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Music Media Communications United States

The RIAA's Push for an Audio Broadcast Flag 374

Posted by michael
from the monopoly-protection dept.
aaronsorkin writes "The Recording Industry Association of America has discovered that digital radio broadcasts can be copied and redistributed over the Internet, and so it is pushing the FCC to adopt an audio broadcast flag, which would likely prevent users from sending copyrighted radio programs over the Internet. But it could also hamstring other legitimate uses by preventing a digital radio program from leaving the device on which it was recorded. The FCC has initiated a notice of inquiry (pdf), typically a step leading to formal rule-making. The public may submit comments to the FCC between June 16 and July 16. A lobbyist friend sent me copies of the private correspondence on the subject between RIAA president Cary Sherman and Consumer Electronics Association president Gary Shapiro, and Cryptome just posted them here (pdf) and here (pdf). Yes, they're legit. Mindjack just posted an article I wrote on the subject titled, 'Will Digital Radio Be Napsterized?'"
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The RIAA's Push for an Audio Broadcast Flag

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  • Since when does (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Analog Kid (565327) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:36PM (#9250711)
    the RIAA control radio programs?
    • Re:Since when does (Score:5, Insightful)

      by riptide_dot (759229) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:38PM (#9250749)
      If the FCC lets it dictate their policy, then whenever that happens...

      Until then, Radio content is still regulated by the FCC - an equally biased organization nonetheless...
    • Since many radio stations broadcast music that is owned by record labels who are members of the RIAA.
    • Re:Since when does (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jdunlevy (187745) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:45PM (#9250844) Homepage
      he RIAA control radio programs?
      Since they found out they actually can control webcasting. That was a crucial slide down the slippery slop, and the RIAA will see how far down they can push us.
    • Re:Since when does (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CarrionBird (589738)
      When they were allowed to become a de-facto part of government. Thank senators WB and Sony and pals.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:36PM (#9250724)
    Flags are easily ignored, and if the stream is sent out in-tact it's a non issue anyway. When will they learn?
    • by pragma_x (644215) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:56PM (#9250994) Journal
      Flags are easily ignored, and if the stream is sent out in-tact it's a non issue anyway. When will they learn?

      Yes, it will probably be easy to circumvent, as is true with many other copy protection schemes.

      But what this AC fails to realize here is that by instituting a legitimate 'copy-protection feature' (albeit very flimsy) it serves only as a legal lightning rod for copyright violation lawsuits. Furthermore, it bolsters the media's image of attempting to protect what it has, lest someone contests the issue that it more or less 'looks' like they don't care who violates copyright for radio broadcasts. Also the latter may not be much more of a deterrent, but I'm sure the members of the RIAA have shareholders (not just customers) to think about too.

      Think of it this way: how much easier would it be to circumvent being fined, or contest and reduce those fines, for speeding if the limit wasn't even posted? The RIAA is now just trying to put the signs up.

      IMO, if this goes through, the FCC/RIAA will be able to say that people have 'willfully broken/violated a protection measure' rather than just saying 'they ignored copyright law'. (DMCA anyone?)

      • this is very similar to that annoying 35 mph speed limit in the middle of nowhere in whyoming right next to double orange lines as far as the eye can see...
        • Exactly!

          C'mon, break the law.. we know you already are, only now we have some extra tools at our disposal to kick your ass.

          Meanwhile there's 12 squad cars with radar guns hiding behind that barn on the horizon. Or in case of the RIAA, its a gang of laywers who already have the suits prepared, mad-lib style.

      • by Simonetta (207550) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @06:56PM (#9253813)
        The way to get rich off the law is pass a law (bribe and blackmail the lawmakers) that makes illegal something that a large minority of people do. The majority of people will support the law because they don't engage in the particular activity.

        Then use the fact that a large minority of people do it and continue to do it despite its illegality to raise the penalities for breaking this law very high. Again the majority of people will go along with this because they don't engage in this particular activity.

        Use the high penalities to encourage a system of bounty hunters who get to share in the enormous fines that are brought against the many people (a large minority works best) who are found disobeying this law when they snitch their neighbors to the authorities for disobeying this law. Make sure the activity that is made illegal is common and accepted by a large minority of people. The best size of this minority is about 15 percent of the population; a larger percentage and you run the risk of a successful revolt and a smaller percentage doesn't bring in enough money to make the whole business worthwhile.

        Then just sit back and let the money pile in from legal fees and fines.

        In the USA, the stategy worked great on Black people (African-Americans) until the 1960's. It worked great on gays and other sexual minorities until the late 1970's. It still brings in hundreds of millions of dollars from the marijuana community every year to the police and the lawyers.

        Now it about to be applied to the recorded music-lover community, starting with random students and working up from there to the general middle-class.

