FCC hands Hollywood the keys to your PC, home theater and future

The FCC has given Hollywood permission to activate the "Selective Output Control" technologies in your set-top box. These are hidden flags that allow the MPAA to deactivate parts of your home theater depending on what you're watching. And it sucks. As Dan Gillmor notes, "Fans of old TV science fiction will remember the Outer Limits. Given Hollywood's victory today at the FCC -- they'll be able to reach over the lines and disable functions on your TV -- the intro to the show takes on modern relevance."

The FCC says that they're doing this because they believe that if they do so, the MPAA will start releasing first-run movies (the ones that are still in theaters) for TV. They say that Hollywood won't make these movies available unless they get Selectable Output Control because SOC will stop piracy.

This is ridiculous.

First, it's ridiculous because this can't ever stop piracy or get first-run movies into your living room. Even with SOC, the studios are not going to release high-value movies that are still in theatrical distribution for viewing in your house, where you could set up a tripod and high-quality camera (along with ideal lighting) in order to make your own camcordered copy and put it online.

Now, the FCC could have solved this by saying that only movies that are in their first theatrical release run can have SOC turned on, but they didn't, because they knew that the MPAA was lying through its teeth about using SOC to enable the "new business model" of showing you first run movies in your home.

Second, it's ridiculous because it's possible in the first place. The FCC (and the candy-ass consumer electronics companies) allowed for Selectable Output Control to be inserted into your devices even though they claimed all along that they would never allow it to be used. Read your Chekhov, people: the gun on the mantelpiece in act one will go off in act three. Allowing the MPAA to get SOC in your set-top box but "never planning on using it" is like buying a freezer full of chocolate ice-cream and never planning on eating it.

If the CE companies and FCC wanted to prevent SOC from being used, the best way of doing that would be to not include it in devices in the first place.

Finally, this is ridiculous because of what it's really for: ensuring that Hollywood gets control of all the features in your home's devices and computers. Here's how that works:

Now here's the really scary part:

I'm not just talking about TVs and set-top boxes here. This stuff is targetted squarely at operating system vendors. Both Apple and Microsoft have enthusiastically signed onto adding DRM to their OSes in order to comply with HDCP, DTLA and other "device-based" DRMs.

In the PC world, compliance with DTLA and HDCP rules isn't just about what features the OS can have, but what features the video cards, hard-drives, network interfaces, motherboards and drivers can have.

So the FCC has just handed the keys to specify drivers and components for general purpose PCs to the thrashing dinosaurs of Hollywood. Because even your cheapo netbook or homebuilt Linux box relies on components that are manufactured for the gigantic mainstream PC and laptop markets.

Now that the mainstream component market has a new de-facto regulator at the MPAA, watch for all of those components to come with restrictions built in.

The Obama White House has done some good, but its administrative branch is stuffed with Hollywood lawyers who are Democratic Party stalwarts. The FCC has some great tech people on this, but the commissioners' staffers who wrote this memo are either the most credulous yokels that ever met an MPAA lobbyist, or they're in the pockets of Big Content.

U.S. Lets Hollywood Disable Home TV Outputs to Prevent Piracy


(Thanks, Adam and Dan!)


    1. 1- My solution would be to stay with presente technology.
      I wont be buying those SOC products.
      2- Revolution with Stallman as leader

    2. So assuming we don’t have a time machine, what’s the solution?

      The solution I’ve implemented: don’t have TV. If their wires don’t run into your house…

      What’s more, I put my lack-of-money where my mouth is. I can’t ethically support “big content” any more, in any appreciable way. I go to the movies perhaps three times a year, and that’s about it.

      Life goes fine without big content, I find.

  1. The AP reports:
    “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.”

    1. Yeah, the FCC says that they can only use it for 90 days or until the DVD release, but they *don’t* say that this can only be used while the movie’s in theaters.

      The studios sold this to the Commission by saying that they wanted to enable the “new business model” of watching current release movies on your TV at home.

      But as worded, the FCC just sets up a new release window: instead of theater -> delay -> DVD, they’ll go theater -> delay -> SOC -> DVD. This will piss off the DVD retailers, but the studios have practically declared war on them already (see Redbox).

  2. If SOC is not required by law, what is to prevent manufacturers from *NOT* including them? I’m thinking of those cheap DVD players from China does do not respect the region-lock.

    1. The analogy to DVDs is a good one, but it has two critical flaws:

      * DVD-CCA license terms don’t regulate sub-components (except to the extent that they prohibit user-modifiability). This means that you can build a noncompliant DVD player out of the same stuff as a compliant one. Not true for next-gen DRM.

      * The DVD-CCA did not set aside a war-chest for suing license violators. As a result, they’ve had almost no suits against noncompliant device vendors. This is NOT true of next-gen license cartels: these folks have asked their founding members to give them huge reserve-sums for suing noncompliant implementors.

