Stop the MPAA's Broadcast Flag!

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Jeff Jacobson, Oct 11, 2003.

  1. Jeff Jacobson

    Jeff Jacobson Cinematographer

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    I just got this e-mail from the EFF.

     
  2. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    I think they buried that story. I couldn't find it.

    At first I thought that 'content' referred to the infamous 'V' chip, but I think that you might be referring to the networks control over taping when the only signals out there are digital, and thus subject to a recording blockage signal that would prevent users from taping shows and movies.

    If they do pull that one off, it will send us back to the dark ages.

    Glenn
     
  3. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    A court already ruled that such a flag was illegal. The current specs for the flag (AFAIK) allow the recording of content to flag compatible devices but don't allow them to be recorded to the PC. As the article mentions, it isn't even very effective.

    So if this is what it takes to get HDTV into the mainstream, I'm all for it.
     
  4. Jeff Jacobson

    Jeff Jacobson Cinematographer

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  5. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    I don't think the FCC actually has the authority to regulate receivers. It took an act of Congress to get V-chips.
     
  6. Richard Paul

    Richard Paul Stunt Coordinator

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    It would be surprising if the FCC could force such a technology into every electronic device that can receive an ATSC firewire video stream. On the other hand even if they can't they could influence Congress into passing such a law. The broadcast flag would kill off any chance of a computer card receiving DTV whether it's sent OTA or on cable and satellite.

    Personally I think the FCC has made up it's mind to support a broadcast flag and is simply hoping to pass it with some minor alterations. They will claim it will speed up the DTV transition by protecting high value digital content. They will of course fail to mention that it will give the MPAA control over the creation of all future digital recording devices. Can you imagine the MPAA letting DVR's be made or the type of Blu-ray recorder's the MPAA would allow?

    The FCC knows that over 99% of the American public would be against the broadcast flag. Remember though that a single company (Disney) extended copyright's an additional 20 years. The combined political influence of the MPAA might be capable of making the broadcast flag a very unpleasent reality. By the end of this month we will know for sure whether the FCC is not for sell, or whether it just has a high price.
     
  7. Richard Paul

    Richard Paul Stunt Coordinator

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    Well the FCC is for sell, which isn't too surprising, but I'm amazed that they passed the broadcast flag with almost no alteration. The only difference is that instead of the MPAA deciding which devices are legal the FCC gets to decide. Considering how the FCC has protected fair use that is not much of an improvement over the MPAA. The FCC has made it so all ATSC products must comply with the broadcast flag by July 1, 2005. Also the flag will prevent ALL current DVD players from playing content from DVD recorder's that comply with the broadcast flag. The FCC considers this "little" incompatibility just a change in DVD technology.

    The best line from their News Release is that the "implementation of the broadcast flag will not require consumers to purchase any new equipment". First off considering the DVD incompatibility issue I wonder how they could say that with a straight face. Secondly, considering how many ATSC tuners mess up when anything is wrong with the ATSC data I won't be surprised at all if a significant number of current ATSC receivers won't work when this is implemented.

    It's laughable that the FCC is forcing manufacturers to put ATSC tuners in televisions when they are changing the ATSC standard. The broadcast flag will cause nothing but confusion for the next two year's as certain ATSC products are found not to work with it. Also the FCC has been sitting on this since February, which is asinine since the design for next year's ATSC tuners was completed around July of this year. This means that few if any of next year's ATSC tuners will properly handle the broadcast flag.
     
  8. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Somehow I don't think that the FCC is going to run a 'list' of every show and if it has/has not a broadcast flag.

    Instead, they'll let the networks deal with it, and when they rent movies for our viewing 'pleasure', the flag will go up and we won't be able to record it, or at best, be able to make one recording that will only play back on the recorder that it was made on.

    All this will accomplish is to drive away viewers in droves. The only thing that could screw this whole thing up is if the studios stop making DVD's.

    I can hardly wait!

    Glenn
     
  9. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    AFAIK, not a single mass-medium copy-protection measure so far has been undefeated. I don't see why this would be an exception.

    It is however very sad that the MPAA gets to dictate how the consumers should view what the networks broadcast. Isn't the MPAA the Motion Picture Association of America? If so, the most amazing thing is that the broadcasters actually think that the MPAA would disallow movies from being shown. I'd love to see the MPAAs reaction when the broadcasters say "Nah, we don't want to show your movies anyway. Can we get back the $135M we paid for the rights to the LOTR trilogy, please? We'll just show sitcoms and reality TV shows instead until you come crawling back to us."
    Of course, the movies studios and the networks are all owned by the same companies...

    I'm so sick and tired of the greed in this industry. [​IMG]
     
  10. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Yes, what this will do is to get places like Kazaa another kick up. I can see the networks flagging even the shows on their series, and the average Joe won't be able to tape them for later viewing.

    The VCR's 'time shifting' factor will be in the past, and Neilson ratings will again show a closer picture of who is watching what, but I have a feeling that it is also going to show that there are even fewer people watching anyting (DVD's excepted) on TV.

    There was another thread nearby where one viewer forgot to set his VCR, and wanted copies of what he missed. Places like Kazaa are going to have a field day with this.

    The more they want to control, the more we will rebel.
     
  11. Lance Nichols

    Lance Nichols Supporting Actor

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    Jeff, sorry, I have not read your linked article yet, but it would appear that the FCC HAS addopted the requirement.

    Slashdot links
     
  12. Jeff Jacobson

    Jeff Jacobson Cinematographer

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  13. Jeff Jacobson

    Jeff Jacobson Cinematographer

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    I just read this on doom9:
     
  14. Jonathan Carter

    Jonathan Carter Supporting Actor

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