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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Jack Mehoff, Jan 12th, 2006 @ 1:42pm

    No Subject Given

    I love amateur porn! It has competely supplanted my spending on professional porn.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    John Doh, Jan 12th, 2006 @ 1:56pm


    This is somewhat reminiscent of when the Nazi's tried to plug the "Radio Device Hole" in their control of propoganda.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Chris Strube, Jan 12th, 2006 @ 2:04pm

    Re: History

    Ah ha! Godwin in two comments! a new record?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    dorpus, Jan 12th, 2006 @ 3:15pm

    Plugging Holes in Skulls

    Yeah but what if a 4-year-old falls on a chopstick, which impales their throat and their brain, so they die? A doctor refused to believe that could happen, and now he is in hot water, because the kid died.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Wolfgang Rupprecht, Jan 12th, 2006 @ 3:28pm

    plugging the open source hole

    I bet microsoft is kicking itself for not figuring out a way to plug the "open-source hole".

    Perhaps they can get their DC law firm to suggest a law allowing only "professional workstations" to have C compilers and deguggers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    haggie, Jan 12th, 2006 @ 3:34pm

    No Subject Given

    Two words: DRM Helmet

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    ccc, Jan 12th, 2006 @ 5:14pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    They could solve all of these problems at once if they would just plug the freedom hole.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    nao, Jan 12th, 2006 @ 7:02pm

    Re: Plugging Holes in Skulls

    its kinda hard to read all that japanese when you're only a second year student.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    DaveW, Jan 12th, 2006 @ 10:18pm

    Re: plugging the open source hole

    And "professional workstations" would have to pass the Genuine Microsoft License test?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    anon, Jan 12th, 2006 @ 11:36pm

    As an amatuer musician...

    I think this is crapola. I hate lawmakers more and more everyday. Dammit, how can people be so freaking stupid?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Hedwig, Jan 13th, 2006 @ 1:06am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Stephen Tillman, Jan 13th, 2006 @ 8:30am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Stephen Tillman, Jan 13th, 2006 @ 8:32am

    I had another thought...

    kinda off-topic, a bit, but it came to me just as I hit submit on my last comment.....

    In the same vein as "can (a) god create a boulder that even (s)he cannot lift?"... is there a lawyer that would fight for reform to limit these idiotic lawsuits?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2006 @ 4:01pm

    Re: plugging the open source hole

    You may think that you're joking ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Adam W, Jan 15th, 2006 @ 3:16pm

    No Subject Given

    Professional equipment has XLR connectors and costs 10x as much. That's how you tell.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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