      So while noncompliant DVD vendors were able to get parts and avoid litigation, the studios are attempting to see to it that next-gen DRM violators will not enjoy these safe harbors.

  3. And first release? I couldn’t give a shit.

    When American movies become DRM-crippled to the point of non-use, I will walk away from Hollywood content without looking back. I pretty much already have. My favorite stuff is German, Serbian, French, Indian, Romanian, Chinese, Russian.

    I’m going to miss out on Iron Man 2 or Hot Tub Time Machine? Cry me a river. Much better stuff out there.

    Our big, wide world is full of fantastic content, enough to fill many lifetimes. I think I can live a happy and fulfilling life without the latest Bruckheimer or Will Smith vs. zombies bullshit.

    1. I’m not sure, but it sounds like you’re saying none of this matters because you don’t like Hollywood movies. But that misses the point: the point is that because the FCC *thinks* you care about Hollywood movies, they’ve handed Hollywood the keys to the entire kingdom — the de facto authority to regulate hard-drives, video cards, network cards, monitors, etc.

      1. Exactly the opposite.

        It matters tremendously, but not so much for first run movies. Most of the intellectual property laws are more corrosive to other information like controversial books, documentaries, or other data that corporations, networks of influence, political entities wish to suppress. It makes it easier to control commentary, opinions, and embarrassing or incriminating information. To silence whistleblowers, to subvert regulation, and information sharing.

        It’s easier for corporations to sequester controversial data and then prosecute those who infringe on their lawful right. Why censor a subversive author? Just buy him out, privish (look it up), and then bury that text in an IP coffin to keep it out of the hands of future generations. That’s how you manipulate history and public opinion.

        How many audio or video recordings have you heard of Martin Luther King Jr.? Not many, if you think about it. There are a lot out there, but Time Warner owns most of them. MLK Jr. said some really subversive and radical stuff, but that’s locked up. Intellectual property and all that.

        It’s extraordinarily important.

        What I’m saying is that the Hollywood film thing is not a wedge for me. For many people, the idea of having their sweet, sweet brain candy cut off is more than they can bear and it allows oligarchs to apply pressure. Denying them their tasty superhero movies and such. I’m saying that’s not an issue for me. If Hollywood wants to make their product odious, burdensome, I got no problem whatsoever walking away from that. Plenty of other places to spend my time and money.

        I’m posting this comment right now instead of watching a flick and that’s just the way I like it.

        Don’t ever stop fighting that battle, Cory, and don’t let anyone tell you you are shrill or let them marginalize you. You’re right about this.

    1. I don’t know what we can do. We sent thousands of letters to the Commission on this, and they still bought Hollywood’s BS. There’s a review mentioned in the order — maybe there’ll be a chance to fight it then. But it might be too late then.

      1. Well there’s always the good old money bag of not buying anything. Sure, they can try to crack down on pirates, but a lot of people pirate things because they can’t afford movies, and yeah, you might win a hundred multi million/multi billion dollar settlements against some people… but if they make like 10 or 20k a year you’re not getting anywhere near the amount of money you “won” (or even near the amount they spent to win the case). Sure, it’d be bad on theaters since they do have a lot of cost-related issues with movies but honestly I don’t see another legal way around it. While I’m sure someone will eventually bring out cracks for the desktop versions of this, it’ll probably be illegal to use it. Same goes for modifying devices.

        I haven’t gone to a movie theater or bought a new movie in a long time; sure I’ve missed out on some of the good ones but if I buy it at all it’ll be awhile after it’s come out when none of the money I’m spending goes back to the people that made it (like buying it used from ebay or a pawn shop – none of that money is going to go back to the industry, and yet what I’m doing is completely legal). I don’t agree with how the industry operates as a basic principle – I think the movie studios are overpayed, the special effects companies ask for too much money, and a lot of actors need to get a reality check. There’s no reason that it should cost millions to make a 90 minute movie when I see a few talented individuals cranking out decent stuff for far less than that. Yes, a professional quality movie should be more expensive than a amateur one, I’m not saying they should go down to the same exact level as some of the amateur films… but there should be far less of a price discrepancy. Hollywood is just way too bloated and greedy, and we sink way too much money in to being “entertained” by them. I’m surprised it should even take this much to get people to stop buying from them.

        We pay them a lot more than they’re worth and they repay us with horrible movies, overinflated egos, and attacks on our freedom. It makes no sense to keep paying them to do it. You might as well be paying your high school bully to beat you up.

    2. i have stockpiled old p3 and p4 desktops and laptops just in case my next PC decides that it wants to call home and give me in to the corporate police.

      i also pirate everything on principle. i am only willing to pay for good hardware but if this crap continues i will start buying exclusively chinese knock-offs.

      politicians are corrupt. piracy and civil disobedience is the only answer to the corporate takeover of governments.

