good size pay check from MicroShit for his dirty work disrupting this site. Who else but a large ISP or other company would have enough IP space to spoof Slashdot like that. It should also be obvious that the mod points accumulated by all those accounts has been used lately to abuse legitimate posters and disrupt communications in general.

        If it were up to me, I'd delete your account, the troll accounts you created and all of your posts. What reason is there to waste space archiving all that bullshit? You have wasted a great deal of time, contributed nothing, and prevented others from having an intelligent conversation. Go away.

      • There is a conspiracy of suppression on Slashdot these days. Some of the best posts I've read have been at -1, including some of the funniest things I've ever read and some of the best, on-topic posts (often moderated as "offtopic").

        I don't know whether this suppression of ideas is political, financial, or otherwise or whether it is carried out by the editors of Slashdot at the behest of advertisers or simply by holier-than-thou moderators who are 14 years old and have points to burn.

        The point is that now, to get at the cream of the crop, I often have to read at -1 and suffer through the "real" trolls as well, while only the non-controversial posts seem to stay visible to to 0+ readers.

        This post will no-doubt be moderated to -1, offtopic within five or six minutes, but I notice that there is no acceptable meta-forum anywhere at Slashdot for discussing the mechanisms of Slashdot itself. That such a forum does not exist in spite of the "free" ongoing ad dollars it would no doubt generate seems to indicate that at least some of this suppression is indeed carried out by the editorial staff or by corporate.

        It's nice to see this issue get some attention.

        By all means, please read the thread discussed in the parent comment to this one, it's really quite enlightening.

        • So why is everyone still here? We need some Hero Leader Type to take the codebase, tweak the mod system, and put up a competitive site. Or just choose some other free software that's up to the task. Heck, you could even pinch the news links that slashdot uses, leaving out the crap! The editorial burden of a weblog is pretty light if you don't spend a lot of time "bitchslapping" threads. (Provided the mod system isn't craptastic, of course.)

          (don't look at me, I have no time, money or hosting space for such a crusade. I'm being that annoying guy that says, "you do it, I'll use it." Indulge me.)

          The disgruntled people need to pick a date for a transition and stick to it. If there is nothing to transition to, we can all read more books with the extra free time.

          I hereby nominate Wednesday, May 1 2002 as "Bailing Day." It sounds simplistic, but if a chunk of people take hold of the idea... it could be interesting.

          05/01/02: Bailing Day

          Karma to burn -- bring the noise!
  • by Ghoser777 (113623) <[moc.cam] [ta] [abnerhaf]> on Thursday January 17, 2002 @09:22PM (#2859363) Homepage
    Personally (and there are plenty of people who disagree with me, that's why they buy products like thys), I don't think there's much left on TV that's worth recording anymore. Instead of watching "When Animals Attck VIII", maybe this will get people to read more or do other stuff that's more educational or socially significant, like taking interest in children's education (and having kids focus more on their education because they're not watching as much tv). There are some quality shows, but commercialization and voyerism and other junk have really made network television really aweful.

    Then again, I guess the next step would be to copy protect books. Maybe they'll burst into flames if they detect a sufficiently bright light, such as used in copy machines.

    F-bacher
  • TV show trading (Score:4, Informative)

    by DanThe1Man (46872) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @09:24PM (#2859376)
    For thouse of you that don't know it, there is already TV show trading on the internet, mostly on IRC and on a few web sites [episodesearch.com]. The problem for the TV networks is that people take out the commerials when they encode the show, so the networks don't get any advertiing dollars.
    • Re:TV show trading (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jiminim (104910)
      >The problem for the TV networks is that people take >out the commerials when they encode the show, so >the networks don't get any advertiing dollars.

      Of course the networks would not be getting any advertising money anyway even if the commercials were copied with the shows.

      There is just no way a network could call up Budweiser or Toyota and say "we have just played your ad in 120,000 more times than expected due to pirate recordings, so you owe us $50,000 more."

