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New Bill Threatens to Plug "Analog Hole" 374

ThinSkin writes "In an effort to encourage consumers to embrace digital content, The Electronic Frontier Foundation is fighting a bill that would restrict owners of analog devices from recording analog content. For instance, if a fan wishes to tape a Baseball game on his VCR, the VCR would re-encode the content of that game and convert it into a digital form, which would then be filled with right restrictions and so forth. The process would be driven by VRAM (Veil Rights Assertion Mark), a technology that stamps analog content with DRM schemes."
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New Bill Threatens to Plug "Analog Hole"

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  • Dupity Dupe (Score:5, Informative)

    by kernel_dan ( 850552 ) <slashdevslashtty ... com minus author> on Friday November 04, 2005 @02:07AM (#13948203)
    Dupe []. But I do like the information-wants-to-be-encrypted dept.
  • by QQoicu2 ( 797685 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @02:09AM (#13948214)
    "[I]f you're someone who actually wants to infringe copyright by downloading video from the Internet, this will have zero effect on you," said Cory Doctorow, EFF's European representative, writing in his blog,, on the subject.

    So, of course, most /.ers have nothing to worry about. :-)
    • by Dr. Spork ( 142693 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @02:26AM (#13948274)
      Well, not exactly. Many of the people who download stuff illegally do it because there isn't a convenient legal alternative. The absence of that alternative is a big part of the fuel for the piracy culture.

      So this crazy DRM stuff really will have some effect on illegal downloaders: It will increase the number of people who do the same thing, increasing the quality and quantity of the files available, while making it less likely for each given individual that she'll get in trouble. If there is going to be a realistic move to reduce piracy, it will have to involve making it convenient to stay legal and play by the rules. These DRM roadblocks do just the opposite. The more of these stunts I see, the less wrong piracy starts to seem. It's like they try to punish the people that play by the rules. Yeah, what an incentive!

      • by BewireNomali ( 618969 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @02:49AM (#13948341)
        if by convenient, you mean free, then I guess you're right.

        my experience has been that downloading has two major upsides: EVERYTHING is available, and everything is free.

        piracy will increase if nothing changes simply because a generation is growing up accustomed to free product. It won't make sense to pay. It will only get worse as more people become web-centric.

        I can't speak as to the effects of DRM, but understanding the fundamental psychology of the consumer/downloader is important.

        Take your average convenience store... tell the clerk to disappear and monitor the cameras for a half an hour. Only a small number of people will leave the cash for their purchase on the counter. Most will loot and bail.

        The music industry has fucked up by letting too many people get shit for free for too long. It's a culture dynamic. Hollywood is a little better - they got these download deals jumping off on college campuses where you get billed on tuition statements for the shit you download.

        Let me get used to free shit; don't get mad if I don't want to pay later.

        As for this DRM shit, it's desperation, but what are the record companies gonna do?

        • by Walkiry ( 698192 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:08AM (#13948646) Homepage
          > if by convenient, you mean free, then I guess you're right.

          Eh, iTunes shows that a lot of people are willing to pay fair and square just for convenience. You're never going to reel in the people who want free no matter what, but you can easily reel in the people who want convenience, ala GP post.
        • by blincoln ( 592401 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @06:17AM (#13948795) Homepage Journal
          if by convenient, you mean free, then I guess you're right.

          I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who just want free stuff. I end up being a pirate because I want to watch Battlestar Galactica, but I'm not willing to pay for cable and some sort of recording device in order to watch one show. So I download episodes and then buy the DVDs when they come out. Spare me any "you could just wait until it comes out on DVD!" comments, please. I can't be bothered to get upset about the idea of adding a six month delay to the time my $40 goes into the bank account of a multinational corporation.

          If I could buy the episodes as they air for a reasonable price, I would totally do that. I would be open to a number of possibilities:

          - The cost of a season's worth of episodes adds up to the cost of the DVD set plus $10 for being able to watch them early. When it's released, I pay for shipping and get the DVDs.

          - Same as above, but the total is e.g. 50% of the cost of the set, and I pay shipping plus the remainder and the convenience fee.

          - The episodes are super-cheap, e.g. fifty cents each, and I just buy the DVD set at the store.

          Option three is the easiest, but options one and two let Sci-Fi or whoever take a bigger cut from the DVD set price by selling directly to me.

          Of course, this will never happen, because for it to be as convenient as it already is for me, the downloaded episodes would have to be non-DRM'd, encoded using a quality codec, and free of commercials. I'm sure this would be a huge hit, but the marketing department would never let it happen.

          Why do I say a huge hit? Look at something that cannot be reasonably DRM'd, like photographic (as opposed to video) porn. There are tons of porn siterips on p2p networks, but it's still a very profitable industry. They probably realize that the money lost from bootlegs is less than what it would cost to come up with a protection system combined with the cost due to lost customers who weren't willing to put up with the hassle.