        Just one more permanent American extortion money-making scheme. As soon as one passes, another takes its place. Americans talk a lot of trash about freedom, but when it comes to using the law to extort money from minorities, be they racial, sexual, life-style, and now digital media minorities, the dollar always comes first.
  • Foolish. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Foolish sums up all of their attempts at putting the genie back in the bottle. RIAA, wake up, the younger generation doesn't think twice about obtaining copies of the music they want, despite what legislation you buy. You can't turn back the clock legally and expect that to cause cultural backpedalling.
  • Evil bit... (Score:5, Funny)

    by b.e.n.n.y_b.o.y_1234 (652631) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:38PM (#9250748) Homepage
    Why don't they just set the 'evil' bit?!
  • easy to bypass (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eisenbud (708663) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:39PM (#9250764)
    How lossy is hooking up the line out of your digital radio to your computer's sound input? Obviously you wouldn't want to do that over and over again, but I bet after one iteration of digital to analog to digital you'd still have very good sound quality. So this won't even work terribly well to "prevent piracy".
    • Re:easy to bypass (Score:3, Interesting)

      by forand (530402)
      I think that the RIAA is trying to just make it harder. They thought that tapes were the end of the world too but in the end they realized that it was just too time consuming to make copies of all your records. They worry about it now if you can make 10k copies in just a few minutes, this bit flag would only be on US electronics and not universal so the problem will still be there just harder for people in the US. Also it will mean that electronics will cost, however slightly, more due to being forced t
    • Hard to bypass (Score:3, Informative)

      by nurb432 (527695)
      Remember they want even D/A chips to have DRM features, so if the data isn't authorized, you wont get any sound out at all...

      Sure its not practical, but they can move towards the goal.
    • Re:easy to bypass (Score:5, Informative)

      by Entropius (188861) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @03:46PM (#9251708)
      I'll answer that question: not very lossy at all. You probably don't want to do it on an onboard sound card, but any decent PCI (or even USB) sound board ($~40) will provide for this purpose perfect recording.

      This is compounded by the fact that radio signals (as someone above pointed out) go through a process called "dynamic range compression", which basically makes the soft bits louder and the loud bits softer. This does a couple of things: 1) it makes setting recording levels for FM recording a snap, since it's all close to the same amplitude, 2) it makes sound card fidelity even less important, since you don't have a huge dynamic range to deal with*, 3) it screws up the quality anyway, so who cares if your card puts a -50 dB noise signal in there?

      (Comment about dynamic range compression: I suppose boosting soft bits of the audio helps to raise the signal-to-noise ratio for weak FM signals--otherwise very soft passages would get lost in static. Even with range compression the local classical station has issues with this.However, wouldn't it be trivial to do the range compression, then broadcast the dynamic shift on a sideband channel? Then the FM receiver could reconstruct the original dynamic from the (compressed) signal and the sideband dynamic indication. That would be the best of both worlds... and would be backwards-compatible since older FM receivers would just get the compressed signal, same as they do now.)

      You're not going to get audiophile-quality sound off an FM broadcast. This isn't the fault of the recording equipment, the radio receiver, or the FM transmission process; it's what they do to the signal before it hits the transmitter. This is a good thing for this purpose though, since it means even crappy hardware doesn't mess up the recording!

      *Some of the most challenging signals to record accurately are those with both very loud and very soft periods. The recording gain has to be set low enough to accomodate the loud passages. Then, the combination of the low gain with the low intrinsic volume of the soft bits makes for a very low signal--which, on bad hardware, can be comparable to the noise floor. But we don't care about this on the radio, since it's *all* loud.
  • Introductions... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Aneurysm9 (723000) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:39PM (#9250767)
    Fair use, meet the circular file. Circular file, meet fair use.
    • Yet another nail in the coffin of freedom of speech and the ability to do things easily. Mind you I'm sure they'll incorporate DRM into everything new eventually and then just wait for the other hardware devices to fail....
    • by Naikrovek (667)
      why doesn't anyone do anything about these kinds of things? everyone bitches about it but do any of you actually DO ANYTHING to stop it?

      It is very easy to bitch and moan here - in fact it seems to be the fuel that keeps this site going - but those of you that aren't actually making an effort to stop things like this DESERVE the broadcast flag.

      mod me up, down, sideways, whatever. just don't bitch about it unless you do something to stop it.
  • Flag (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nkh (750837) <exochicken@gm a i l .com> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:40PM (#9250774) Journal
    And the broadcast flag is automatically cleared when the packet leaves american computers? We should tell Cisco to put this new feature in their routers.
  • Remember DAT? (Score:5, Informative)

    by PeeAitchPee (712652) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:40PM (#9250777)
    They did this about 15 years ago with what was the last promising tape-based format, and ended up killing the medium for pretty much everyone but pro audio studios. Wonder how much potential revenue they missed out on w/ that fiasco?
    • Re:Remember DAT? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Zirnike (640152)
      "ended up killing the medium for pretty much everyone"

      You found the point, I think...

      "Wonder how much potential revenue they missed out on w/ that fiasco?"

