FCC Poised To Let Hollywood Break Your TV And DVR

from the based-on-nothing dept

Earlier today, we wrote about how even the MPAA's own members have shown they don't need to break your TV and DVR with selectable output control in order to release video-on-demand movies prior to DVD releases. Yet, if you hadn't noticed, the MPAA has been on a big rampage lately insisting that they need to do this to add yet another window to its release schedule. That's because the way Hollywood thinks is that they only way to make money is to take away what consumers want and, instead, add more annoying "windows." This is faulty thinking. However, it's even more faulty to claim that they need to break your TV and DVR to release this content. The MPAA's basic argument is that without this, there will be piracy -- but even the MPAA admits that every movie is pirated by the time it's in the theaters (i.e., before it would need this window).

Want to know why the MPAA got 60 Minutes to run its propaganda piece on movie piracy this week? Because it knew this fight was close to a deciding point, and a little moral panic might help tip it over the edge into Hollywood's favor.

For a while, the FCC has pushed back and refused to grant the movie studios an exemption in order to break your TV, but word is coming down that, despite promises to make decisions based on "evidence," the FCC is ready to give in and let the MPAA break your TV and DVR in order to stop you from recording the movies it releases. Why? There's no good reason at all, other than the administration's cozy relationship with Hollywood these days. The industry's own actions show that this will do nothing to make it easier for it to release movies earlier. The industry's own claims show that it will do nothing to decrease piracy.

The only thing it will do is harm millions of consumers who believe their TV and DVR should work the way they were intended to work.

Public Knowledge is asking people to send a letter to the FCC, protesting this decision. I'm not a fan of "form letters," but I would suggest reading over the suggested letter and then crafting your own (polite, well argued) version, and sending it to the FCC. Hopefully the FCC realizes that breaking your TV and DVR for the sake of protecting Hollywood's billions (which still continue to go up) is not progress. It's a blatant attempt to take away consumer rights.

Filed Under: drm, hollywood, selectable output control, soc, tv
Companies: fcc, mpaa


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  1. icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), 6 Nov 2009 @ 6:50am

    Easy to get around?

    Whats to stop the DVR people from just ignoring this flag?
    There is something about it I am not understanding.
    Have to admit though that I do not use a DVR.
    The only way I can think it would work is to not use a flag but an entire encryption method. And my understanding was that the bandwidth for the HDTV was already strangled enough to get it to be nice and high def in a single stream.

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