Once again, the big dollars from Hollywood are being allowed to dictate how things in your home, that you pay for, are allowed to be used. While a certain amount of control may be expected, the rather arbitrary nature of the rulings makes it easy to see how at any time, the dollars could once again flow, and perhaps change things forever.

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bth write with this excerpt of an AP story as carried by Yahoo: "Federal regulators are endorsing Hollywood’s efforts to let cable and satellite TV companies turn off output connections on the back of set-top boxes to prevent illegal copying of movies. … In its decision Friday, the agency stressed that its waiver includes several important conditions, including limits on how long studios can use the blocking technology. The FCC said the technology cannot be used on a particular movie once it is out on DVD or Blu-ray, or after 90 days from the time it is first used on that movie, whichever comes first."

No sane person can state that the criminal use of content can be reasonably argued for, but the problem is that this places a limit on fair use that could be difficult to get around. Imagine that you want to record a movie that has come on to HBO, as your spouse is gone on a business trip and won’t be back for any of the routine showings. The shut off of the outputs of the “box” will frustrate your efforts to have this available when that person returns, and the hit or miss nature of re-runs of a movie or other content after the original showings means the chance may not reappear to watch for months.

Of course, many will say that that is why DVRs are being offered. That is however, simply another way to make the customer pay again for things already paid for (monthly box rental fees, limits on retention, etc.), subverting the idea of fair use once again – though perhaps under the legal climate of today, the only possible legal choice.

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new pirate Hollywood, the MPAA, the RIAA, and virtually every other provider wants to portray the average user as a pirate at least some of the time, though that user may be also portrayed as unwitting in this. It is wrong, no matter how it is put forth. Personal use is part of fair use, and if the content providers had their way, fair use would be wiped out.

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