      Who are you asking? If you ask the RIAA-types, they'll say that they saved massive amounts of money because it reduced the rampant piracy that DAT would obviously have.

      If you ask anyone with a brain, well, that's a differant answer...

  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:40PM (#9250778)
    where the villains' scheme depended on the "fact" that no matter what type of regulatory and taxation hell the industries were put under, they'd still produce, and this provide power to the very people who were strangling them.

    How long until people just give up and listen to local music? Leave the RIAA to the sheep, and the sheep to the RIAA, and the sheep will get what they deserve. Remember, the only reason that ??AA organizations have any influence is that people buy their stuff. You have two options: buy their stuff, but don't complain, or don't buy their stuff, and try and support alternative markets - local bands, live concerts, low power FM, etc.
    • The only problem is that I shouldn't have to jump through flaming hoops to avoid being a sheep.

      I'd rather work hard at setting policy and providing feedback than sitting back and letting the 'sheep' get their due and having to work hard to spend 50$ on specialty cables and tools to circumvent useless technological and legal constraints.

      The reason the ??AA have influence is because they represent a BUNCH of competitors in a market and thus have influence that depends more on people's desire for that commod
    • by Wylfing (144940) <brian&wylfing,net> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @03:00PM (#9251038) Homepage Journal
      You have two options: buy their stuff, but don't complain, or don't buy their stuff, and try and support alternative markets - local bands, live concerts, low power FM, etc.

      This is undoubtedly what the long term future holds. However, for the next 50 years, if you don't buy their stuff outright, they'll just get a law passed under which the government collects money from you on their behalf. You will pay the RIAA whether you want to or not.

      • "You will pay the RIAA whether you want to or not."

        Ask our friends in Canada about that.
    • by tetsuji (572812) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @03:01PM (#9251047) Homepage
      How long until people just give up and listen to local music? Leave the RIAA to the sheep, and the sheep to the RIAA, and the sheep will get what they deserve.

      Too many sheep.

    • When will they start listening to local music again? Guess what, they already have rocket rangers.

      One of the drivers behind the revival of live music at bars, coffee cafes, and theme restaurants (new orleans jazz, progressive, classic rock, etc.) is the abysmal creativity in writing and talent in performing of the current "MTV clones".

      Seriously, does anyone think political talk would have taken over radio if it had real musical competition? Has anyone noticed that the talk radio operations are plowing t
    • Very insightful. I have a few "starving musician" friends who'd appreciate a bigger audience. And lately, even the CDs I've been buying have been imports, and small labels (like Century Media [centurymedia.com]).

      Then again, I am following the sheep to this summer's Ozzfest [ozzfest.com]. But with a re-united Judas Priest, I couldn't resist. Oh, well, I guess, small steps.

    • by gillbates (106458) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @04:24PM (#9252196) Homepage Journal

      You have two options: buy their stuff, but don't complain, or don't buy their stuff, and try and support alternative markets...

      It has probably been five years since I bought a CD for myself, yet I continue to rent movies on a regular basis... While the RIAA has been busy "fighting" the demons of piracy, I've been losing interest in their material.

      A few years ago I heard a friend of mine (and his band) sing a rendition of a popular song. What impressed me most was that this guy was in his early 20's, and he sounded exactly like the CD. The rest of his family is into music; he's been raised with it his entire life. Though he wasn't a music major, he had developed a talent which far exceed a lot of the trash that gets put on CD's today.

      And he's just one. In college, I did sound mixing for some of the music majors I knew, and even the "B" student music majors could make most of the pop-40 singers sound like amateurs. There's a lot of talent out there - good talent - and the majority of it is never heard. In fact, the smarter ones stay away from the RIAA because they've figured out that the draconian terms of an RIAA-member recording contract leave the musician with no room to actually earn a decent living.

      But after hearing a few of my friends perform, my tastes in music have changed. I've been exposed to real music - music with feeling, purpose, and beauty. I can't go back to listening to pop-40, because it sounds so assinine by comparison.

      The RIAA fails to understand that people are beginning to realize that listening to any RIAA music comes with a lawsuit risk. How am I supposed to relax and have a good time listening to music if I'm worried that a convenience copy could land me in court? How can I kick back and relax if I have to think about "licensing issues" every time I play a song or rip a CD?

      The RIAA isn't losing sales because of Napster, or Gnutella, or file-sharing software. They are losing sales because those of us who really appreciate music find it appalling that a musician (or his representative) would sue a fan. This completely destroys a person's ability to enjoy music. It doesn't matter even if I am completely legit - the fact that I'm listening to the voice of someone with a mean streak spoils any listening pleasure I might otherwise have had.

      And strangely, now that we've gotten off the CD-sales bandwagon and discovered that listening to real people making real music is more enjoyable, we aren't going back. We're spending more money than ever on music - cover charges, concert tickets, etc... but the RIAA is getting less and less of it.