    • Unless you're watching TV in a Nielsen household, your viewing habits have absolutely no effect whatsoever on ratings or advertising revenues.
  • I signed up for a trial of digital cable TV where I live, and after purchasing a video on demand, I went to record the last part as I was getting tired and wanted to sleep and watch the rest the next day. Lo and behold the picture faded in and out, same as if you try and record a DVD.

    I know there are signal boosters/correctors that can overcome this...the question is, why should normal, law abiding citizens have to resort to this?
  • Personally, I watch nothing live on TV. I record everything I watch no matter what. I hate being stuck in front of the TV afraid to do something else and miss something. Plus, I'm rarely around when stuff I want to watch is. I won't structure my life around some lame TV-exec's schedule of when I should watch stuff. So, if they don't allow recording of everything (with the possible exception of PPV), then I won't watch anything. Nothing is really worth watching live, anway. So, that leaves more time to develop code!

    Think of all of the social benefits that would come if people just stopped watching TV!
  • by Logic Bomb (122875) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @09:25PM (#2859386)
    ...are they supposed to be able to achieve this? The article's point about a 'flag' having to be universally accepted and followed is right on. But unless they try to actually encrypt the full signal, anyone could manufacture a non-compliant device, and it'd be an instant mega-seller. I don't even see the point of this initiative. Without the force of law or unbreakable encryption, it's useless.
    • Without the force of law or unbreakable encryption, it's useless.


      Looks like you've answered your own question there. In the past, the entertainment industry has been able to get the force of law on its side at will...

      I'm so fucking sick of this. To echo other sentiments in this thread, I say screw them all. I can be perfectly happy listing to indie music and renting indie movies. Any major studio films I see in the theater anyway, since they're playing on 5 fucking screens at each of the multiplexes. And who needs TV? Precious few shows are anything but mindless pap; the ones that aren't I'll miss, but not that much...

    • It would probably be much easier than building your own device. If the flags ever change, you'd be stuck with the hardware.

      Since the signal is (or would be) digital, all you'd have to do is capture it, run it through a program which strips the flags and watch the output. New flags come out? No problem. Just upgrade your program.
  • Soon all we'll be able/allowed to record are infomercials featuring Danny Bonnaducci and/or Chuck Norris

    GOD HELP US ALL!!!

    :)
  • Imagine in the near future that the big networks
    manage to make their signals such that they can only be viewed by using a special reciever/DVR device. If you wanted to watch TV, you would HAVE
    to buy one of these, in addition to a TV.
    It might take the networks to buy some laws
    to get this done, but it could happen.
    This DVR will allow you to time shift, but will not allow you to fast forward through commercials. The networks could also have a pay-per-view scheme so that it charges you whenever you view anything, no matter how much you've already seen it. Or perhaps ever minute you're watching something, you are being charged some amount.


    I'm sure somebody over there has thought of this
    sort of device.

  • by Speare (84249) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @09:32PM (#2859427) Homepage Journal

    I see this as the real "Digital Divide," a recurring pattern using this new medium as a force to separate and distinguish the two classes, but in a new configuration. In the past, the producers were the paeons and the consumers were the elite.

    This development shows how this is reversing: the producers are the elite who have licenses to clone costless data and the consumers are the powerless drones who pay their wages and freedoms away per every view.

    Same class model we've had for centuries, and the digital realm is nothing new.

  • by NanoGator (522640) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @09:33PM (#2859432) Homepage Journal
    I think that the tighter they squeeze people, the wider the door will get for independent people to make their own shows and publish them on the web.

    It is possible with today's consumer technology for people to make movies and broadcast them on the internet. Video cameras are cheap, people are willing to act (although there's need for improvement heh), and TV quality visual effects are within the reach of people with a modest income.

    Until the day Hollywood consistantly creates stories that are worth paying for, they can't make these kinds of demands. Take a look at Final Fantasy. The people who are fans of that series are mostly interested in the story. They have their Playstation 2's, they have the $50 to buy the game, and they have the 40 hours to beat it. There isn't a TV show out there that can make that many people reschedule their lives around when the show is aired. Even though a show is half an hour to an hour long, nearly all of them aren't worth making sure you are home for that time.

