Analog Hole Bill Would Require Secret Expensive Tech That No One Can Examine

from the uhhhhhh dept

One of Ed Felten’s claims to fame was that he showed successfully showed the weaknesses of an earlier copy protection system the recording industry wanted to use. Even though the cracking of SDMI was part of a challenge issued by the industry, in preparing to actually publish the info on the weaknesses of SDMI the industry threatened to sue Felten. So, it should be no surprise to find out that Felten is quite interested in the new bill to “plug the analog hole.,” that also requires a watermarking system. He’s already pointed out that it appears the purpose of the bill has little to do with preventing copying and much more to do with killing off competition from amateur content providers, but now he’s trying to look more thoroughly at what the bill proposes. There’s just one major problem: it’s all a big secret. Apparently, the digital watermarking spec that would be required under the bill is a secret — and the only way to look at it is to pay $10,000 and sign non-disclosure forms. In other words, there’s absolutely no way to know what the bill is actually requiring without paying ten grand to a private company — and if you’ve done so, you can’t discuss it publicly. That seems quite problematic. Not only does it make it even less likely that smaller innovators and amateur content producers can comply, it means that our politicians may be passing a law concerning everyone’s rights, where one of the core components is considered a trade secret. It’s no surprise that the industry wants the info out of Felten’s hands, given his work in the past, but if the company (and the lawmakers) actually think that keeping this info secret somehow makes the protection scheme stronger, they’re sadly mistaken.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Analog Hole Bill Would Require Secret Expensive Tech That No One Can Examine”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous of Course says:

Bloated Lackeys of the Imperialistic Media Mongers

This is the most assinine thing the
recording industry has come up with yet.
Plugging the analog hole is impossible as
long as there is no direct digital
connection to the brain.

Ed is right on, it will hurt the consumer
and the low/no budget content providers.

There are plenty of current and older A/D
components out there that don’t give a hoot
about any water marks that a determined
pirate will be able to use. If the price
is right, there is no shortage of engineers
(despite what the IEEE might say) that could
easily build a discreete A/D which would work
just fine… even if it is a kludge. You can
build one of anything. It’s the consumer
equipment manufactured in high volume that
this evil scheme would impact most of all.

I’m getting kind of sick of these media
schmucks and their bloated lackey politicians.

haggie says:

No Subject Given

Good to see that Colonel Cathcart and Milo Minderbender have been rewarded for their meritorious service during WWII with Congressional seat and a job at the RIAA respectively.

Yossarian: So, there is a copyright law, but nobody knows what the law says?
Cathcart: Correct, it’s called Senate Bill #22. I wrote it.
Yoassarian: If you wrote it, you must know what it says?
Cathcart: I never read what I wrote, so I don’t know what it says either
Yossarian: How will I know when I violate copyright laws?
Minderbender: When you get sued by the RIAA.
Yossarian: What if I want to avoid a lawsuit?
Cathcart: Just follow the law and you won’t be sued.
Yossarian: The law that nobody knows what it is.
Cathcart: Yes, follow it to the letter!

Adam says:

Re: No Subject Given

That was funny, but a slight logical error. If nobody knows what the law says, then the RIAA would never sue you simply because they don’t even know what the law is either.

In effect the law would not exist in a form that could be regulated because of a lack of knowledge beyond its contextual existance.

haggie says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

How is knowledge of a law’s content or meaning a prerequisite for filing a lawsuit? I think that the RIAA is living proof.

I could find any civil law in existence in your jurisdiction at random and file a lawsuit against you today. I could sue you for molesting my poodle and I don’t even own a poodle. Can you afford the attorney to defend yourself?

googly_eyes says:


If it’s a federal law, wouldn’t the Freedom of Information Act cover the details?
I think the recording industry is going to be sorely mistaken if they think that they can keep part of a law under wraps, or held hostage for $10K.
I have a sneaking suspicion that the Supreme Court might have something negative to say about that.
After all, this is a government of the People, for the people, and by the people, and nowhere in the founding documents does it say “corporation.”

Alexander Burke (profile) says:

Re: FoIA

A corporation is a separate, distinct, and unique person in the eyes of the laws of the United States and Canada at a minimum (and very likely most Western countries).

This is how a corporation can sue (or be sued), among other things.
This makes for some very interesting watching. I highly recommend it:

Fazookus says:

Re: FoIA

After all, this is a government of the People, for the people, and by the people, and nowhere in the founding documents does it say “corporation.”

Today someone reminded me that the original draft of Eisenhower’s “Military-Industrial Complex” speech actually read “Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex”… I think it’s the anniversary of that speech, maybe we ought to think on that.

Skylancer says:

Cost of living...

Not only is the cost of living high for most low/mid income people… But this is really going to seperate the low/mid from the high class. Its going to rasie the prices on consumer products. Any only the rich can afford new technology for the lastest and greatest protection. Pah… and nothing is impossible to crack.

Its will only bring about ‘More’ pirated software, movies, and games to those less fortunet.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...