          It would probably do well even with DRM. I wouldn't be a customer, but there are plenty of other people out there who are happy to deal with iTunes (which I find crippled beyond what I'm willing to exchange money for).
      • And you know where is problem? There is no alternative and they know it! They (*AA) have most biggest monopoly on Earth, so, they won't loose so much customers in that way they will start to loose money, significanty. But now I think that they are very close to piss of majority of their customers.

        It is fact that greed without any point as main motivation (for example, earning bilions and still wanting every year increase) - sooner or later - is doom for your business. They (RIAA,MPAA) just stop to be reason
  • No Way !! (Score:4, Funny)

    by fodi ( 452415 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @02:10AM (#13948219)
    You CANNOT use an acronym with 'RAM' in it to describe something not relate to memory. That's a sin !!!
  • by MLopat ( 848735 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @02:10AM (#13948220) Homepage
    Gee thanks. From the article "The Analog Content Security Preservation Act of 2005 is scheduled to be debated in a U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property on Thursday."

    So how about a news article discussing the first round of debates?
    Here's a link to the bill [].
  • More info from EFF (Score:4, Informative)

    by tgtanman ( 728257 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @02:11AM (#13948222) age=UserAction&id=181 [] Use the link above to write to your representative in the House and read a draft of the bill
    • by etymxris ( 121288 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @04:14AM (#13948522)
      Here's mine:

      As my Representative [...snip...] on Thursday, November 3rd, 2005.

      My chief worry is that the universal restrictions proposed by the content makers will cripple the use of home electronics and computers. In order to enforce "digital rights", proposals such as the "ANALOG CONTENT SECURITY PRESERVATION ACT OF 2005" will require any hardware or software without certain restrictions to be outlawed. However, such built in restrictions are fundamentally opposed to "open source" operating systems that have been gaining popularity in recent years. In an open operating system, restrictions can easily be removed by anyone, and so the free open software contributed by thousands worldwide will become illegal under the proposals suggested by the content providers.

      I happen to be a user and supporter of such operating systems, and have already long been under the shadow of legislation pushed through by the MPAA and RIAA. For example, I have no legal means of playing DVDs under the operating system I choose to use. Software has been written and published that allows me to play DVDs, but due to the DMCA is illegal in the US. So I must go without. This is bad enough, but the proposed legislation would make all software created by volunteers and released without restrictions to become illegal.

      The RIAA and MPAA make it seem that the only ones who would want unfettered access to the working of their hardware and software are pirates. This is untrue. Those programming free and open software that is unrestricted by its nature would suddenly have their work outlawed, despite having previously broken no laws. I urge you to oppose such unreasonable restrictions on my behalf. Thank you.
  • by Orinthe ( 680210 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @02:15AM (#13948240) Homepage
    Does anyone really believe that the government could make it illegal to record anything in analog? Come on, think about it--when I want to record my home movies, they're going to require that I only have a DRMed, digital copy? Or if I want to make an audio tape, I'll have to use an expensive, DRM-encumbered digital recorder, instead of a cheap cassette player? Or more pertinent, when a linguistics researcher or reporter wants to record a conversation, or a filmmaker wants to make a movie--there can't be any realistic expectation to force them to go not only digital, but DRM-encumbered digital.

    Even if such a bill were to be passed, it would be laughed at as the public went on its merry way using older analog and unencumbered digital devices.
    • by tsotha ( 720379 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @02:25AM (#13948265)
      Does anyone really believe that the government could make it illegal to record anything in analog?

      I didn't used to think so. But upon reflection I've changed my mind. I used to think there's no way the government could put the mp3 genie back in the bottle, but for the most part that's exactly what's happened.

      Look, any government that can make growing and consuming a plant in your house illegal can make analog recording illegal.

    • Even if such a bill were to be passed, it would be laughed at as the public went on its merry way using older analog and unencumbered digital devices.

      Yet many of us are being forced to adopt digital TV and Radio.

    • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @03:05AM (#13948380) Homepage
      1. Prison is big business in America.

      2. Most if not all polititions are lawers who game the system in their favor.

      3. DRM will be another nail in the coffin to inforce the limit of free speech.

      We know what kind of rules and regulations are being (or trying at least) to limit the freedom of speech in the blogisphere. Now the scumbags inside the DC beltway want to limit speech of the podcasters.

      Yes... I'm paranoid. But given the trends lately, can you *really* blame me?

    • People would laugh at it.

      But if it passed, and there wasn't a huge backlash, it would pretty much be Nineteen Fucking Eighty-Four.

      And I was hoping we could stave it off for another fifty years.

      • i'm shooting for 1776

        keep an eye on your sporting goods store flyers i have seen .50 cal rifles in there every once in a while for under $500, anything that can shoot down a hovering chopper will be useful when the shit hits the fan.

        if you aren't strong enough to control the kick on a .50 cal get a good .30-06 don't bother with shotguns.
    • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @03:52AM (#13948477) Journal
      Does anyone really believe that the government could make it illegal to record anything in analog?

