Piracy, or Innovation?
DMCA - DRM - CSS - SSSCA/CBDTPA ALL Trample Fair Use Laws.... And Seriously Violate the First Amendment
If the DMCA was a bad dream come true, the SSSCA/CBDTPA is a NIGHTMARE piece of legislation. The way it reads, if you record a cassette tape of your favorite protected CD, to carry with you in your car, you are a criminal, because it doesn't contain the "protection" .Of course, the RIAA and MPAA will say this is considered to be ok, but like the DMCA the language is ambiguous at best, where it guarantees "fair use" but makes it illegal to use technology to obtain those fair use rights. (Just ask Dmitry Sklyarov)
This is just scratching the surface of the bill; it also includes a method for applying for anti-trust exemption for those engaged in developing the security standards to lock up the content and our culture in the process. Even fair use content.
Leaders of two of the nation's most prominent industries, entertainment and technology, have begun publicly sniping at each other over how to stop consumers from illegally copying digital movies, music and television programs.
The feud grows out of Hollywood's frustration with the illicit flow of copyrighted works over the Internet. Despite courtroom victories against Napster and others deemed to contribute to Internet piracy, millions of people continue to download free digital copies of everything from Jennifer Lopez's latest hit single to the Disney movie "Monsters, Inc."
Hollywood studios and record companies are now putting pressure on the makers of personal computers, DVD players and portable music players to come up with technology to prevent the machines themselves from playing copyrighted material if someone illegally downloads it or copies it to a blank compact disc.
The technology industry is resisting, saying the proposal would slow innovation, hobble its products — PC's might work more slowly, for instance — and potentially stop consumers from making legal copies of CD's and other products they own. Besides, technology executives say, what Hollywood is asking for is not technologically feasible: no one has yet invented practical copy protection that could not be cracked.
Michael D. Eisner, the Walt Disney Company chairman, told the Senate Commerce Committee on Feb. 28 that he was tired of being "finessed." Citing leading technology companies including Apple Computer, Dell Computer, Microsoft and Intel, he suggested that they had failed to develop adequate protection for digital media because piracy helps sell computers.
That brought an angry retort from Andrew S. Grove, the chairman of Intel. "Is it the responsibility of the world at large to protect an industry whose business model is facing a strategic challenge?" he said in an interview. "Or, is it up to the entertainment industry to adapt to a new technical reality and a new set of consumers who wish to take advantage of it?"
The question of whose role it is to stop illegal copying has captured the attention of Congress. Lobbying by Disney and other entertainment companies is fueling support for legislation that would require computer and consumer electronics makers to develop a standard for copyright-protection technology, or adopt one imposed by the government.
"I believe if you say to these people, `You get us a system by Dec. 31 or we'll do it for you,' you'll be surprised at how innovative they'll become," Mr. Eisner told the lawmakers at last month's hearing.
Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, Democrat of South Carolina and chairman of the Commerce Committee, says that without technological safeguards Hollywood may never offer the kind of high-quality programming for digital television and broadband Internet services that would generate consumer interest and, in turn, economic growth. (this is industry propaganda mouthed by a well paid Parrot, pure BS ..ED)
Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee plans to explore the disadvantages to consumers of locking up digital media more securely. Richard D. Parsons, the chief executive of AOL Time Warner (news/quote), and Craig R. Barrett, the chief executive of Intel, are scheduled to testify in what will be the third Congressional hearing on copyright piracy in a month.
Peter Chernin, president of the News Corporation, which owns 20th Century Fox, said in an interview that "without copyright protection we will change our business models and the loser will be the public," adding: "We may be stupid but we're not idiotic. We're not going to offer ways for people to go and loot our content." (Baseless Threats - Designed to stampede the Washington DC Lawmakers ..ED)
The clash between Hollywood and Silicon Valley underscores a new tension between what have long been high national priorities: protecting intellectual property and promoting technological innovation. With the two in conflict, lawmakers are grappling to strike a balance.
But many veterans of Silicon Valley say it is not the responsibility of technology to enforce copyright law. Telling technology companies to build devices that prevent copyright infringement, they contend, is like telling automakers to build cars that cannot exceed the speed limit.
Other technology executives draw a parallel between Hollywood's complaints about Internet piracy and its attempts in the late 1970's and early 80's to outlaw the VCR — before videocassette sales and rentals dwarfed box-office receipts. Critics say entertainment companies would be able to make money from digital media if they started offering it to consumers in the way the consumers want it, and stop focusing on how to control current forms of distribution.
That could mean changing long- entrenched ways of doing business, like selling individual songs instead of an entire CD, or releasing movies simultaneously over the Internet and in theaters. It might also mean accepting lower profit margins, and seeking to compensate for that by building bigger markets.