      And that's why the RIAA is mad. People are spending more money than ever on music, and they feel like they've been cut out of the deal. Truth is, they made money selling what never belonged to them in the first place, and now they're mad because they are losing their ability to exploit the talent of others for their own financial gain.

  • FUCK RADIO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LocalH (28506) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:41PM (#9250787) Homepage
    I don't even listen to radio anyway. Of course, I'll still be arguing against the broadcast flags anytime it comes up, but I haven't listened to the radio in, hell, I can't remember how long.

    Besides, I doubt digital terrestrial radio will take off, same way that digital terrestrial television has not taken off - the few people watching terrestrial DTV are those with HD sets.

    If an industry doesn't see fit to give me my legal rights, then I won't use their product, and I will do my damndest to make sure other people don't use their product either.

    I resent being told that I can't do something because I *might* use it for illegal purposes. Even if what I'm actually *planning* to do is fully legal.

    And, just like virtually every other protection system out there, it WILL be broken. The only one I know of that HASN'T been broken publically is digital cable - and I feel it's been broken, but just not revealed to the public yet.
    • Re:FUCK RADIO (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Dark Paladin (116525) * <jhummel@johnhumm ... t minus caffeine> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:53PM (#9250956) Homepage
      I don't think I've listened to any radio but NPR (for news) for about a year now. Otherwise, I ask some of my friends what they like and give it a listen, then buy it from one of the online stores (like the iTunes store).

      Otherwise, radio for me died when I turned it on, heard the same songs I had heard 12 months before played every 2 hours, turned it off for 2 months, turned it on (same songs from 2 months ago every few hours), turned it off for 4 months, and repeat.

      I figure another 8 months and I'll see if anything new is playing. Till then, forget it.
  • by karmatic (776420) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:42PM (#9250815)
    Here [t28.net].
  • by Fiz Ocelot (642698) <baelzharon@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:44PM (#9250836)
    "Also, as noted in your letter, there is no content "license" at issue because RIAA members have no licensable right that could be a basis for imposing limitations on free broadcasts."

    Looks like this may be a lot harder for the RIAA than mp3 issues to me.

    • No licensable right? What about the rights granted by 17 U.S.C. 107(1),(3), and (6)? [cornell.edu] It would seem that the copyright holder or their representatibe would have the right to prevent unauthorized copying, distribution, and public performance by digital audio transmission. That's not to say this broadcast flag is the best way to protect those rights, but they certainly have those rights to protect.
  • Fair enough (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nacturation (646836) <nacturation@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:45PM (#9250845) Journal
    This may be an unpopular opinion here, but I don't see anything wrong with this. Radio is there for you to listen to and enjoy. The music is being broadcast to you at no charge (excepting commercial-free services like XM and Sirius) and the broadcaster sets the licensing terms. Naturally, the broadcaster needs to comply with the licensing terms of the copyright owner, represented typically by the RIAA.

    So what rights are being infringed here? Unless you're paying a radio station to broadcast your own music to you, you are not in posession of a license to the music. So fair use in terms of copying to your computer, etc. doesn't apply as you haven't purchased anything. One could make the argument from a research standpoint and being able to record samples for the purposes of critique, etc. This would easily be fulfilled by plugging a jack into the headphone slot and recording the non-digital output to tape or via line-in on a computer and you'd still get better quality than any non-digital radio station that exists today.

    Honestly, I don't see an issue here.
    • Re:Fair enough (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LocalH (28506)
      I believe if you have a right to access the analog version, you also have a right to access the clean digital version. You don't lose any rights just because it's 0s and 1s, instead of a variable voltage.

      So now, it's apparently a crime to be a purist, and want direct access to high quality media? Sure, maybe the analog version might be good enough for you, but if you're a purist, then it's not.
      • I believe if you have a right to access the analog version, you also have a right to access the clean digital version. You don't lose any rights just because it's 0s and 1s, instead of a variable voltage.

        So now, it's apparently a crime to be a purist, and want direct access to high quality media? Sure, maybe the analog version might be good enough for you, but if you're a purist, then it's not.


        I've been listening to analog acoustic waves all my life so, pray tell, where can I get a direct digital audio f
        • Re:Fair enough (Score:4, Informative)

          by LocalH (28506) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @03:08PM (#9251142) Homepage
          Fair use isn't qualified by 'if you paid cash money for a license'. Fair use applies to ALL copyrighted content, period. Yes, there are limitations. But redistribution and commercial intent are two of the BIG ones - if I'm not redistributing, and I'm not profiting commercially in any other way, then I am LEGAL, whether you think I have 'rights' or not.

          If they broadcast it, I can exercise fair use rights.
    • The only issue I see is that if the RIAA gets its way, it'll mean manufacturers have to research, develop, and produce solutions to the RIAA's "problem" and end up costing me money when I buy their broken equipment.
      • The only issue I see is that if the RIAA gets its way, it'll mean manufacturers have to research, develop, and produce solutions to the RIAA's "problem" and end up costing me money when I buy their broken equipment.

