Plugging The Analog Hole Really A Plan To Kill Amateur Content?

from the sneaky-sneaky- dept

Last month some of our elected officials put forth a bill trying to “plug the analog hole” — a phrase that originally came up as a joke to show how silly it was to try to stop the copying of content. However, we missed Tim Lee’s response soon after it came out, highlighting a particularly troublesome exception to the bill for professional devices. Since, of course, plugging the analog hole completely basically means you can’t create any new content at all, the bill calls for an exception for “professional” equipment. That’s obviously problematic — because how do you decide what professional equipment is? As Tim asks, does this make the maker of any new technology liable if too many amateurs happen to buy its product? That would have a pretty major impact on product development and pricing. Today, Ed Felten takes this story and points out the next obvious conclusion. It also would make it much harder for amateurs to create content, because they couldn’t buy equipment that would let them do so. In other words, perhaps the point of this bill isn’t so much to “plug the analog hole” when it comes to copying unauthorized content (not that it would work anyway), but to try to slow down the somewhat rapid growth of amateur content successfully competing with professional broadcast content. We’ve talked, repeatedly, about how the power of internet has often been in how it has enabled anyone to become a content creator. It’s no longer about “professionals” or “amateurs” because that distinction no longer matters. Unfortunately, this bill tries to bring back that distinction in a major way — and then put up huge barriers for the amateurs.


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Comments on “Plugging The Analog Hole Really A Plan To Kill Amateur Content?”

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15 Comments
Hedwig says:

Guess it's only self-protection...

The Big Media Corporations (BMC) must know they are loosing control: artists are experimenting with new ways to get their art to their fans (music, film, …), and in doing so, they are circumventing these corporations EVERY time.

Before, it made sense that the artists and the BMC work together. The artist provides the content and the BMC provides the resources for recording and distribution.

The resources for recording have become more and more accessible without the BMC: equipment with (semi-) professional qualities is now available to amateur artists, enabling these artists to create their art.

Further, the artists are finding new ways of distribution via internet (esp. music) crippeling the role the BMC can play in the partnership even more.

The only way the BMC can slow this process down is by waging war on 2 fronts:
– keep the distribution channels private (ie. “outlaw” new distribution channels)
– control the equipment (ie. make it ‘play-only’ so the customer can ony buy their stuff and play that)

The favourite weapon is “copyright”. And if the war requires a re-definition of that term in order for the BMC to survive, they are willing to pay enough politicians to pass bills that will do just that.

To limit the options of anyone to do what the BMC are now doing is the way the BMC are trying to protect their place in the media landscape.

Stephen Tillman says:

Re: Guess it's only self-protection...

Very succinctly put. It looks like, with all the new innovations coming out, that BMC is in some early death-throws. We can only hope they die soon. And painfully. Money-grubbing bast***s.

Now, on to plugging the “analog hole” from which all this litigation and legal bs is flowing… F***ing lawyers.

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