Saturday, May 8, 2010

Movie Studios can now Disable You're Media Stuff at Home!

I can't say I'm happy about this copy protection scheme endorsed by the Democratically dominated FCC.

(AP) - 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. The decision by the FCC is intended to encourage studios to make movies available for home viewing on demand soon after they hit theaters or even at the same time.

(But) critics say the blocking technology could prohibit legal recordings on some video recorders and other devices with analog connections. "We are unsure when the FCC has ever before given private entities the right to disable consumers' products in their homes," the Consumer Electronics Association said in a statement. "The fact that the motion picture studios want to create a new business model does not mean that functioning products should be disabled by them."

Here’s the rub, and why this is so surprising from a liberal dominated commission.

The FCC prohibits the use of so-called "selectable output control" technology, which encodes video programming with a signal to remotely disable set-top box output connections. The FCC granted a waiver from those rules on Friday at the request of the MPAA. The FCC said the waiver is therefore in the public interest, because the studios are unlikely to offer new movies so soon after their theatrical release without such controls … 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.

The real issue is this: How long will it be before other content providers decide their programming needs a similar buffer time for copy protection? The FCC must already know HD movies are impossible to record now, thanks to protections built into HDMI connections. Analog recordings of regular definition movies, even the latest greatest releases in letterbox, look horrible and lack the sound quality demanded by today's consumer. Still, I do understand why they’re so intent on getting their movies out earlier.
Companies … have been trying to shorten the time between theatrical and home video releases, partly to benefit from one round of marketing buzz and partly to head off piracy.
And with the advent of 3D, good luck trying to copy that. Damn.

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