        Why would you buy broken equipment then? Spend your money elsewhere. Nobody's forcing you to go out and buy a crippled digital receiver.
    • You are mistaken (Score:5, Interesting)

      by A nonymous Coward (7548) * on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:54PM (#9250960)
      Consider someone listening to a radio show and writing an article about it. That would be fair use, no? Then if that someone happens to be a radio journalist, is it not also fair use for said radio journalist to include a snippet of the original broadcast?

      This happens all the time. Ever heard that famous Hindenburg broadcast? How about snippets from famous radio shows?

      It's no good to say you should make your own analogue recording. That's an artificial limit to fair use. What if said journalist is a poor starving student who does everything on a home computer? Are you saying students have to buy D/A and A/D converters to become journalists?

      You can't start limiting fair use, or it becomes unfair use.
      • Re:You are mistaken (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nacturation (646836)
        Consider someone listening to a radio show and writing an article about it. That would be fair use, no? Then if that someone happens to be a radio journalist, is it not also fair use for said radio journalist to include a snippet of the original broadcast?

        It's no good to say you should make your own analogue recording. That's an artificial limit to fair use. What if said journalist is a poor starving student who does everything on a home computer? Are you saying students have to buy D/A and A/D converters
        • Shall we limit freedom of speech to only book runs of at least 1 million copies?

          No one is saying taxpayers have to fund poor starving students, even if that is not what you are implying. But when roadblocks to fair use only apply to those who don't spend extra money, it becomes unfair use.

          The whole idea of fair use available only to those with enough money is disgusting.
        • by MenTaLguY (5483) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @03:51PM (#9251774) Homepage
          I shouldn't say something like that without backing it up.

          Here: Content Protection Status Report [senate.gov]

          Implementation of a "broadcast flag" is listed as Goal One. Goal two is ... wait for it ... "plugging the analog hole".

          Of course there are easy technical ways to bypass any such schemes if you can get your hands on uncrippled A/D hardware. Your student or journalist is welcome to take advantage of them if they are willing to risk going to prison.
    • Re:Fair enough (Score:2, Informative)

      by Cbs228 (596164)

      So fair use in terms of copying to your computer, etc. doesn't apply as you haven't purchased anything.

      That is simply not true. Traditionally, consumers have had the right to "time shift" or "media shift" copyrighted works. "Time shifting" is what allows you to legally record a T.V. show (either with a VHS tape or a PVR) for later viewing. The inclusion of a broadcast flag takes away this right. Yes, time-shifting can be used for copyright infringement, but that does not change the fact that the RIAA et

    • This would easily be fulfilled by plugging a jack into the headphone slot and recording the non-digital output to tape or via line-in on a computer and you'd still get better quality than any non-digital radio station that exists today.

      I hate to play devil's advocate (ok, I lie, I love it, but I hate to do it for the RIAA) but it would seem that this would open you up to DMCA liability. The way I read the anticircumvention provisions [cornell.edu] this would be a "circumvent[ion of] a technological measure that effecti

  • if they transmit as a HDTV signal (not familiar with subject so please forgive) and just didn't put in a video signal wouldn't the normal broadcast flag cover this?

    or does the current broadcast flag only cover video? so i couldn't save in HDTV format but i would be able to listen to the THX sound?
  • As long as the RIAA is given the same freedoms that the real Mafia enjoyed in Chicago, they will continue acting like this.

    "So, I says to my pal Vinny here, that I didn't think yer MCL (Music Creation License) was quite.. shall we say... up to snuff."

    "Hehe, ya... snuff!"

    "Quiet! Anyways, I was thinkin... Maybe if ye wanted to help us out, wese could maybe help you out. Vinny and I were really looking to find some of those Internet Terrorists, you knows... the ones that download YOUR music without paying
  • I like it (Score:2, Funny)

    by L. VeGas (580015)
    Maybe some can't tell the difference with their lousy computer speakers, but to a real audiophile, music sounds much better with a broadcast flag.

    It's like salt for music. You don't have to have it, it's just better with it.
  • any digital protection system can be broken, no matter HOW complicated.

    the one way that breaks ALL digital protection systems, and still leaves the content with decent audio, is to go through an analog phase. record from the output of your sound card into another computer via the analog lines, you only lose one analog generation (negligable given how lossy mp3 encoding was on the original content), and get a perfectly rippable copy on the other side with no history of any DRM preserved whatsoever.

    so you DRM bastards: KNOCK IT OFF!

    All DRM does is make the stupid feel empowered, the common person feel condescended to, and the pirates feel bored as to how easy it was to crack it...
    • Unless, of course, there's end-to-end encryption all the way to the speaker. "Just record from the speaker, then!" you say. Well, what you do is you add a watermark to the audio, and you stick DRM software in the recording devices such that they refuse to record if they detect the watermark (kinda like those dots they put on money that photocopiers search for). Suddenly, no "authorized" recording device will record protected audio. Viola! End-to-end DRM is achieved.