      Yes. By definition in-fact.

      Even if such a bill were to be passed, it would be laughed at as the public went on its merry way using older analog and unencumbered digital devices.

      Oh yeah, you'd be laughing for a few years... Then your digital recorder will break down, and you'll stop laughing.

      Better to start now.
    • Does anyone really believe that the government could make it illegal to record anything in analog?

      Of course they can. Governments make all sorts of stupid things illegal.

      Even if such a bill were to be passed, it would be laughed at as the public went on its merry way using older analog and unencumbered digital devices.

      But if they ever need to get someone, they have something else that they're guilty of. There is a school of thought that says it's in a government's interest to have every citizen breaking

    • Come on, think about it--when I want to record my home movies, they're going to require that I only have a DRMed, digital copy?

      They don't care about home movies. Their vision of the future is that there shall be no devices that permit this. Now, if you hack your device to permit this for home recording, nobody is going to go after you.

      But should someone actually publish content that doesn't use the expensive, heavily patented, and ever-changing DRM systems, then they'll go after them. And that's easy to
    • Of course the government would make it illegal, given enough money from corporate sponsors. What the *AA fear is not necessarily piracy, but that people can now cut them out and distribute their own work without needing a big, traditional record company. If they can force all digital media players to only play secured media - and if they can then get to be the keyholders for those digital players, they ensure all artists still must go through a big, traditional record company to get any sort of widespread a
    • With this bill, the government criminalizes the manufacture of devices with user-accessible drivers. Do you want to connect that monitor to any system other than the one the monitor's maker licensed at the time of your original purpose, such as a new computer? You must now seek the permission of the monitor's manufacturer to do so.
    • by Professor_UNIX ( 867045 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @09:22AM (#13949242)
      What's sad is that I see a day in the next 15 years where my daughter will come up to me and say "Daddy, what were movies and television like before you had to watch them through these MPAA DRM goggles?"

      "Well honey, back then you could look at the TV directly and it wasn't just a display of digital static. You could see the images and video right there on the screen as plain as day in an unencrypted format. Then the MPAA realized that people were still able to take a camcorder and record that display and got Congress to pass the Video Content Protection Act of 2008 to require the DRM-enabled goggles."

      Actually, hell, that's not sad, I'm looking forward to it. After the Internet gained popularity I started to watch less and less TV and I haven't been to a movie theater in 18 months. More of our content and entertainment will simply come via the Internet in the future instead of the passive television interface that couch potatoes are used to. We just need to ensure that we never allow the powers that be to take away our right to publish our own content with no restrictions (i.e. personal websites, blogs, home videos and photos... anything not created by a major media company).

  • Seriously (Score:3, Funny)

    by AutopsyReport ( 856852 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @02:16AM (#13948243)
    "Plug", "Analog", "Hole".

    I'm just about ready to submit this to Leno for Headlines... :)

  • What can I say, you gotta love those bills that don't yet have an author. Kindof like the textbooks in California and Texas.
  • by LardBrattish ( 703549 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @02:25AM (#13948268) Homepage
    Sell good value (non DRM) products and more people will buy them.

    Decent books with CDs - sure you can download the tracks of the internet but you get a really nice package if you buy the legit copy.

    They can stick all the DRM they want onto a CD - it doesn't force people who think it's poor value to buy it. I think DRMed "CDs" are poor value & refuse to buy them on principle; so all they are doing is shrinking their potential market antagonizing their customers while the MP3s roam free on P2P.

    Put out something worth buying and I'll buy it. Video recorders that restrict use are poor value - I'll stick with my old one thank you very much...
    • The really stupid part of this is that they've done it before with massive success. When DVDs first came to market they sold DVD players and discs by loading lots of special content on them, and no, just in case there's any entertainment execs reading this, trailers and scene selection do not classify as special content. This encouraged early adoption and led to the monster that is DVD entertainment today, there was a very clear answer to the question "why should I buy the DVD instead of the video?"

      If they
      • The really stupid part of this is that they've done it before with massive success. When DVDs first came to market they sold DVD players and discs by loading lots of special content on them, and no, just in case there's any entertainment execs reading this, trailers and scene selection do not classify as special content. This encouraged early adoption and led to the monster that is DVD entertainment today, there was a very clear answer to the question "why should I buy the DVD instead of the video?"


        • Is there something special about the 30th anniversary edition of Diamond Dogs? I remember back when Bowie had an ISP. As a memeber you got access to his entire lineup of songs in mp3 format. Whatever they're copy protecting there is probably already out on the net in a quality format and has been for years.
  • by sockonafish ( 228678 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @02:26AM (#13948271)
    In the future, speakers that produce piracy-inducing analog sound waves will be outlawed. All music will be transmitted directly to your auditory nerve.

