Sneaky UK Attempt To DRM Television
from the not-this-again dept
Danny O’Brien over at the EFF has the details on how the entertainment industry is attempting to push through an attempt to DRM TV in the UK. It’s not quite a “broadcast flag,” but close enough. In the last few years, since the original fight over the “broadcast flag” ended in “failure” for Hollywood, they keep attempting to sneak it through in other ways. In the US, it’s been via “selectable output control,” or SOC. Over in the UK, it’s a bit different, but no less ridiculous. Basically, there would be some encoded metadata with all digital TV channels, and the algorithm would be kept “secret.” As Danny notes, this has nothing to do with preventing copying, and everything to do with giving the entertainment industry yet another “veto” on innovation (similar to the anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA):
In Britain, as in the United States, this proposal isn’t about piracy. It’s about creating a rightsholder veto over new consumer technologies in DTV.
No British commercial digital TV manufacturer would risk any innovation that might invalidate their “metadata compression parameter” license, and leave them open to litigation. And competition between devices would be limited by the byzantine requirements that DRM requires (it’s notable that the BBC says the rightsholders demands came via the Digital Transmission Licensing Administrator (DTLA), a DRM consortium who would clearly benefit from mandatory adoption of its own system.)
But, of course, in an era of copyright moral panics, we’ll hear over and over again about how this is all about stopping “piracy” — even though it actually does nothing to prevent unauthorized copying.