      Now, nothing I said is particularly
    • News flash: they don't care if you can break it. They care that they can arrest you (or sue you) if you break it. To them, these are just like locks on your house: sure, someone can pick the lock...but picking the lock on someone else's house is illegal, and is grounds for the cops to come after you.

      This is all about putting a legal framework in place to enforce controls on "content". Whether the controls are technically effective is completely beside the point. As long as they can get you wrapped into
    • by Otto (17870) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @03:54PM (#9251814) Homepage Journal
      You're half right. Tech like water marking can survive a D-A and A-D transitions. And make no mistake, that's the long term goal here. These sorts of "flags" are just the beginning, because they introduce the concept of forcing equipment manufacturers to include enforcement of DRM technologies. It doesn't matter that the current technology is ineffective, what matters is that new hardware *must* support it, by law.

      Once that framework is built into place, newer tech that can survive these conversions gets introduced, and it's easier to push it into the marketplace, because the law says that this sort of thing must be included in consumer hardware. Eventually, you don't have any hardware that will actually record that analog source. It'll all detect the watermark, and refuse to record. Oh, there will be workarounds, but this sort of knowledge is already forbidden for you to pass around, by the DMCA. That's right, it's illegal for you to tell somebody how to bypass a protection mechanism, be it by code or by word of mouth or by t-shirt. The DMCA makes no distinction between these methods.

      And that's their vision of the future. Total control of all media. It's just that simple, really. You want to make a copy for your car? You can't. You want to watch the program later than they air it? Sorry, the broadcaster of the show has decided that you might skip the ads if you did that, so your recorder won't record it. And if you post anywhere telling other people how to fix these "problems" with the equipment they bought, armed guards show up at your residence and take you away and put you in a padded cell and stare at you thru a small window for the rest of your life, because you're an informational terrorist.

      Pretty bleak, but unfortunately I don't think it's all that much of a stretch of the imagination anymore.
  • by Jtheletter (686279) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:48PM (#9250882)
    ...the RIAA began legal filings to sue numerous users of an online news forum collectively known as "slashdotters" for copyright infringement of internal emails.

    The emails, stored in a digital format known as PDF (which the RIAA maintains is yet another tool used exclusively by online hackers and pirates for the sole purpose of stealing IP), while not normally covered by copyright, were in this case earmarked by RIAA president Cary Sherman for use in his new book: Digital Stranglehold - a Step-by-Step Guide to Forcefully Prevent Any Exchange of Audio Information Whatsoever in the New Millenium - or - How to Ram the Buttplug of DRM Further up the American Consumer's Ass.

  • They need to wave one of these [aaronfein.com], cuz they can't stop the revolution
  • by TheTXLibra (781128) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:50PM (#9250905) Homepage Journal
    Shock Jocks are controlled by the FCC.
    The FCC is controlled by the Supreme Court, which is controlled Bavarian Illuminati.
    RIAA is controlled by Cthulhu.
    RIAA with the assistance of Cthulhu will attempt to control the FCC... and they're bidding tons of megabucks.

    ...let's hope to God they roll an 11 or 12.

    -The Libra
    "You've got no kids, no wife, no job, and you're not in The Tigger Movie!!!"
    - my best friend's son, Gabe, at 5 years old. [everything2.com]
    • RIAA with the assistance of Cthulhu will attempt to control the FCC... and they're bidding tons of megabucks.

      It's worse than that... they're playing using INWO rules and Military-Industrial Complex is in play. That -4 to control's now a +4!

  • by tkrotchko (124118) * on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:50PM (#9250906) Homepage
    ...we say that he goes down for the 3rd time to mean that he used up his chances for life and he's finally going under for good.

    This is really the RIAA and its members going down for the 3rd time.

    What I'm really waiting for is for the sh*t to hit the fan when Joe Six Pack buys his $3K HDTV, and pays Comcast $150 a month for HDTV content and then another $2K for his Digital VCR (or DVD or whatever), and he presses the RECORD button to tape the latest Victoria Secret underwear show, and a message pops up that says "Due to copyright restrictions, you may not record".

    All of the sudden people will understand what people like the EFF have been complaining about for years.

    Right now, congress and the FCC is passing these goofy laws and regulations because there's no downside; broadcast flag? Sure. DRM? Sure. Whatever will keep Hollywood happy.

    But when people begin to complain about losing their ability to do what they do today, people are going to be very unhappy, and that's the stuff that brings people out to vote. Remember, Florida? It only take a few people to tip an entire election.

    DRM on consumer audio in the past has been the death of a new format. I don't think things have changed that much. Unhappy consumers won't buy stuff.