"Unfortunately in many cases, fear is paralyzing Hollywood's ability to seize what I believe is an incredible opportunity," said Steven P. Jobs, chief executive of Apple Computer. "We at Apple believe most people want to be honest, and if offered reasonable choices, most people will choose to buy their content."
But Mr. Eisner said in an interview that it was "easy to encourage us to overlook the pirates when you're making the sword." He said he doubted that any new business model could compete with digital copies that were free, flawless and accessible from the comfort of his prospective customers' living rooms.
"If someone figured out how to unlock the gas in the gas station, people would be outraged," Mr. Eisner added. "They wouldn't say to the oil industry, `You need a different business model.' "
Indeed, he points to an Apple marketing slogan, "Rip, Mix, Burn," as inciting the kind of illegal behavior that Mr. Jobs says would be easy to extinguish with smart new strategies. But Mr. Jobs said it was perfectly legal for consumers to "rip," or copy, their own music to a computer and "burn," or record, a custom mix of the songs to blank CD's for their own use.
Several technology producers already offer copy-protection systems that media companies can use when they sell their content in a digital form. What the companies are looking for, in essence, is a second line of defense for material posted on the Internet by someone who breaks the original security system, or records a movie in a theater with a camcorder, or steals a copy from the studio.
One proposal calls for a digital "watermark" — a kind of label undetectable to the human eye or ear — to be embedded in every piece of digital media, carrying instructions about whether it can be played or copied. Every computer and electronic media player would be designed to obey those instructions, and to refuse to play anything that did not contain a watermark. That would mean that even camcorders would have to be redesigned to imprint watermarks on home videos.
The bill that Sen. Fritz Hollings proposes prohibits creating, selling or distributing "any interactive digital device that does not include and utilize certified security technologies." If industry groups cannot agree on a security standard after 18 months, the Commerce Department would step in. (How much MONEY was/is being contributed to Hollings' Election Campaign by Hollywood's Entertainment Industry? ...ED (According to non-partisan, non-profit research group Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), Hollings, in his last campaign cycle, collected more than $287,000 from the television, movie and music industries, second only to contributions of $1.2 million from attorneys and law firms.)
With the help of Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.), the powerful chairman of the Senate Commerce committee, they hope to embed copy-protection controls in nearly all consumer electronic devices and PCs. All types of digital content, including music, video and e-books, are covered. This means radios, televisions, cell phones, basically anything with a microchip inside. Hard drives, CD-ROMs, floppies, you name it. We're not just talking CD Recorders, but anything that receives or uses an electronic signal. TIVO, Satellite TV, Cable, PDAs, and E-book readers. Hollings' Bill would allow the government to take direct control of all entertainment electronic devices. This is PURE, ARROGANT CENSORSHIP no matter what these fools call it. Hollings must be told to RESPECT The U. S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Hollings is trying to subvert and kill the First Amendment. Regardless, he must be VOTED OUT of Office! He obviously has no intention of representing the people. He is obviously only interested in special interest big money.
The Security Systems Standards and Certification Act (SSSCA/CBDTPA), introduced by Sen. Fritz Hollings, backs up this requirement with teeth: It would be a civil offense to create or sell any kind of computer equipment that "does not include and utilize certified security technologies" approved by the federal government. According to the draft, the law would require all digital devices -- computers, software, digital audio and video recorders, digital assistants and electronic book readers -- to prevent unauthorized copying and playback by using security technologies selected by the Secretary of Commerce. The law would require devices to include all certified technologies, not just one, and would require Internet service providers and web sites to store and transmit data with them, too.
Most media companies have been less vocal than Disney in their responses to the problem. AOL Time Warner is more concerned about obtaining technology that would protect digital television programs from being copied than about Internet downloads. A spokesman for Sony, which has both entertainment and consumer electronics divisions, said the company was "studying the subject." But most other major media companies, including Vivendi Universal and Viacom agree that government intervention might be necessary if private negotiations failed.
Ultimately, technology executives say, the problem is a pragmatic one: it may simply be impossible to devise a copy-protection system that cannot be cracked.
"This would impose a huge cost on both consumers and the combined technology and content industries," said Will Poole, corporate vice president for Microsoft's Windows New Media division, "in an attempt to do something that would not ultimately solve their problems."
But Mr. Chernin of the News Corporation suggested that matters might be different if the tables were turned. "Let's say I decide to broadcast on my network the code for how to make Intel chips or Microsoft software," he said. "I think they'd find a way to stop it." (Another Media Mogul blathering about comparing Apples and Oranges ...ED)