    Oh wait, nerves use analog signals. All nerves must carry DRM!
  • My "favorite" part (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lheal ( 86013 ) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {9991laehl}> on Friday November 04, 2005 @02:27AM (#13948276) Journal
    "Sometimes I think that people feel that the MPAA is a bunch of Luddites," Brad Hunt, chief technical officer of the MPAA, said in an interview Wednesday afternoon. "In this case, we are trying to incent the consumer to embrace the digital conversion, the digital connection...and that's why we need to drive this technology forward."

    Of all the disingenuous malarky. "Incent the consumer". Since when did "incent" become synonymous with "bufu"?

    They want to keep me from making copies of stuff I buy, so if it gets ruined I have to buy another one. Or so I can only play it from the media I bought it on.

    Guess what, pally: most of the stuff I listen to is on sweet old vinyl. I want to preserve the music from my analog media, and the best way to do that is digitally. But don't try to tell me I can't do whatever I want with something I buy, as long as I don't try to give it to someone else.

  • by bigpat ( 158134 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @02:30AM (#13948286)
    A rational and consistent intelectual property law would one be that prevented copyrighted content from using copy prevention technology at all. After all it has the protection of law, then why should people be prevented from making fair use of the content?

    I see copy prevention technology as being no different conceptually from a trade secret. If you decide to hide a technology as a trade secret rather than sharing a technology through a patent then your technology can be reverse engineered legally and you get no protection under law. The trade off is that society gets access to your new technology and you get legal monopoly for a number of years. If you don't share the technology via a descriptive patent, then you don't get a legal monopoly. So, similarly if you decide to prevent copying using technology rather than by using copyright law, then you should get no benefit under the law because you are ultimately depriving society of the content if it is never released in a copyable form.

    • by interiot ( 50685 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @03:22AM (#13948416) Homepage
      Copyright is increasingly being viewed as property. From the ruling []:
      Copyright, however, is not designed to afford consumer protection or convenience but, rather, to protect the copyrightholders' property interests.
      If the legislature and courts take the view that copyright is akin to property, then protecting it via technological means (akin to locking the doors on your house) just makes sense, and doesn't remove the owner's right to the property they're protecting.
      • I guess this points out a fundamental problem with case law: it assumes that judges are competent, not corrupt, and have the interest of the populace at heart. This judge doesn't seem to satisfy at least two of those properties.
      • They also got copyright's purpose wrong. You'd really think they'd teach people about the Constitution in law school.

        Since apparently they don't, though, the writers of the Constitution were very clear on what copyright's purpose is, and they got it dead wrong. Here's the relevant portion:

        "The Congress shall have Power...To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;" -United States Constitution, Section 8 (emphasis mine)

        Note two important things from that passage: Firstly, the purpose of copyrights is to promote the progress of science and art. (NOT the wealth of scientists and artists!) Since copyright and patents by definition restrict sharing and reuse of information, which is necessary for progress in science and art, they also put in another provision: such restrictions must be for a limited time. A period which someone born today will not outlive is not, for any intents or purposes, a "limited time," not in any meaningful sense. The "limited time" provision implies to me that it should be the minimum amount of time necessary to encourage creators to create-which is the time at which they can generally turn a profit. Since most copyrighted/patented material turns a profit within 5-10 years (or never will), and creators would keep creating even if that's all the time they got, why have it longer?

        Copyright is not about the "interests" of creators, except so far as recognizing such interests encourage them to continue creating. Copyright and patent are for the benefit of the public-and when it fails any longer to serve the public, to the benefit of the rights holders, it fails to the extent it does so.

        Also note that copyrights and patents are not treated like property. Congress may not seize your property for public use unless they pay you just compensation for it-that's right in the Constitution. Yet, they are REQUIRED to make it so that copyrights and patents are released to the public after a set period of time. Is there any clearer indication that the law does and should not consider such things "property"?

      • If they're going to treat copyrighted material as property, then it should have the same consequences as property.

        It should be taxed. Not just income tax, but property tax. A maitenance/registration fee should be imposed to maintain the copyright as well.

        Non-commercial copyrights would be immune to such fees and taxes. Thus free software, a poem you wrote, etc. would still be free as long as you didn't try to sell it.

        Commercial copyrights however are treated just like any other asset. It doesn't matter if t
  • What?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 04, 2005 @02:30AM (#13948287)
    Sorry I gotta post AC as I modded before RTFA, but look at this paragraph:

    However, devices sold before the date the proposed legislation would be enacted, such as today's televisions, would be grandfathered in, according to the terms of the legislation. In addition, devices that were designed "solely of displaying programs," and ones that could not be "readily modified" for redistributing content would also be exempt.