    And if consumers aren't buying TV's, Radio's and Computers because of Hollywood/RIAA lobbying, things will change quickly.
  • by burgburgburg (574866) <splisken06 @ e m a i l . com> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:50PM (#9250910)
    Memory flag

    All audio/video devices will have to be able to broadcast the memory flag. Only individuals who have had the necessary surgery (elective, not typically covered by insurance) will be able to actually view such content. Depending on the decision of the content provider, the content might almost immediately disappear from a person's memory, be a faint memory driving the repurchase of an opportunity to see/hear it again, or could be lodged so firmly in their brain of the end-user that they will have to pay extra to get rid of it.

  • Zinf [zinf.org] has long allowed for the saving of digital broadcasts, from shoutcast at least. But I havn't tested it on other formats, like .m3u streams and what-not (and can't 'cause I'm at work)
  • by karmatic (776420) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:54PM (#9250965)
    This is just another failed attempt to excercise control over digital services. It's to be expected - they are convinced it will make them more money in the end, and as such they feel compelled to stop it.

    This technology, like Macrovision (that's not technically digital, but it fits), DVD's CSS, Adobe PDF, Zip File Passwords, iTunes, SDMI, Microsoft Reader, DirecTV, those silly self-destructing DVDs, faulty CD Toc's, autorun-based protection, SecuRom, Game Consoles, LaserLok, and any other number of protection technologies, it will be defeated, broken, or bypassed).

    Hundreds of man-hours, hundreds of millions of dollars in development and marketing, and the only real protection still lying around is simple cryptography (and only when the keys aren't given to users at all, instead of this "hide it in the box, but don't tell anyone" crap).

    The only real reason to be concerned is the "stifiling innovation" issue. What devices, technologies, or uses will I lose because of this? To some extent, it benefits open-source, as open-source software can address markets made smaller by the fact that the only way to use the services the way you want is to break the law.

    However, how many cool gizmos, gadgets, and whatnots haven't been made, thanks to the DMCA etc.?

    Just a little something to think about.
  • http://www.radioshack.com/product.asp?catalog%5Fna me=CTLG&product%5Fid=42-2550
  • Once again RIAA shows us that is simply can't adapt themselves to the new reality of information sharing.

    Internet isn't just a new media, or a new commercial channel. It's also a new and improved way to communicate. For those who want me to be even more clear, it's a new way to share and exchange information.

    The fact is that internet users will, for itself, share information among each other. That's what a communication tool meant to do. And there's nothing RIAA can do that'll will avoid 95% of the world population (US residents are 5% only) sharing information, musing included.

    RIAA must do just like any other group or company around the world when a new technology tries to ruin its buissines, adapt.

    Not adapting itself to the new technological reality, RIAA is opening huge chances of new visionaries company or groups to be successful, being the first in the market and getting ahead even before RIAA can think in any action to avoid it.

    The revolution is in its way. All we can do (including RIAA) is adapt ourselves to it. It's useless to try to stop a train without destroying it.

  • by Forget4it (530598)
    BBC - the British Public Service broadcaster is doing it's damnedest to make itself the voice available to anyone anywhere:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/tv_and_ra dio/3177479.stm [bbc.co.uk]

  • by Lead Butthead (321013) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:59PM (#9251032) Journal
    Consumers: What happen?
    Slash-Dot: Somebody set up us the Broadcast Flag.
    Slash-Dot: We get SUED.
    Consumers: What!
    Slash-Dot: Main screen turn on.
    Consumers: It's You!!
    RIAA: How are you gentlemen!!
    RIAA: All your radio are belong to us.
    RIAA: Your fair use rights are on the way to destruction.
    Consumers: What you say!!
    RIAA: Your rights have no chance to survive make your time.
    RIAA: HA HA HA HA!
    RIAA: Sue you all
    Consumers: You know what you doing.
    RIAA: Landsharks, engage
    Consumers: For great justice.
  • the RIAA is bound to push for implanted "ear-meters" in everyone, and automatic billing whenever music is listened to.

  • which would likely prevent users from sending copyrighted radio programs over the Internet

    Likely ATTEMPT maybe. Likely prevent?

    Not...
    um. Not..

    Well, not likely.
  • If I listen to a song playing in my head, do I have to pay royalties on it?

    Peace

  • by Fullmetal Edward (720590) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @03:03PM (#9251063) Journal
    12 year old girl caught singing Britney in the shower. RIAA sue for 17 billion dollars over copyright issues.

    Next on in the future news!
  • Old programs? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by eviljolly (411836) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @03:03PM (#9251066) Journal
    So how are they going to stop us from using older programs to broadcast the media? I don't feel a need to upgrade my shoutcast server just so I can have a radio broadcast flag that rats me out when I'm broadcasting copyrighted music. They would either have to change the way the internet works, or force a new media type on us other than mp3.
  • I remember when I went to college in the late 1980's, the RIAA had a campaign against Digital Audio Tape (DAT) but also, they had an ad campaign to get people to support a tax on blank audio casettes.

    The college administration put up the RIAA flyers on the proposed tape tax and to lobby against DAT. At the time, CD's were becoming mainstream and the idea of burning CD's were a concept, not reality.

