Public Knowledge Points Out MPAA's Lies On Why It Wants To Break Your TV

from the nice-work dept

For quite some time now, the MPAA has been asking the FCC for permission to break your TV, so you won’t be able to record certain movies shown on TV. Specifically, it wants to be allowed to use something called “Selectable Output Control” to tell DVRs that they can’t record a show. It’s basically the whole “broadcast flag” concept all over again. The MPAA’s argument for why it needs this makes no sense at all. It basically makes two arguments, neither of which are true. The first is that they need this in order to be able to put movies on TV earlier. This is not true. There’s nothing stopping the studios from putting movies on TV earlier, other than a misguided fear that people will “pirate them.” And that’s the second problem: even the industry admits that the movies they’d release on TV are already pirated and available on file sharing networks, so it’s not like having this would stop that. The movies will still get out there. SOC won’t stop piracy at all — but it will piss off a ton of people who bought a DVR expecting to be able to record what they want to watch.

Consumer rights group Public Knowledge, thankfully, has now sent a letterexplaining all of this to the FCC:

“The MPAA has submitted no proof that grant of the waiver will serve the public interest at all. To the contrary, what proof exists in the record shows that the ‘problem’ of a longer window for release of movies to MVPDs than for release on DVDs is a business decision made by MPAA’s members. Rather than shed crocodile tears for the poor shut-ins and busy parents who must either subscribe to NETFLIX to get the earlier window or wait a whole thirty days, MPAA’s members could simply negotiate a shorter release window.”

Hopefully the FCC listens.

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Companies: mpaa, public knowledge

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Comments on “Public Knowledge Points Out MPAA's Lies On Why It Wants To Break Your TV”

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Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Dark Helmet mistake or inflammatory language?

And I ask that question seriously, because I very narrowly technical….

“For quite some time now, the MPAA has been asking the FCC for permission to break your TV, so you won’t be able to record certain movies shown on TV.”

Break my TV? If there affecting anything, it sounds like my DVR, no? And even then, wouldn’t this only work if the DVR providers incorporate firmware to that will recognize this selectable output control? Otherwise, why wouldn’t the DVR just ignore whatever signal they’re sending?

Or do I just need a crash course on how this SOC technology actually works?

pixelpusher220 (profile) says:

Re: Dark Helmet mistake or inflammatory language?

it perhaps isn’t your ‘TV’ directly, but your tuner. This may be in your TV, your set top box, your DVR or even your computer.

The set top, DVR, computer all have various output formats. Coax, Component, VGA, HDMI.

What the MPAA is asking for is the right to determine which outputs you are allowed to see. For ‘in demand’ movies, they would let you only record over the lower quality outputs, if at all.

Other requests the MPAA has made in the past are trying to close the ‘analog hole’. To bar recording at all on these outputs and only let recording happen on ‘approved’ digital connections. Meaning the ‘recorder’ would follow the show’s setting to whether it would be recorded or not.

Imagine if Ford wanted to determine what speed you could drive on certain roads? no warning, just makes your Mustang start working like a Pinto.

A Dan (profile) says:

Re: Dark Helmet mistake or inflammatory language?

I think he’s referring to this:

It says:
“The side effect,” warns the consumer group Public Knowledge in an educational video it has put out on this question, “is that SOC would break all eleven million HDTVs in the US that don’t have digital input. In essence, all the MPAA wants is to control when and how you watch the stuff you’ve already paid for.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Rather than shed crocodile tears for the poor shut-ins and busy parents who must either subscribe to NETFLIX to get the earlier window or wait a whole thirty days, MPAA’s members could simply negotiate a shorter release window.”

Think about the children! THE POOR CHILDREN!

Will 30 days kill the public? Will the world end because a shut in waits 30 days longer to see a movie?

What a lame concept, I hope that the FCC totally ignores this mindless commentary.

Anonymous Coward says:

Well the thing is if they do allow this technology to exist then at first not many shows would get blocked in order to prevent the public backlash (think of how cable didn’t have as many commercials as it does now). but slowly slowly they would keep adding shows to block and people would get used to it more and more until they’ve effectively blocked most television except commercials of course (which does take up the majority of the time, commercials and, when it comes to “news”, lies). Kinda like if you put a frog in boiling water it jumps out but if you put it in warm water and slowly heat it it boils to death (you know the sain).

