Cable Industry Joins MPAA In Asking FCC To Allow Them To Stop Your DVR From Recording Movies

from the without-any-reason dept

Ars Technica has allowed the cable industry lobbyists' top lawyer to explain why the cable industry supports breaking your DVR in a misguided effort to add more windows to movie releases. Not surprisingly, he simply repeats the MPAA's flat out lies and misrepresentations on this particular issue. For example, he claims that the movie studios need this or they won't get content out to the industry early enough. But that's wrong. There is nothing stopping the movie studios from releasing content whenever they would like. In fact, we've already seen that some of the major studios are releasing movies in exactly this manner (prior to DVD release), despite claiming that it's impossible to do so without enabling this form of DRM.

If the movie industry wants to add a new window where they release movies for pay-per-view offerings before they come out on DVD, there is nothing stopping them from doing so today. Nothing.

The claim that this is about preventing "piracy" is flat out bogus. Even the movie studios themselves claim that nearly every movie is already "pirated" by the time the movies hit the theaters. And these pay-per-view offerings (they like to call them video on demand, but it's really pay per view) are for a window later than the theater release. So the movies will already be available via unauthorized channels. That won't change at all.

So, what are we left with? The two main arguments simply don't make sense at all. There's nothing stopping the studios from adding this window now. And enabling selectable output control (SOC) to stop your DVR from recording these movies won't do a damn thing to reduce unauthorized file sharing of the same content. The only thing it will serve to do is make legitimate customers pissed off, because they'll be confused and annoyed when the DVR they purchased to record what comes out of their TV sets refuses to record this movie that they legally are accessing, but want to time shift (which, again, is perfectly legal).

Contrary to the MPAA and the NCTA's bogus claims, this has nothing to do with enabling some "awesome" new service. This has everything to do with trying to lock down your TV and DVR in an age when consumers are finally getting back some control. What's amusing, of course, is that this comes just as the TV industry is finally realizing that letting consumers do what they wanted with DVRs didn't harm the TV industry, but helped it. One of these days, maybe the MPAA and the NCTA will come to that realization as well. In the meantime, though, they want to get a foot in the door to let them stop your DVR from working as advertised, in the misguided belief that they need to push back on what legitimate consumers want to do with the content they watch.
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Filed Under: cable companies, drm, hollywood, selectable output control, soc, tv
Companies: mpaa, ncta


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2009 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Time shifting is time shifting

    We're not arguing that SOC will stop piracy. But you seem to be saying that if a measure doesn't stop all piracy, then it shouldn't be implemented. This makes no sense. No house is impregnable. Does that mean you shouldn't lock your doors at night?

    In Canada, people regularly leave their homes unlocked. To contrast, Americans are paranoid crazy about security and worried about the Boston Strangler entering into their home. Does that mean you shouldn't lock your doors at night or even when you're home?

    To add, if an officer of the law comes to your home, and you don't answer, or left the home unlocked, the officer can legally open the door and enter your home if there's evidence of a crime. If evidence of a crime is apparent, they can detain you.

    VOD is just another way of watching "time shifted" content.

    True, until you start looking at TimeShifting was the basis of Fair Use. When people like Rupert Murdoch desire to Re-Test Fair Use in court, it raises an eyebrow. After all, the concept of Time Shifting was the basis of Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc. which was heard by The US Supreme Court. This is interesting because Rupert would have to appeal to a court higher than the US Supreme Court. Either he's fully fallen off his rocker or is preparing something to the WIPO.

    Now, if people believe the WIPO can supersedes US Supreme Court Law, then we have a much bigger problem.

    How do you do this?
    ACTA membership includes News Corp interests Janet O'Callaghan. among others.

    Taking this into consideration, your organization should look to selling content instead of selling content with strings attached.

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