    So go ahead Hollywood, spend your energy trying to protect your 'precious content', you're not going to squeeze more money out of people.
  • by 2Bits (167227) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @09:35PM (#2859437)
    Gee, I'm feeling squeezed.

    First, I stopped going to theater coz I'm pissed by MPAA. And I stopped renting movies for the same reason. Then I stop buying music CDs coz I'm pissed by RIAA. And I refuse to buy DVD player because of this stupid zoning scheme and DMCA.

    And now TV. Well, not that I watch any TV at all, as I don't even have cable. But still.

    Great, everyone just spends more quality time on Slashdot, then. Let it be the geek's new year's resolution.

  • I will hack, slash or code me a way to watch my content. Currently I record off an mpeg converted to divx or vcd depending on the quality of the input. This is my right, Im using it for personal use. I will also pick up a tivo and hack it also. There will always be "Hacker Way" to do it.

    //rant
    The day the police raid my door to stop me from breaking copy protection in my own home, is the day I become a freedom fighter, and start the war of revolution. Many people are starting to think the same way, when will people say NO, and take up arms against a corporate controlled police force.
    It might be a un-popular view to believe in personal freedoms. But where are the people standing up for my rights? Do I need to protect them with a gun? Voting doesn't work when the majority is brainwashed with political correctness and sound bites.
    rant//

    "Whenever men take the law into their own hands, the loser is the law. And when the law loses, freedom languishes." - Robert Francis Kennedy
  • HAH! (Score:4, Funny)

    by curunir (98273) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @09:40PM (#2859462) Homepage Journal
    The Technology Working Group has a better record of achievement, however. Formed in 1996 to come up with standards for protecting DVDs from piracy, the group has consistently agreed on standards such as the Content Scrambling System, which is built into DVDs and DVD players.

    I suppose they just succeded in making me buy a new monitor (...must...learn...not...to...read...online...stor ies...whilst...drinking...coffee...)
  • It's television. It's not bread, water or sleep. It isn't procreation. It isn't required to subsist. It *isn't an inalienable right*.

    Therefore, it's a luxury. A luxury you pay for. A luxury you *don't have to pay for*. If you don't like the restraints this particular facet of the entertainment industry wishes to put on you *DON'T BUY A FUCKING TV*.

    These arguments get me *so* pissed off. People are dying in other parts of the world because they can't get enough rice, and *we're* worried about a luxury we somehow view as an inalienable right.

    • by TheMCP (121589) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @10:08PM (#2859591) Homepage
      It's television. It's not bread, water or sleep. It isn't procreation. It isn't required to subsist. It *isn't an inalienable right*.
      Actually, it *is*. The FCC grants the right to use the airwaves to television stations on the basis that they are supposed to serve the public. They're allowed to make a profit on doing so, but they're supposed to serve us. If they're going to take away our fair-use rights, the FCC should look at taking away their licenses to broadcast.
      • Repeat after me: "I can survive without taping 30 minute sitcoms." "I can't survive without bread and water."

        The people who complain about this stuff don't recognize that the whole idea of technology is a luxury in a majority of cases.

    • Actually, use of the public airways is a government-controlled business; the networks get, free of charge, granted broad swaths of spectrum to broadcast. And print money.

      What is done with that grant of OUR bandwidth, granted by OUR good grace through our representatives, is OUR business.

      These businesses are dictating terms to the people of the United States. This should not be. They have been made wealthy through our largess, and they therefore have the responsibility to us owners to provide content as we bloody see fit.

      They do not own the airwaves. We do. The market is not free in this situation. The almost religious movement to dereg the market has led us to this -- they are locking up our TV's.