Anonymous Coward says:

“The MPAA’s argument for why it needs this makes no sense at all. It basically makes two arguments, neither of which are true. The first is that they need this in order to be able to put movies on TV earlier. … “

This is just another attempt by intellectual property maximists to come up with any excuse, no matter how false or lame, to serve their own interests at public expense. This has been demonstrated here on techdirt many many times. Intellectual property maximists can’t stop contradicting themselves and they keep on making up logically and factually false arguments with zero evidence to promote their position.

How about this as a response. THE PUBLIC DOESN’T CARE IF THEY DON’T PUT MOVIES ON T.V. EARLIER. If it means not breaking our technology then fine, put them on T.V. later, like your currently allegedly do.

But the real reason for this is to force people to watch commercials instead of forwarding them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It’s almost like they want to give the public an ultimatum. “You don’t do exactly as we say and break your technology for our benefit and we will punish you by putting movies on T.V. later.” Despite the fact that it’s a lie and that breaking our technology will have little to no effect on when they put movies up the fact is that the public shouldn’t give into this sort of extortion.

Uncle Slam says:

Analog protection is already here.

It is just one of the many reasons I’m boycotting the whole damn industry. See, I own a Toshiba RD-XS52. It is connected to a Motorola DCT-2500 via the S-Video connector. My cable provider has had CGMS-A protection turned on 24/7 for the movie channels since at least 2006, when I originally purchased my DVR. I’ve never been allowed to record anything for later viewing because of it and this has angered me for a very long time. Thankfully I will soon be getting rid them. I’m about to purchase a house and this will open up several new options I didn’t have before. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that I will never buy another product again that limits me in such a negative fashion.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I still have my ancient Microsoft Ultimate TV DVRs on my DirecTV. No flag support in those they’ll never be broken. Screw you MPAA!

You’re being naive. All DirecTV has to do is “deauthorize” your current receiver and require you to buy one with encrypted digital outputs. Your current DVR’s will become useless.

thomas (profile) says:

People have zero chance..

to compete against tons of **AA money, hookers, and drugs funneled to their minions in the government. The government is owned by the big business, so they will get what they want. If anything it will increase piracy since if people can’t recordon their DVR to watch later they will simply get pirated versions elsewhere. At least if you record a program or movie on DVR you are paying for the subscription to your cable provider. If people decide piracy is better they will do that.

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Copyright Creationists

There seem to be some interesting parallels between copyright maximalists and those who refuse to accept biological evolution:

• They don’t believe that business models, and even the concept of copyright itself, can change over time, and furthermore, given enough time, they can undergo essentially arbitrary change.

• They don’t believe that human history goes back a lot further than the beginnings of copyright law.

• They like to claim a “moral” basis for their beliefs, but when probed further, the documents that they refer to are of dubious validity.

Any others anyone can think of?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Copyright Creationists

Actually I’m Christian, I reject Universal common descent as being any more scientific than Intelligent design, but I’m one of the strongest anti intellectual property people around here (Mike can attest to this). While I do believe some intellectual property could be good if used correctly I’m always arguing that intellectual property in the U.S. lasts WAY too long and is way too restrictive.


Re: Re: Re:2 ...polishing the brass on the Titanic...

> Or why don’t you ask natural selection to eliminate
> intellectual property maximists who cause so many problems
> to our specie.

Natural selection is already starting to do that despite
the fact that they are in a good position to try and short
circuit natural selection entirely. The meteor has already
slammed into their world and they are too busy trying to
live in the past to bother adapting.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 ...polishing the brass on the Titanic...

besides, if natural selection really is eliminating the damage intellectual property maximists are causing, please do explain why intellectual property laws have only gotten longer, more restrictive, and have even been applied retroactively in the last century or whatever.

Bettawrekonize says:

Re: Re: Re: Copyright Creationists

Bettawrekonize. I also used to post a lot on

I’m Christian but this notion that Christianity (or religion in general, I highly doubt Muslim nations are pro intellectual property for instance) somehow supports the current broken intellectual property system that’s designed to exploit the public is nonsense.

If anything I would argue, from a Christian perspective, that everything belongs to God, all intellectual property is God’s intellectual property (we didn’t think of it first and the brain that God gave us to think of things comes from God), and as such it doesn’t belong to anyone (besides God) and everyone should be allowed to freely use what God has given us.

