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Secretive new copy-protection technology comes under fire

June 29th, 2006 · No Comments

The high profile CEO of the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association), Gary Shapiro, blasted plans to introduce ever more draconian (digital rights management) technology when he testified in front of the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary last week.
His vitriol was directed at the Digital Transition Content Security Act of 2005, which was introduced into US law last December. The bill calls for the adoption of a secretive new audio visual watermarking technology known only as Veil.
But, argues Shapiro, “it’s impossible to assess Veil technology unless you pay a 10,000 dollar fee and promise not to discuss it. How can Congress mandate a technology which is incapable of being discussed and reviewed?”
His opposition to new DRM has been welcomed by those who think that high-tech copyright control is now infringing users rights.
Industry analyst and copy-control critic Andy Marken says: “DRM and CA (conditional access) control has become more important than content to the music industry and Hollywood. With content nearly all digital today, they don’t focus on just the wholesale pirates but view everyone, your grandmother, the 10-year-old down the block and yes, even you, as a thief.”
According to the MPAA’s own findings, virtually all new movies are pirated not from copied media, but through the act of videoing theatrical presentations with a camcorder.
Shapiro suggests that as millions of legitimate users like to “time shift, place shift and manage their content” they won’t take kindly to controls which restrict their ability to do so.
The CEA chief has also taken pot shots at the audio industry which is seeking additional copy control protocols for music, saying that it “no longer agrees that a consumer’s right to make a first-generation copy of a song includes the right to play it back when and how they wish.”
He argues that all DRM technology should protect a users right to “search for, index, store, and play back any home recorded content, in the desired order, and to shift content in terms of time and place, just as consumers lawfully do with their personal video and audio recorders today.”
Marken agrees: “If you buy a book you can read it, trade it, sell it, heck even make a copy if you want, But a Digital book? Are you out of your freakin’ mind! Sure you used to be able to use your VCR legally to grab a show or make a copy (a backup), but digital video? Suck wind baby!”

Tags: DVD · HD DVD and Blu-ray · Hi-fi · Internet and networking · Trade

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