    If all the old capture cards, VCR's, DVR's and the like are going to be 'Grandfathered' in, what's the goddamn point? I mean, anyone with enough technical knowledge to do this, is already going to have the equipment, and I sure as hell am not going to throw it away because a new bill passes.
  • by VincenzoRomano ( 881055 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @02:31AM (#13948291) Homepage Journal
    First of all I trust that whatever they think about that, there will always be a "DVD Jon" [] somewhere that will point the poor design of the schema/algorithm. The tighter they'll hold, the more they'll loose.
    We only need to avoid those chips being installed into our brains in order to enforce the brohibition to tell our friends about the football match we looked at. We paid for one private view, not for a public performance!
  • *sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fordiman ( 689627 ) * <> on Friday November 04, 2005 @02:46AM (#13948333) Homepage Journal
    Another attempt to squelch innovation that will just redirect homebrew efforts in the direction of circumvention. Call me when they shut down eMule/aMule/xMule, Kademlia, or BitTorrent (or BitSpirit (BT/Kad-like subsystem), for that matter).

    I'm bored of this stupid timeline... you know:
    P2P services arise
    RIAA/MPAA kills one
    P2P piracy increases due to consumers being pissed off that the RIAA/MPAA has no respect for their rights (or their tastes... this summer had nothing good in the theatres aside from the Guide, you know)
    RIAA/MPAA freaks and claims P2P services are to blame, inviting legislation/technology that fucks fair use while not doing any real good
    P2P piracy increses, for much the same reasons as before, while homebrew programmers work around the new legislation/technology
    RIAA/MPAA freaks
    P2P piracy increses

    A quote from a relevant link of the article:
    "We have a bright young public who sees nothing wrong with's going to destroy the copyright industry, it seems to me ... [peer-to-peer networking] is either going to be legal, or it isn't going to exist."
      - Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)

    You're right, Dianne. But you haven't quite gotten the point.
    Unregulated, P2P users were still buying good CDs. But every time new anti-p2p legislation is enacted, new anti-circumvention technology added, and for each p2p site shut down, it alienates the Industries from their customers. Each time, the animosity that was once limited to the tech-savvy grows ever outward into people who'd never have thought bad of their content providers.

    There are easy ways to fix this; one is to stop with the lawsuits. Worst. Press. Ever. Another is to start producing quality. People won't want to steal that which is actually worth paying for. The real item is to fix copyright law. 95 years past the original author's death is rediculous. How about 15 years past initial release? If I knew I could, for example, download episodes of the original Battlestar Galactia without legal repercussions, I might reconsider downloding Sci Fi's Season 2 DV cap that's floating on Bittorrent.

    This law doesn't matter to anyone with a brain. A TV card with an offending chip can be "repaired" by anyone determined enough. You'd have to integrate your crap into the DAC and MPEG-4 encoders of every device, then hope someone doesn't hack the controls out of the software, or that someone doesn't make an open source version, fully functional (and easily modified), on the premise of interoperability.

    Yeah, release the drivers for linux in closed source code. Someone will build ones for their amiga system and claim interoperability. Release for amiga, and you'll have the BeOS people doing it. Do BeOS, and there's a few flavors of BSD that would be clean. BeOS covered? How about Minix? You're not going to win here without spending a few billion in development, and then you'll still lose to those who don't cower under a legal premise and have names like "Thundulator". The term is "Unenforcable", or, in colloquial terms, "Useless fuck of a law".

    Meanwhile, the cycle's going to go on until either the MPAA/RIAA have run out of money to throw at the problem, due to the combination of lack of consumers willing to pay to be fucked in the ass, or until they basically cow under - and eat what crumbs consumers will give them AFTER the content creators have been paid - like the good little middle-management fucktards they are.

    In conclusion, Dianne is partially right. Their either will be legal AND free P2P, or there won't be an RIAA/MPAA. Actually, I'm kinda pushing for both.
    • Re:*sigh* (Score:3, Insightful)

      by idlake ( 850372 )
      What makes you think the interoperability provisions are going to stand?

      These people are after total control of speech and content: they want to make the cost of entry into publishing and media so high that only corporations can afford it, the way it used to be in the 20th century. It's comfortable for the media companies and it's comfortable for politicians. And the people that managed to bring you the Sonny Bono copyright extension act, software patents, and now storyline patents, will manage to do just
    • In conclusion, Dianne is partially right. Their either will be legal AND free P2P, or there won't be an RIAA/MPAA. Actually, I'm kinda pushing for both.

      How can there not be P2P? P2P is just another fancy word for mass communication. Back in the old days pre-Internet when we were swapping warez CDs, it went from peer to peer. LAN parties were peer to peer swapping grounds. The Internet simply made it possible to do that on a global scale. Even if you were to Turn Back Time(tm) and erase everything invented s
  • by krbvroc1 ( 725200 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @02:49AM (#13948342)
    If the broadcaster doesnt want you to record 'their' shows you cant tivo it.

    (1) Copy Prohibited Content. An Analog Video Input Device shall not record or
    cause the recording of Copy Prohibited Content in digital form except for
    retention for a period not to exceed 90 minutes from initial receipt of each unit
      of such content, including retention and deletion on a frame-by-frame,
    minute-by-minute or megabyte-by-megabyte basis, using a Bound Recording Method,
    and provided that such content shall be destroyed or otherwise rendered unusable
    prior to or upon expiration of such period.