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Copyright Creationists

Bettawrekonize wrote:

If anything I would argue, from a Christian perspective, that everything belongs to God, all intellectual property is God’s intellectual property…

On what basis? Does it say this in your Christian Bible somewhere?

(we didn’t think of it first and the brain that God gave us to think of things comes from God)

Yes we did think of it first. There is nothing in the Christian Bible about “intellectual property”—this is an idea invented by humans, not by any god.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I think one feature that makes America more susceptible to corruption against the people than many other nations (though corruption exists everywhere) is that America has a culture of individualism where as most other nations, by and large, have a culture of collectivism.

For example, in America most people don’t know their neighbors. In other countries EVERYBODY pretty much knows EVERYBODY ELSE within a community. This makes it easier for people to gather together, discuss political issues and what needs to be changed, and act uniformly for the public interest against governments and corporations and anyone trying to impose ridiculous laws on the public.

Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that corporations in America have pushed for an individualistic culture knowing very well that such a culture harvests a system of corruption to their advantage. But I find this hard to believe, why can they easily do it in America and not other nations?

Another possible cause could be that America was mostly a sparsely populated area before the Europeans migrated here and when many people from different areas suddenly migrated to America, many of whom probably have conflicts with the people of other countries and many of whom probably don’t know each other, they pretty much didn’t bother to form communities. Also, there were initially so many natural resources in America that people were too busy grabbing and exploiting them and figuring out get rich schemes to form communities. While everything seemed to work out at first, perhaps partly because whenever someone wanted more resources they could just move to unoccupied areas, eventually our lack of a community oriented culture caught up with us and now we are paying the price. Also, when the Europeans first came to America they acted more uniformly since they were all of a more similar culture and whatnot. Perhaps as more diverse people later on migrated to America the relative community within neighborhoods and such shrank. America is still a young nation and maybe it just hasn’t had enough time to form a more sophisticated community oriented culture like other nations. However, I also find this one hard to believe as well, other countries are more interconnected with each other and people don’t have oceans to overcome for people in one nation to meet in another (ie: in Europe). You can go to Europe and different people speak many many different languages within one location even and they seem to still have a more community oriented culture. There are many other problems with my above synopsis as well.

Another possibility could be that in America people are very work oriented relative to other nations (which begs the question, why have we developed such a work oriented culture relative to other nations?) For instance, we tend to work more hours and often times a husband and a wife both work. In other nations people tend to start their careers and have a family at an older age than in America. Perhaps the time that we spend working takes away from our ability to form relationships with one another and to form a community.

Any other thoughts?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

In fact, I remember in California when the government was about to pass laws to completely rid California of illegal immigrants and to allocate a lot more resources to enforce their banishment, all the legal Mexicans came together to prevent it. I remember they blocked freeways and they blocked intersections, etc.. and they were all marching together as a collective group of people (and I have a lot of respect for the Mexican culture). Finally the government backed down.

Then again one could argue a lot of corruption exists in Mexico. On the other hand I doubt so much corruption existed before the Europeans migrated here. So perhaps, with the more recent up rise in population from what was previously a very scarcely populated area, we just haven’t yet developed a culture sophisticated enough to uniformly combat the inherent corruption that government and special interest groups try to impose on the people.

Then again, there is a lot of corruption that exists in underdeveloped nations and they’ve been around for quite some time as well. But many of those underdeveloped nations have been oppressed and/or are being influenced by other nations as well. It’s really a lot more complicated than anything I’ve said in my post.

vastrightwing (profile) says:

The damage has already been done

Lies, lies and more lies. I’ve stopped listening and playing. I no longer consume traditional media because there is little value in it for me. Therefore, the whole argument of breaking my TV further is mute. The damage has already been done. Making it worse is like saying that my smashed VCR will be made worse by setting it on fire. I still don’t own a flat screen HiDef TV because my viewing experience will not be made better by buying it. 1) The equipment is expensive. 2) programming is more expensive 3) little to no benefit for me to upgrade. I’m not going to invest any money in Blue-Ray or any Hi-def media. There’s little point in paying for mass produced entertainment that thinks I’m a thief and has to lock up my content by using DRM. The whole argument is so silly.

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