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MPAA to Senate: Plug the Analog Hole! 734

A month ago, the MPAA filed its report [PDF] with the Senate Judiciary Committee on the terrors of analog copying. I quote: "in order to help plug the hole, watermark detectors would be required in" -- are you sitting down? -- "all devices that perform analog to digital conversions." At their page Protecting Creative Works in a Digital Age, the Senate lays out the issues they'll be looking at, including briefs from corporate groups, and provides a comment form so your opinion can be heard as well. As Cory Doctorow writes: "this is a much more sweeping (and less visible) power-grab than the Hollings Bill, and it's going forward virtually unopposed. ...the Broadcast Protection Discussion Group is bare weeks away from turning over a veto on new technologies to Hollywood." Doctorow's article on the "analog hole" for the EFF does a great job of explaining the issues to non-electrical-engineers, and has many thought-provoking examples of how requiring such technology would be a giant step backwards.
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MPAA to Senate: Plug the Analog Hole!

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  • Plug what? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24, 2002 @09:33AM (#3578463)
    MPAA to Senate: Plug the Analog Hole!

    You know, I've made a similar comment to the MPAA before. Come to think of it, some Senators too. :P
  • by donnacha ( 161610 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @09:39AM (#3578495) Homepage

    "...all devices that perform analog to digital conversions."

    They'll have to prise my 1964 reel-to-reel tape recorder from my cold, dead hands.

  • by Quazi ( 3460 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @09:40AM (#3578498) Journal
    I think we need to tag all elected officials with either an "intelligent" or a "moron" tag, and we need watermark detectors at the ballot box.
  • Acronymming (Score:2, Funny)

    by shut_up_man ( 450725 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @09:42AM (#3578510) Homepage
    FFS, after reading so much about VCRs, the MPAA, ADCs, the BPDG, the CBDTPA, p2p, the FCC and CDs, I wish these guys would just STFU.
  • Wrong hole (Score:2, Funny)

    by Chainsaw ( 2302 ) <jens.backman@gmail . c om> on Friday May 24, 2002 @09:42AM (#3578512) Homepage
    What they really ment was that there are some A-holes in the MPAA that is in desperate need of plugging.
  • by digitalsushi ( 137809 ) <> on Friday May 24, 2002 @09:44AM (#3578529) Journal
    I'm really glad that someone out there is watching out for me from myself. I had no idea what a horrible person I am! Thanks MPAA! You keep it real!
  • by esnible ( 36716 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @09:45AM (#3578538)
    In spy movies it's common to run the shower and muffle the sound to evade listening devices.

    Any analog watermark is going to have to be quiet enough so that listeners can't hear the watermark tones when listening to the radio -- but loud enough that any recorder can hear them.

    Wouldn't it be possible to watermark a recording of silence and play it loud enough to disrupt all recordings for miles?
  • by punchdrunk ( 257279 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @09:48AM (#3578556)

    They'll have to prise my 1964 reel-to-reel tape recorder from my cold, dead hands.

    Except that I doubt your 1964 reel-to-reel has A-D conversion.

  • by donnacha ( 161610 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @09:53AM (#3578587) Homepage

    Except that I doubt your 1964 reel-to-reel has A-D conversion.

    Sure, but why take a stand on something I might actually get shot for?

  • OTOH (Score:5, Funny)

    by Darth RadaR ( 221648 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @09:53AM (#3578589) Journal
    Cory Doctorow writes: your cellphone would refuse to transmit your voice if you wandered too close to the copyrighted music coming from your stereo.

    That would put a pleasant end to all those wankers who use their mobile phone in movie theatres. :)
  • by CaffeineAddict2001 ( 518485 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @09:54AM (#3578590)
    Yeah, I work with this guy. He's really annoying.

    I'm thinking about downloading some patriotic music and every time he goes into one of his rants cranking the volume up real loud.
  • by mcfiddish ( 35360 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @10:04AM (#3578657)
    Detection and response to the Broadcast Flag does not mean less functionality for video devices, including PCs that receive DTV. Rather it adds to these devices the ability to determine the difference between protected and unprotected works.

    This pair of handcuffs does not mean less functionality for your hands. Rather it adds to your hands the ability to keep them where we can see them.
  • by eam ( 192101 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @10:06AM (#3578669)
    All this talk of "plugging the analog hole" makes me feel like someone's about to rape me.

    I mean, the government is always trying to rape us, but now they're finally talking about plugging the a-hole.
  • by hickmott ( 122356 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @10:12AM (#3578693) Homepage
    So we're in a world where ADCs have been set up to detect watermarked material and suppress it. Think how much fun you can have with this!

    Envision a small device that emits a fairly low level of white noise with the watermark in it. Perhaps it's just an MP3 player looping a watermarked recording of John Cage's 4'33".

    Bring one of these to a political debate or a religious ...uh... performance. Turn it on. At the very least all the outbound broadcast feeds die; if you're lucky and the hall has a digital sound system all the microphones just stop working.

    Walk into a bank carrying a running DVD player. Say! What happened to all the security cameras?

    The possibilities are endless.

    --Andy Hickmott
  • by jvmatthe ( 116058 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @10:12AM (#3578697) Homepage
    What are they going to do about the ultimate analog hole? You know the one, you all have it.

    It's the "analog hole" that runs out of the speakers, into the air, across the room, and into your ears.

    Or off the screen, into the air, and smacks into your eyes.

    That's one big fooking hole right there, and I know for a fact that unprotected digital music and video are passing through that hole every day. Just the other day I was in a room where Star Wars: Attack of the Clones was flowing right through the hole, unencrypted, right into the eyes of about 150 other people besides me.

