MPAA enhances movie “magic” by crippling consumer hardware

The MPAA continues to swim upstream through a raging torrent of common sense headed the other way. In an article on news.com.com, Dan Glickman (head of the MPAA) holds forth his reasoning as to why the “broadcast flag” (a flag which prevents shows from being recorded which his organisation wants to make a mandatory part of digital broadcasting) is such a good idea.

He raises a number of good points about preventing piracy, and I agree – the author of a particular piece of digital content has a right to choose how it is distributed.

Where I draw the line, however, is when an industry lobby group drafts its own legislation that will alter the design of every consumer video device in the US of A and submits it to congress for approval. Remember when I spoke recently about the US blurring the line between corporations and government? (*cough* fascists *cough*) Well, this is just another example of democracy circling the toilet bowl in the greatest country on Earth.

The point I wanted to get to is that it’s all well and good for a copyright owner to choose how their content is distributed – if you don’t like digital transmission, don’t use it. But don’t cripple the medium for the rest of us, driving up prices while burdening us with ham-handed copy protection schemes just because 7 studios in the MPAA (and no-one else on EARTH) wants this particular piece of technology mandated on all hardware manufacturers.

And of course, as we all know, someone just has to crack the broadcast flag on one end-user unit, ever, and suddenly the whole system breaks down. A single copy in the clear can be transmitted in minutes, for almost no cost, to the rest of the world.

So, to the MPAA: please, please just concentrate on what you do best – making movies – and develop a mutually respectful relationship with your consumers. All this tut-tutting and making a farce of democracy doesn’t do you any favours.

You can read about this issue in much more detail at the EFF’s site.

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