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
    Derek Kerton (profile), 6 Nov 2009 @ 3:39pm

    Re:

    "every device you own has an ID chip in it. You register your chip online for each device, and then the content you have purchased IN ANY FORMAT can be played on any other format you own. Buy an MP3, play it on your TV if you like. Buy a DVD, play it on your PSP. DVR a TV show, watch it in reruns on your cell phone."

    OMG! Occam's Razor much? Guess not. The fact that you are wiling to torture common sense to these ridiculous ends in order to propose a "good" business model is a testament to how ridiculous DRM is.

    Who pays for that chip in every device? ME? Who runs the service that brokers authorization? Do I trust them? Do they shut down the server and lock all my content when your stupid idea goes belly up, like the MSFT PlaysForSure server? Who decides how many devices I can register as mine. For example, iTunes lets peoople use up to 5(or 7?) devices with their bought music. What if I have 12?

    And all of this waste of money, time, and hassle takes place even as ALL of the same content is readily available, DRM free, on sharing networks? Which would the smart consumer choose?

    Tell me why I should pay a company like Hitachi a few extra dollars to put in a tool that blocks certain content from working?

    You have made one big assumption that we don't make:

    "companies have to develop insane ways of limiting your access"

    No they don't.

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