  • by mpaque ( 655244 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @02:54AM (#13948356)
    -- April 1, 2008 --
    A new closed captioning system for home video use was announced. The device is capable of writing arbitrary bit streams into various lines of the vertical blanking interval data, to allow the addition or modification of closed caption data for personal use and home viewing.

    Note that posession of this device within the United States is a felony punishible by exile to the New York or Los Angeles Maximum Security Prisons.
  • by Basehart ( 633304 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @03:26AM (#13948424)
    This brings to mind the latest iTunes compatible communication device [] from Motorola which doesn't have a headphone socket. Instead it is rumored to require a bluetooth device with which to experience the stereo audio feed.

    If it ends up never having a stereo socket, and subsequent devices don't have an audio output either, we could be seeing the beginnings of a closed system which stops "pirates" in their tracks by sending audio directly to a device which lives inside your ears.

    Although there are bluetooth products out there which have audio out, they may soon start becoming scarce if this is indeed how the industry intends to keep music in a closed loop.
  • by A nonymous Coward ( 7548 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @03:31AM (#13948439)
    Copyright and patent and trademark, ie Intellectual Property (sorry, RMS) is so screwed up now that I hope that take it to the extreme and paralyze the bloodsuckers by making them sue each other for infringement. Think of it ... from whom will they profit more, mere consumers who are only good for $5K per shakedown, with all the overhead that entails, or each other, good for several hundred million and the chance to run them into the ground? They are, after all, your competition.

    Yes, pass this sucker. Make copyrights last forever. Make story plots patentable. Go ahead. See how much control you have over popular culture, you morons. Watch popular culture pass right on by, out of your control, beyond your puny stilted imagination. Paint yourselves into corners of your own making, spend all your energy fighting each other and hoarding and enhancing your little corner of the past, while the future bypasses you utterly and forever. While you think of a zillion ways to regurgitate your patented storyline, which is all you can do because your competitors have their own patented storylines which they are busy regurgitating, people will develop their own tools which they will share freely, and other people will swap these and improve these and make their own unpatented stories and their own uncopyrighted and locked down culture.

    You morons will be left holding ancient patented and copyrighted dreck which has been projectile vomited to a fare-thee-well because you have a 300 year patent on it, or a 500 year copyright on it, and heaven knows Disney has to protect Micky from all those hordes who have only one goal in mind: how to appropriate Mickey for their own perverted uses. Yes, that's right, the truth is out now, I have seen the transcripts of the meetings. Sony wants nothing more than to lock up Mickey for themselves, they have wet drems at board meetings when they salivate at the prospect of hijacking Mickey if you don't keep thsoe patents and copyrights in force. They have entire teams of lawyers searching for loopholes to grab Mickey form your slippery paws because you slipped up and saved a few megabucks by not hiring that one brilliant lawyer before Sony did.

    Morons, I say, morons.
  • disgusting... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by YesIAmAScript ( 886271 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @03:45AM (#13948464)
    "Sir, we've made the new digital systems so restrictive that people would rather stick with older systems they actually had some control over..."

    "Okay, we'll have to cripple those too."

    Completely disgusting. And our Congress? They'll roll right over and do it too.
  • by Boiling_point_ ( 443831 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @04:08AM (#13948507) Homepage
    Like many people here, I maintain a fleet of boxes owned by my family and friends... keeping things patched, virus definitions up to date, logs checked and spyware purged. I do this voluntarily because these are people I care about. If I could fix cars, I'd be changing oil for people too (luckily I have a brother in law who can manage that).

    When it comes to DRM / copy protection circumvention, I see my role as unpaid geek in just the same way. It's my job to make sure that proper the DRM-defeating disc ripping tools are available and easy to use, no-CD game cracks are swapped in, and I tell people about the little disclaimers to watch out for when buying CDs.

    I see the concept of 'plugging the analog hole' as nothing more than exploitation of non-technical consumers. A year ago, timeshifting on VHS was a non-issue. If the cartels choose to make it one, I'll damned well react by spreading my techspertise across the widest possible consumer base I can. The more people who fall outside the 'casual copier discouraged by simple protection' category, the weaker their case for persisting with this rubbish.

  • summary sucks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by monkeySauce ( 562927 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @04:11AM (#13948514) Journal
    In an effort to encourage consumers to embrace digital content, The Electronic Frontier Foundation is fighting a bill that would restrict owners of analog devices from recording analog content. For instance, if a fan wishes to tape a Baseball game on his VCR, the VCR would re-encode the content of that game and convert it into a digital form, which would then be filled with right restrictions and so forth. The process would be driven by VRAM (Veil Rights Assertion Mark), a technology that stamps analog content with DRM schemes."