    This hole must be plugged. I hope they're drawing up the legislation and mapping out the new devices right now. In fact, I saw such devices being used just the other day on Star Trek...this advanced race has these cool so-called "borg implants".
  • by eyegor ( 148503 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @10:14AM (#3578707)
    Memo from Senator Hollings, et al.:
    To Wit:
    Given that there is a tremendous number of devices that can A/D music and video illegally and that once we have banned unmodified A/D devices, illicit A/D devices will soon be smuggled into our beloved country disguised as routine cocaine shipments, we are forced to take the next logical step:

    Congress shall pass a law wherein all persons in the USD (United States of Disney) shall be retrofited with Digital and Analog Watermark devices on their visual and aural receptors. Said persons shall be prohibited by law to remove these devices once implanted and any person found to be without shall on the first offense be sent to a Intelectual Properties Reeducation camp. A second offense shall result in the permanent disabling of their Intellectual property receptors. Any child born in this country after the date of passage shall be impounded until such time they have been properly indoctrinated and fitted with their devices. All alien persons visiting the USD shall be fitted with temporary devices for the duration of their stay.

    Since many people in this country have not been properly indoctrinated (or those who have resisted initial efforts to implant their devices), informational messages shall be fed to the subjects of this great land to inspire them to lead a better more wholesome life.

    The honorable Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General has requested that to ensure that persons capable of excessivly creative thought or possess unfair physical capabilities or attributes, be required to have installed on their person, devices to render their unfair capabilities neutral.

    Thank you.
    Senator Ernest Hollings
    In Walt We Trust.
  • by LoveShack ( 190582 ) <(james) (at) (> on Friday May 24, 2002 @10:15AM (#3578716)
    Oh. Well, in that case, Sen. Hollings will personally tackle you and wrestle the camcorder away...
  • by Sunkist ( 468741 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @10:22AM (#3578750) Homepage
    After all, these are issues that *kill* people. And human lives are more important than money, aren't they? Aren't they?



  • by aralin ( 107264 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @10:26AM (#3578790)
    Just imagine someone in the parking lot playing loud music. No car will start, since these will detect watermarks all the time :)
  • by Slak ( 40625 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @10:29AM (#3578825)
    As Mark Twain said:

    Suppose you were an idiot. Suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

  • by RobinH ( 124750 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @10:37AM (#3578907) Homepage
    Hollywood says to NASA: All of the ADC's on your future Mars rovers will have to include a cop-chip to make sure that your sensors shut down if they sense any Metallica songs on the Red Planet.

    NASA says to Hollywood: We're going to sue you for every time the "NASA" logo has ever appeared in a Hollywood movie.

    Hollywood: Okay, never mind...
  • by rudedog ( 7339 ) <> on Friday May 24, 2002 @10:47AM (#3578996) Homepage
    Even more extreme is the ADC's in digital hearing adis. I would be really pissed if my digital hearing aid kept turning off every time I tried to listen to copyrighted material.
  • by Thud457 ( 234763 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @10:50AM (#3579011) Homepage Journal
    Other than simple assualt, is it illegal to punch a senator in the face?
    (That's probably terrorism, these days...)

    What if you were a constituent?

    (What if we just dig up Sonny Bono & drag him through the streets?)
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @11:02AM (#3579100) Homepage
    • There's no way the MPAA can succeed in this. All analog-to-digital conversion equipement?

    More likely all equipment that a few select (patriotic) industry representatives point the Finger of Doom at. Hey, wanna bet that'll be mostly imported goods? I'm not being frivilous, the DMCA is being used to target imported goods right now (e.g. Dreamcast dev kit serial cables, Elcomsoft).

    I'm wondering if anyone in the press will pick up on this and spot this situation. You're at a (smallish) presidential rally, where His Highness is speaking on record. Suddenly a (performance) copyrighted recording of "Hail to the Chief" starts playing... and every recorder in the room shuts down. In fact, you could have great fun at any press conference by playing a CD of the Star Spangled Banner and watching them scream in frustration, or just use a white noise generator that broadcasts a watermark at the limit of audibility. Actually, that might sell like hot cakes to all paranoid businesses (i.e. all of them).

    I know all of this is so ridiculous as to make it seem beyond the pale, but we said that about the DMCA as well, remember? And I don't notice our elected representatives acknowledging that they pooched that law and moving to strike it. Do you?

  • by BMagneton ( 128886 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @11:40AM (#3579422)
    You know, a current trend in military electronics is to move towards using COTS (Commercial Off-the-Shelf) parts.

    Imagine: Now foriegn militaries and terrorists will cover themselves in copywrighted images as the new camouflage. Screw the newly designed sophisticated Marine cammies. If that low-light CCD sees a Coca-Cola logo, it'll just shut down.

    Perhaps instead of playing loud american rock music to get holed-up third world dictators to surrender, third-world dictators will be able to play loud american rock music to shut down communications to holed-up american troops. Boy band CD's become military weapons...
  • by ruiner13 ( 527499 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @11:46AM (#3579465) Homepage
    Whatever crack they're smoking, i want in on it. It really seems to make reality look much different.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24, 2002 @12:41PM (#3579845)
    They should just check out their local pr0n sites for many ways to plug anal log holes. er ... whats that ... analog ... oh
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24, 2002 @03:55PM (#3580940)
    Well, if the copyrighted music is Britney Spears or N'Sync, I'd say that's a feature.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24, 2002 @04:47PM (#3581213)

    Uh, man, it's a Geo. No legislation required.

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle