Why Hollywood's Broadcast Flag Won't Work

from the because-it-makes-life-worse-for-consumers? dept

While there’s been a lot of hype around the article earlier this week suggesting that Hollywood has made the right moves while the music industry has faltered concerning digital content, that still seems to be an exaggeration. Take the latest move by the movie industry to force a “broadcast flag” on digital TV signals. People are starting to point out why this is a terrible idea that will not succeed. It makes life worse for consumers while doing nothing to stop real infringement. The article quotes someone from Philips (clearly biased, but still makes good points) saying: the broadcast flag will “hurt consumers, impede innovation and be impossible to implement”. He goes on to explain that it would require consumers to replace almost all of their consumer electronics (something you might think Philips would support), make the content they received less valuable, and would block new competitors from entering the consumer electronics market (again, something you would think Philips would support). The movie industry (and the music industry) still are of the belief that people should pay every single time a piece of content is seen or heard. Sooner or later, they’re going to have to realize that not only is that impossible, but trying to enforce it is actually shrinking their own market.

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Comments on “Why Hollywood's Broadcast Flag Won't Work”

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Beck says:

The Meter is Running

The movie industry (and the music industry) still are of the belief that people should pay every single time a piece of content is seen or heard.

The fact is that I only have so many dollars to spend on entertainment, so they are not going to increase the revenue they get from me. They will just push me to other lower-cost forms of entertainment.

w.h. (user link) says:

No Subject Given

Philips has often times taken up consumer-friendly viewpoints, even if it’s not entirely profitable, mostly because they don’t have a record label or movie company attached to them, so their only revenue is from the hardware.

Their positionmakes more sense than you think. What would happen if every already-sold HDTV set had to be replaced to process DRM but not offer any new features? Well, there’s two ways this can end up. One would be that whoever built it replaces it at a loss simply to keep you from being really pissed off, potentially blaming whoever made it. The other is that the customer gets shafted.

You know that it would be quite a competition. Most of the other consumer electronics companies, who *do* have a vested interest in promoting the broadcast flag, are going to offer incentives to their customers to soften the blow. Which means that Philips gets dragged along without seeing any financial benefit.

Being fast and loose with copyright, as long as it’s not directly intended for piracy, is profitable business. Witness the dual-deck VCR and the CD copier. Or the VCR in general. I think the main reason why DRM is getting anywhere lately is mainly because Sony has their fingers in media-producing pots, and many of the other electronics companies have similar investments.

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