    Despite what the poorly written summary says, the EFF isn't doing the encouranging. This more accurately describes the situation:

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation is fighting a bill that would encourage consumers to embrace digital content by restricting owners of analog devices from recording analog content...

    Furthermore, a later sentence should read:

    ...filled with rights restrictions and...
  • they are scared (Score:5, Insightful)

    by idlake ( 850372 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @04:17AM (#13948528)
    This isn't about retaping stuff or switching to digital. They are scared, not of copyright infringement, but of people being able to create content that's going to replace their on equipment that costs a few hundred bucks. The media, publishing, and entertainment industries are in trouble because all the stuff that is cheap to produce has become so cheap to produce that anybody can do it, leaving only the expensive and high risk ventures. It's the same thing that killed the dinosaurs of the computer industry.
    • Re:they are scared (Score:5, Insightful)

      by log0n ( 18224 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @08:04AM (#13949002)
      Wow.. I think this is the first post from someone who gets it (the big picture). Yeah, there are implications for Tivo, DVR, timeshifting, P2P, etc etc etc in this bill, but it's mainly aimed at independent content creators.

      I run my own production house. It's a small business but it's very successful. My first impression (after RTFA) is that wow - if this passes I'm going to have to take out my first business loan ever when it's time to replace my existing gear. My second impression - I wonder if I'll be granted a license to continue working.

      They are scared. The industry is realizing that it's not how much money you throw at something (though that isn't always a liability) that determines [potential] quality, it's how much talent and desire/passion is put into all aspects of it. The technology to make a feature film is available for $700 at Best Buy (take my word for it - it is). Everyone has access to it. Not everyone can do it though - make the feature film - that's where the talent and desire/passion part comes in. But the technical hurdles have been eliminated. Everything I use professionally in my business comes from Best Buy or a similar store (mass availability) or I build it myself. It's not because I'm cheap (oh I loove spending the paycheck), but because I'm smart in what I buy. I know my gear inside and out: I know the flaws and compensate for, I know the strengths and take advantage of, I instantaneously adjust and react to circumstances, I'm dedicated/talented/passionate. If it wasn't for my abilities, yeah, I'd have to go out and spend the big $$$ to buy more expensive gear to compensate (or more likely, I probably wouldn't have had the desire to run my own show).

      That is what is scary to those who've invested $$$ into the existing system. It's no longer guaranteed that having a $50-100k Varicam or Cinealta setup will produce 'quality' or draw a crowd. Conversely, it's no longer guaranteed that a $3k MiniDV setup will be schlock and unwatchable. Hell, the darling posterchild of indy/Holly cinema everywhere: film (and its outrageous cost) VS. digital doesn't even really matter anymore - think of all the crap movies out there that *should* be good simply because they were shot on film or had huge insane budgets. The most important component in any production is the talent 1) behind the camera and 2) infront of the camera. The hardware simply doesn't matter like it used to. The money, while more helpful and important than the gear, is less important. Where there's a will, there's a way.

      This is just one more attempt by some greedy narrow-viewed 'only in the present' entity to yet again subject America (the land of potential, the land of chance and opportunity and fortune, etc) to the great averaging and Lowest-Common-Denominator compressing. They want to forcibly make the price of entry significantly higher - legalize away the chance of undiscovered greatness. Further seperate the haves from the havenots. More control where they otherwise wouldn't have it.

      It's the poor carpenter who blames his tools. What happens when the carpenter can't have any tools?
  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @04:19AM (#13948533)
    I'd like to put my foot in the "Analog Hole" of anyone that votes for this.
  • "Sometimes I think that people feel that the MPAA is a bunch of Luddites," Brad Hunt, chief technical officer of the MPAA, said in an interview Wednesday afternoon. "In this case, we are trying to incent the consumer to embrace the digital conversion, the digital connection...and that's why we need to drive this technology forward."

    Actually I think hes a retard and that whole paragraph is the biggest pile of PR bullshit i've read today.
  • Why do I get the feeling that one day in the not too distant future there will be a massive police operation to confiscate all non-compliant equipment, analog VCRs etc and that by that time everyone will have been so brainwashed into the DRM 'empowers' you mantra that people will actually think this is good.
  • by idlake ( 850372 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @06:08AM (#13948781)
    As an example, Miller described a scenario where a consumer might hook a playback device into the input ports of a recorder. "Those inputs and outputs serve a purpose, but they might not know that they're creating an illegal act," Miller said.

    They are? In what way? If I record something on Hi-8 and later want it on VHS, I can do that, and I have paid for it. I have paid for it with the fees I paid for blank media.

    The question we should be asking is the legality of asserting copyrights on content that cannot be copied and can never fall into the public domain; technological restrictions on copying and copyright ought to be mutually exclusive.
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @08:08AM (#13949009) Homepage Journal
    the place, a city in the US.