      Enough of this.
    • As far as political issues go, there is nothing more important than keeping communication open to all. Fail in that and people effectively become disenfranchised. Then *everything else* suffers - including having a lifestyle in which you don't have to worry about where your next meal comes from.
  • When will these guys (the networks) realise that this sort of thing will only infuriate joe bloggs, and the people that _really_ want to copy stuff still will. At the end of the day, whatever method they use, they've gotta send the signal to your TV, so there's always going to be somehow to record. And that's assuming that some clever hacker doesn't work out how to decrypt/circumvent it. It's the same thing with P2P file sharing stuff. Most files are uploaded by 1, maybe 2 people, and get spread to hundreds and thousands of others. It's no accident that all the copies of Madonna's ray of beautiful light stranger music on napster/edonkey/gnutilla are all the same size...
  • Ahhhh goats! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Graymalkin (13732) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @10:03PM (#2859567)
    It's too bad there isn't a slashbox to filter out these whiny fucking threads. Think about it for a second, way back when there were three television broadcasters! You didn't get to pick shit that was on television. You were damn lucky if the TV had anything for your lazy ass to watch or you just watched what was cool. Then came cable and satellite. You had even more choices of what to plop your lazy ass in front of as long as you were willing to pay for it. VCRs also came about which allowed you to record stuff to watch later (held up by court statute known as time shifting). The you could program your VCR to record shit even if you weren't around to press buttons. Broadcasters even worked with the VCRPlus folks to give channel guides codes that would let people even more easily program their VCRs to record shit they weren't around to watch. Now in the transition to digital broadcasters want to break all of this because people can make exact copies of what was broadcast.

    The problem lies in the fact that they make money from the potential eyes of viewers. Ratings allow broadcasters to charge more money for the time they sell to advertisers. They make their money in this fashion. However if they are broadcasting digital information rather than analog exact digital copies would be made. Big deal you say but it IS a big deal. It requires a bit of effort to filter commercials out of analog signals on a VCR (they look for a fade to black and stop recording until the video fades back in). The percentage of VCRs and people who take the time to do this is small so broadcasters don't bitch much about it. With a digital signal it is fairly trivial to scan a datastream for a pattern or flag denoting the transition to a commercial and since this is trivial a PVR or equivilent can easily nix the commercial from the recorded video. Since the only difference between a PVR and digital signal decoder is a storage device to record the video stream this had broadcasters a bit worried. If a majority of people with digital receivers can both time shift and remove commercials from video feeds the broadcasters can't make didly squat. Their traditional metrics become useless and advertisers can't be assured their advertisements will even be seen.

    Broadcasters don't care about the small fraction of people who would go to all the trouble to trade copies of video over the internet. Most people won't bother even if they have the bandwidth. It's scores easier to flip on your TV at a certain time of tell a PVR or VCR to record something than it is to first find it and then second download it to your computer. Broadcasters will however be taken to court if they break compliance with statutes saying people have the right to record video for personal use. To keep from getting legally fucked in the ass this way you're going to see non-linear break commercials. Characters will drink a Pepsi and wear Reeboks and chase a bad guy through the Gap end will hang out at a Starbucks. Advertising will be like it was depicted in The Truman show where they broadcast constantly. Everyday items would be product placement and actors would be spokespeople during the shows they performed on. The crap acting you see in commercials now is going to take place inside your favourite drama or sci-fi adventure. Also expect more of those fucking tickers at the bottom, top, and sides of your screen.
  • by AnalogBoy (51094) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @10:15PM (#2859616) Journal
    but i'll say it again..

    If you're going to bitch,

    bitch [senate.gov] productively! [house.gov]

    If you put the same effort you do here, into legit politics (wow. now *THATS* an oxymoron), the least that's going to happen is you're voice will be heard. The most? The sky's the limit.

    Just do yourself a favor. When writing your congressperson or representative:
    1) Don't troll
    2) Don't flame
    3) Don't mention your /. karma. They won't care.
    4) Don't start with "I didn't vote..", or, especially, "I didn't vote for you, but..."
    5) Above all, write intelligently. [amazon.com]

    P.S. Inconspicuously hinting that your wealthy father could make a sizable donation to the rep's campaign wouldn't hurt.
  • Well, heres the deal, magnetic analog recording may not be the best, BUT its not succeptable to any anticopy capablities either, NOW, take that and digitally encode it an VOILA .

    I thought the FCC didnt allow ENCRYPTED TV signals ? Now I didnt think this held true for cable but....

    Hell, AS IVE SAID BEFORE AND BEFORE, If it comes froma source to the TV you can trap it.....

    TV's are stupid, and will be for a long time. There is NO Fu**ing way the Entertainment people are going to get 5 BILLION TV's replaced as a requirment to watch.

    This is stupid stuff dreamed up by some bozo at disney trying to brown nose and he think hes got the holy grail for the entertainment industry,

    This is NO different than what happened 100 years ago with the phonograph, edisons patents, and thse that found way around, there were bootlegs 100 years ago and there will be 100 years from now....

    Fair USE rights WILL prevail, if they dont the solution is simple, a revolution, throw those in power out and start again.

    From time to time the tree of freedom must be renewd with the blood of patriots

    or something like that, from thomas jefferson....
  • by guttentag (313541) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @10:39PM (#2859700) Journal
    If they really want to prevent people from recording TV shows, they should do what some police departments do: "buy back" the dangerous equipment.

    To get guns off the streets, some police departments hold an annual(?) amnesty day on which you can bring your gun (or "someone else's") to a designated place and they will buy it from you.

    I'd like to see ABC, CBS and NBC bidding for my VCR. They probably wouldn't offer cash for the VCRs, though. They would each have their own version of TiVo that tracks your viewing habits, and they would invite you to trade in your clunky old box for a shiny new Big Brothe-- I mean, Personal Video Recorder. NBC would of course offer a discount on the MS HomeStation (since NBC and MS are so close) and a free Passport account.

    Of course, I'll always have my computer's video card hooked up to the cable box...

  • If you find the controls in digital TV (HDTV?)unaccepatable then by all means, don't buy one. Keep using your analogue connection. So long as there is a fair portion of the market that demands analogue TV, it will be provided. I mean think, you can still get TV over the air. I'd venture to say that over 90% of the opoulation has cable, satalite or something else.
  • Reality Check (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kasreyn (233624) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @10:45PM (#2859714) Homepage
    "...When I purchase my next television recording device, will I be able to chose to record my favorite show while I am away from home? Will I be able to record one show while watching another? Or will I be at the mercy of the network ... only allowed to record should they *want* me to record..."

    Here's Captain Obvious with Clues for the Clueful!

    You're ALREADY at the mercy of the network. Who cares about what you can record? You only *watch*, in the first place, the programs they *want* you to watch. (insert Twilight Zone theme here). You seem to be operating under the misconception that TV viewers were ever offered any choice of any variety, which they were not. So please, lose the outraged squawking, it's just plain silly. Either watch TV and accept the crud they shovel at you, or DON'T WATCH TV. This is known, among adults, as a Decision.

    End clue session, exit's to your left...

    -Kasreyn
    • Do you have a choice of what you eat? Unless you are growing vegetables of your deisre, raising Kobe beef or catching sturgeon for caviar, I would guess that you are accepting the "crud they shovel at you" at the supermarket. How about what they "shovel at you" at you favorite eatery? I mean, if TV doesn't have any choices, shouldn't you say the same thing about any other business with a list of services?

      TV is full of choices. I have zillions of channels on my satellite dish. I can choose from bad sitcoms, bad cop shows, bad history programming, bad animals shows and bad sporting events, to name a few. So while the choices TV gives you aren't usually that great, they still are choices for any reasonable definition of the word.

      If the choices we make for TV viewing are so meaningless, why is ABC crapping themselves about their recent ratings drop? I think our TV choices actually have an impact on what we get to view after all.
    • by Bongo (13261)

      You only *watch*, in the first place, the programs they *want* you to watch. (insert Twilight Zone theme here).

      They can want you to watch, but you won't watch unless you want to watch. But if what you want to watch isn't what they want you to watch, then you can't watch. So maybe you give up wanting to watch what you want, and decide to want what they want, so that they get what they want.

      But why do you want what you want? Is what you want what they want you to want? Or does it go the other way, where you don't want what they want and so they stop wanting what they want and instead want what you want so that what you want is what they give?