    At the time, I bought CD's and one of the first things I did was make audio tape recordings from the CD's
  • by dnamaners (770001) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @03:07PM (#9251118) Journal
    This may be invasive and annoying but it will not stop the recording. In order for the flag to work all the software will have to be "flag" compliant. So simply the adoption of this will provide either a resurgence of older tools that don't support this "feature" or new softwear that will not support this (or allow it to be turned off) even if mandated by law. Even that NX thing and the flag combined will not stop the recording as it:

    A.) will only be present on new systems so old hardware will still work(how much computer do you need to stream rip any way).

    B.) because as long as you can hear it you can record it. so perhaps the sound will have to be recorded right off the analog output by the very same computer that is playing it, after extracting the ID3 of course.

    C.) if by some magic they make it work and be fool proof people will simply go back to cd ripping and file sharing. By that time the new encrypted networks will be better and harder to sue users of.

    This will only add another teer of complexity and another charge that they can sue the file makers for.

    "FROG!" ..... "I said frog, now jump dammit, jump!" ........"Um boss, it's not working." ...... "awww be a good boy, please jump when i say frog".......
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @03:19PM (#9251292) Homepage Journal
    "Granddad, do you still remember when you could listen to music when you wanted too without having to pay every time.. what was that like?"
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @03:23PM (#9251356) Homepage Journal
    I cant believe the tag *cant* be removed. Then your music is 'free' again.

    Sure the common guy wont be able to do this, but it seems the common guy is just screwed these days anyway.
  • Here . . . (Score:3, Funny)

    by Lorenzo de Medici (774505) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @03:29PM (#9251472)
    . . . take my fair use rights. I wasn't using them anyway.

    Recording Industry Association of America has discovered that digital radio broadcasts can be copied and redistributed over the Internet

    I'm trying to imagine that moment when they "discovered" this . . . Did they honestly just not know? "Gee, we're sending them a stream of data that gets played automatically. Those stupid end users will never think to *save* that data!"

  • by jhylkema (545853) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @03:42PM (#9251661)
    Okay, one side (the content providers) wants to impose some DRM scheme on whatever. The other side, the geeks, will attempt to break them. Now, other than OTP, no encryption scheme is unbreakable. The only value encryption has is to make it more expensive to unlock the data than it's worth. However, when the opposition has a religious fervor and practically unlimited resources, inevitably it will be broken. (SDMI? iTunes? DeCSS?) Exhibit "A" is DeCSS. Export of strong cryptography is prohibited by law. So whatever they come up with will be fairly trivial for the geeks to break. As for it being a lightning rod for copyright lawsuits, well, P2P continues relatively unabated against the RIAA's jihad of suing 12-year-olds and grandmothers.
  • by Gothic_Walrus (692125) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @03:46PM (#9251710) Journal
    If the FCC adopts such a broadcast flag rule for digital radio, it would apply only to what's called "in-band on-channel digital radio content," that is, digital radio stations that broadcast over the airwaves -- as traditional AM and FM stations now do -- and not to satellite radio or Webcasters that stream digital radio over the Internet.

    Unless I'm mistaken, this means that the flag will not apply to Shoutcast radio stations or others that are internet-only. This sounds like it applies to XM, Sirius, and other forms of digital radio, but NOT what's streamed to your computer.

    Then again, I could be misinterpreting that part of the article...

  • Ridiculous (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 0x0d0a (568518) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @06:26PM (#9253526) Journal
    This is absurd.

    The RIAA is asking for protections greater than they recieve for analog radio.

    The problem is that none of the justifications they claim for extended protections apply here.

    The earlier justification was that "digital copies allow infinite generations of lossless copies to be made."

    If someone is recording from the analog radio, they make a digital copy of a lossy transmission. At that point, they can make an infinite number of copies.

    If someone is recording from digital radio, they can make an infinite number of copies of a lossily (probably MP3) encoded stream. Exact same thing.

    Furthermore, because of the nature of streaming data networks, it can be more efficient to use retransmission -- to send one stream of audio to a single host in Sweden that then rebroadcasts ten streams to other Swedish hosts. This is superior than directly sending to eleven Swedish hosts. This would prohibit network structures of such a variety.

    I can't even figure out why the RIAA managed to impose per-stream fees on Internet radio. That's *absurd*. Normal radio has a smaller transmission cost (i.e. not linear in the number of listeners), and has potential audiences several orders of magnitude larger than Internet radio. Why Internet radio stations can't enjoy small, flat rate fees for playing music is beyond me.

    I'm so frusterated with the RIAA. If there was a single vote that could remove all their lobbying, I'd vote for it in a second. But instead, it's a long, unending, slow grind against people that have the potential to make scads more money by swaying a couple of votes.

I took a fish head to the movies and I didn't have to pay. -- Fish Heads, Saturday Night Live, 1977.

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