    You sit at a cluttered bench in a darkened back room, a single reading lamp illuminating a riot of ciruits and gleaming mechanical assemblies. Old stuff. Valuable. Practically priceless, since they cut off the Malaysian pipeline. A wisp of smoke caresses your face, carrying the scent of vaporized resin, molten tin, and lead. A bead of sweat rises on your forehead. This work is delicate: this piece is old, and if the traces lift that would be just too bad.

    The sharp clang of a brass bell and the slam of the door break your concentration. "Damn," you mutter, "who the hell can that be."

    You slip through the curtain, careful not to reveal any of the very incriminating goods back there, and let out a low whistle. It's a dame, and what a dame.

    "Can you help me?" she asks.

    "If you're looking for baseball cards," you reply, indicating the dusty glass cases. "Can I interest you in a Roger Clemens, he's real meat."


    "Yeah, you, know, pre-virtual." You watch her closely. She's hard to read, but one thing is certain, no broad ever strolled through this neighborhood at a eleven at night shopping for a goddam baseball card.

    "A friend sent me," she says, a bit nervously.

    "Oh, yeah, what's his name." Your eyes narrow suspiciously.

    "Maybe you'll recognize him," she say, reaching into her purse.

    You suck your breath involuntarily through your teeth. "Ipod," you whisper, "old by the looks of it."

    "Original firmware" she purrs.

    Original firmware. Easier to penetrate than a bus station ho. But this whole situation stinks bad. You're practically the only one left; better guys than you didn't last because they coudn't smell a setup. This lady may not know about the syndicate takover of baseball in '10, but she's very au courant about stuff she has no business being.

    "Lady, you must have me confused with somebody else. Monkeying with one of those things is very illegal. I don't know where you found it, but I suggest you turn it into the Department of Free Expression right away."

    "Oh, I don't think I have the right man," she purrs, a glint of steely amusement in her eyes, which flick down toyour right hand.

    Suddenly you become aware of the smell of hot lead. Idiot! You never put down the damned soldering iron. If she had be DFE you'd be iced by now. You'd be lucky to be iced, instead of declared "illegal information operative" and put on a plane to one of their offshore IIO interrogation facilities.

    "OK, lady, we can talk, but it's gonna cost ya." After all, that stunt you just pulled on the soldering iron took ten years off your life. Retirement is looking really attractive.
  • by MECC ( 8478 ) * on Friday November 04, 2005 @08:26AM (#13949050)
    This is pretty much an irrefutable fact of life, and the RIAA and MPAA after 30+ years of trying to stop unrestricted private recording and utterly failing should just let the market take its course. Neither the music or the movies industries has floundered.

    My parents bought one of the very first model VCRs ever made, and at over 20+ years old, it *still* records and plays. Unrestricted analog will NEVER go away. Even if, one day many decades from now, the last unrestricted analog device finally breaks and can't be repaired, people will smuggle them in from other countries.

    They may as well try to license and restrict water, air, sunlight, addition, subtraction, and english grammer along with D/A conversion.

    There will always be a market for freedom. Always.

  • Keep your old VCR in good shape. Also you can use hackable
    PVR cards. I've got a PVR-250 and use Linux with it. I primarily bought it to encode my old family videos that are on VHS and Hi-8 video tape. I'm using Linux to create the mpeg2 streams and the DVDs.

  • by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @08:40AM (#13949091) Homepage
    To plug the analog hole, they're going to have to cover TV screens with lead plates, and speaker cones will have to be filled with cement. Why is our legislature so clueless?
  • Imagine some one films some terrorist training activity using one of these super desirable DRM crippled video cameras with the do-not-broadcast switch on. The camera breaks... The content could becomes useless... Lots of people die....
    But it was worth it... the MIAA made an extra million dollars profit that year and the executives could afford to refit out their private jets.
    The MIAA/RIAA want to label the general public as pirates and 'supporters of terrorism'... but perhaps the technology their try

  •     Someday I will be sitting at home trying to make a home movie DVD of my child and as I hit the burn button on my computer, it will say-

        *Please wait while an authorized MPAA representative watches a sample of your work for confirmation of any copyright infringement, we regret any inconvenience this may cause you*

        You think I'm joking. I'm not. They're not.
  • "Luddites" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KwKSilver ( 857599 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @09:27AM (#13949269)
    "Sometimes I think that people feel that the MPAA is a bunch of Luddites," Brad Hunt, chief technical officer of the MPAA, said
    Luddites? Not at all. Fascists? Most definitely. cf. here [].
  • by TomRC ( 231027 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @11:23AM (#13950078)
    Recording off the air was settled a long time ago, when VCRs started coming out. So now they want to change the rules?

    OK. So let's change the rules.

    Add an ammendment to the bill, requiring that the "broadcast flag" may only be applied to content that is aired without commercials - i.e. where the content provider foots the entire bill for broadcasting it, in the hope of charging people later for copies. Otherwise, free TV is free TV - if you don't want your content recorded, don't broadcast it through my airspace.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.