      Who wants? And who's is the first want? One want to rule them all? Did any of you really want that film? Or is it all because the author wanted what you didn't know you wanted and when he gave it you all said, "this I want!!"

      The power is shared. The wants are co-created between all the parties involved. Give me just enough of what I want and I'll be satisfied.

  • by Restil (31903) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @10:49PM (#2859730) Homepage
    People are used to a certain status quo. They expect to be able to record TV shows. They expect to be able to watch what they want, when they want to. And despite efforts to restrict this in the past, people are legally allowed to do so.

    Certainly, almost anything worth watching can be obtained in an illegal way. I can download any popular TV show off the internet from SOMEWHERE, although these methods most certainly violate copyright. And while quite a few people partcipate in these activities, the greater majority doesn't and won't because its more trouble than its worth.

    However, if people are suddenly unable to do what they've been used to doing for many many years, then some of these other methods might start appealing to them. TV shows will still get copied, just as DVD's are converted to DivX's. The underground scene will not be affected by this, at leat not in the long run. But the average consumer will find it annoying, and they will be driven to seek out other ways to obtain their media content.

    And when they download an episode of "Friends" off the internet, they realize that they can watch it whenever they want. Not only that, but there are no commercials. And they can obtain ANY episode of "Friends" from the first season on, and all they have to do is be patient. If they're going to go to the trouble to do this once, they might realize its not that much trouble after all and might use this method to obtain other TV shows.

    And eventually, they might start realizing they simply don't NEED their cable/satellite/whatever anymore because its become less convienent than obtaining it from the internet, not to mention there's no additional cost as long as they already have broadband.

    Except for the few that still only recieve the broadcast stations, people pay money monthly to watch their programs. They do actually expect something in return, and one of those things is the ability to do so as they wish. In the blind rage of the media corporations to prevent the evil "pirates" from stealing their precious programming and distributing it for free to the less than 1% of the audience who bothers to make use of it, they will alienate the remaining 99%.

    Way to go guys!

    Way to go.

    -Restil
    • I download Friends Eps off of the Internet.

      Why?

      Simple.

      In Germany, I get only the dubbed version on TV which sucks big time. The voices are terrible, the jokes aren't funny anymore, it's not a sitcom, it's sit-torture.

      The same goes for Futurama, only that the translations of the dialogues are the worst thing I ever witnessed on TV. And so the list goes on to cover a few shows I really like. And yet, I still buy the Simpsons DVDs, pre-order Futurama DVDs, etc. But those take years to release.

      The bottom line: A lot of people pirate what they cannot obtain in another way. I know there is a percentage who will always pirate, because it's free - But face it: They WILL indeed ALWAYS pirate, no matter how difficult the companies make it for them. This is not a valid reason to piss the rest of us off. More to the point: I would NOT be a fan of Futurama or Friends had I not foudn the original, downloaded versions on the 'Net.

      What do they make more money on - When I watch the show on TV (including cable fees and money from ads) or when I buy the DVDs?
  • Here's a statement that the stations should listen to;

    A broadcast TV service that doesn't let me time-shift is of no use to me.

    If I can't whack something on a tape and watch it later then I'm going to go somewhere else for my entertainment. My schedule runs around my schedule, not around TV.

    Anyway, I have a nice big expensive analogue TV and an expensive analogue VCR and a large collection of video games stuff that all outputs analogue video signals and a subscription to a cable service that isn't anymore interested in upgrading to digital than I am. Analogue free-to-air could disappear this very moment and I probably wouldn't notice for a month, and I'd never care enough to do anything about it. Heck, Foxtel's gotten so crappy lately that I could probably cope if it went away too.

  • This kinda crap is never going to stop 'piracy.' It's only going to piss off the average consumer who paid for his cable line or satellite or movie disc and wants to do whatever he/she pleases with it. Think of it this way: at the same time all this copy control nonsense is being rolled out, so is HDTV. To take advantage of HDTV, you have new TVs that are using some sort of LCD or Plasma display. So while you may not have access to a plaintext digital stream, the analog signal being fed to these devices is matrix-addressed and quite pure (unlike that of CRTs). All someone has to do is connect the highest quality ADC's they can find directly to the DAC output from the integrated HDTV decoder and voila.. nearly perfect digital copy. (avoiding the crudeness of pointing a camera at a screen..) They might lose accuracy in the least significant bit, but that's not going to stop true pirates from selling fraudulent copies.

    So when you get down to it, once again, this is not about copyright, this is about controlling consumers / reducing privacy to make more money.
  • by NSupremo (161699) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @11:08PM (#2859818) Homepage
    finally contacts us by sending one of our own signals back to us leave it to some asshole to find a way to sue them.
  • by kevina (14659) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @11:49PM (#2859987) Homepage
    I can tell you one thing. It is in the long run not going to work. See The Coming Storm [harvard.edu]. And we can prove to them that it is not going to work by shoving the issue down there throat NOW. How, one of two ways:
    1. Convince TiVo to make there device a truly 100% open programmable device with the ability to store content unencrypted and to be able to transfer the content onto your computer. Such a device will be 100% legal but you bet they will get sued beyond belief which is probably the number one reason isn't right now. So, in order to prevent this from being a reason convince EFF to provide them with legal assistance and funding to fight the battle in court.
    2. We, the open source community can develop such a device ourself. I am in fact planning on doing just that. For more details see This Message [linuxvideo.org] that I posted to the livid-user mailing list. If you are interested fell free to email me at kevin at atkinson dhs org.

    Choice number 1 will defiantly be preferable as it will get more public attention, however, choice number 2 is something we as geeks can defiantly do.

  • I can. (Score:3, Funny)

    by jrs (27486) <jsmook@@@shaw...ca> on Friday January 18, 2002 @12:11AM (#2860061)
    If I can see it, I can record it.
    If I can hear it, I can record it.

    Copy protection dosen't work.
    • So, are you suggesting that Joe Sixpack is going to record his favourite television show by aiming a camcorder to his television set ?
  • I find it exceedingly interesting that this discussion is being posted EXACTLY 18 years after the landmark supreme court case (Sony Corp. vs. Universal City Studios, Inc.) was settled.

    Just a little food for thought.
    • Deliberate (Score:3, Informative)

      by RatFink100 (189508)
      Read the original story again - this is a story that could have been posted any time in the last few, or even next few weeks. Nothing happened yesterday to trigger this story - other than the anniversary of that landmark case - probably deliberate.
  • Don't worry. This will be from the same guys [cptwg.org] that brought you the Content Scrambling System (CSS) for DVDs and we know how serious that was.

    Still that was serious enough for the developer to be persued [bbc.co.uk] through his home country's courts.

    Timeshifting is now a part of everyday life. Slowly, it is no longer an elite group that can set the timer on a vcr (devices like TiVo, help a lot) and a lot of people time-shift.

    It doesn't matter wherether it is a broadcast premiere of a movie or a sports event, both may be time-shifted, and quite legally too! This is going to upset a lot more people than the CSS business and will not do anything for industry credibility or compliance.

  • by sklib (26440) on Friday January 18, 2002 @08:57AM (#2861423)
    I think that any mode of copy protection is rather flawed. Take audio: Let's say you can no longer rip music straight off of a CD. Well, you can always play the CD and just record the sound that comes out with your sound card. Certainly this is somewhat slower and degrades the quality a little, but it's hard to notice unless you're an audiophile, in which case you won't be using mp3 anyway.

    When it comes to capturing TV for example, if you get a TV card, the process of viewing and the process of capturing (it seems to me) are identical no matter what you do. Even if the software that comes with the tv card won't let you record, something will. Even if you have to read from the frame buffer of your video card to get the picture and plug your sound card into itself to get the sound, both of these are still options.

    Since I live in a dorm room, my only TV is in fact my computer, and I've been recording shows into divx'd avi's for quite a while now, and I can't complain about the quality at all.

    So basically even though it may be more inconvenient to record some signals, it will always be possible, so I don't think there's a reason to make a big fuss about it...

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