    3. I saw the original European (dutch) version of the ‘girl with a dragon tatoo’ and was pleasantly surprised at the film quality. It will be interesting to see how the Hollywood copy will contrast when released. Many show concepts are originating in Europe and then being copied here (American Idol). So global content will win here.

    1. Too bad that when you watch a movie for free, OR just don’t watch it at all, Hollywood says it’s a “lost sale” because of piracy, and the gov’t is buying it.

      I’m all in for a mass exodus from Hollywood media though, are you?

      1. fr4nk, I’ve already stopped going to movie theaters when they jacked up the price. I stopped buying (new) DVD’s years ago. I’ve abandoned all media I cannot get directly from the artist or a thrift store long, long ago.

        Time to start the old “tape swapping” again, but now with DVD swapping. Slower P2P.

    2. I already don’t. fell into a bunch that send me movies to download that have drm disabled. haven’t bought one in over 2 years!!! theaters charge way too much for my taste. stuff I burn off is just as good and would do that anyway to keep from messing the original up if I bought it.

  4. The thing I hate is that I live in Canada, a country that doesn’t have legislation around DRM. Unfortunately, because I’m a neighbour to the Great US of A, I get hit with DRM compliant technology and am invaded by government bodies and organisations that I have no voting control over.

    I know I’m preaching to the choir on Boing Boing, but I wish the Americans would wake up and realise their mess ups have worldly consequences.

    1. We have woken up. What do you want us to do short of revolution? Our government ignores it’s people.

  5. What we can do is start building a database of crippled hardware, a universal reference for what not to buy.
    Don’t buy anything without questioning the retail outlet as to whether it’s crippled or not. Force them to start listing DRM in the specs.

    Hopefully we can get hardware manufacturers to (successfully) file suit against their new masters, when sales drop. Litigation is the only language Hollywood speaks.

  6. >> What recourse do citizens have to fight back against this?

    The same question should be asked about the spill in the Gulf and the ongoing imperial wars that are now being ginned up to focus artificially on Pakistan.

    You already know the answer, so don’t ask the question.

  7. What I wonder is what impact this crap has on the stuff we all actually watch, meaning pirated media from the DRM clensed universe of p2p. In all probability workarounds will come in place if such files would be affected and if they are not affected, then RIP crippled paid-for media.

    Cheez, It’s like the entire mainstream entertainment business is being given advise buy a pack of trolls from 4chan hellbent on their utter destruction. It feels like they couldn’t possibly fuck it up for them selves like this if that wasn’t the purpose.

  8. This is probably the most convincing argument for piracy that I’ve heard yet.

    Can get get BB’s special guest blogger from sifi to weigh in on this? (Or can we get someone from the FCC to guest blog?)

  9. so in order to avoid this we have to never buy a new computer or new hardware, never update our operating system and never buy a new hollywood movie… wow

    1. No we just have to not watch things that are a pain in the ass to watch. The more complicated they make it, the tighter the noose around their own necks. Will a vast majority rush back to the cinema? No. They’ll watch another episode of Dancing with Douchebags and eat their ice cream and pine for Sarah Palin.

  10. Both Apple and Microsoft have enthusiastically signed onto adding DRM to their OSes in order to comply with HDCP, DTLA and other “device-based” DRMs.

    Does anyone know where one can find more information on this? i.e., is Apple really planning on crippling the entire OS or just iTunes?

  11. This is going to go down just like copyright.
    first it was 7 years.. now what its it life + 70?

    So at first it will be 90 days.. then that just not long enough the MPAA will cry..

  12. And in a few months time, there will be gray market players with all the ports you will ever need to export an unencrypted signal to computer or other recording device.

    Or there will be greymarket LCD or Plasma sets with similar ports, or solder pads on the printed circuit board for the unencrypted output to a computer or other recording device.

    Or there will be a PCI card with an HDMI IN port that will happily tell the player that, “Yes, I am a TV set and I am dutifully decrypting the signal and displaying it on an LCD or plasma TV set!” while feeding that unencrypted signal to a hard drive as an h.264 file.

    China/South Korea doesn’t care a fat rat’s ass about what the RIAA/MPAA/FCC wants. They only care about making a profit. It’s not like all those region free/plays anything you stick in the drive/USB port players are made in Tajikistan and smuggled into North America by stealth submarines.

    And as long as the cable box has a coax connector feeding audio and video to the TV set, I can copy whatever the hell I want that comes down the wire.

    Yes, this is an annoying precedent. But it is, essentially, a futile one.

    1. Amen, brother. I always make the same comment to my wife whenever I read about stuff like this: “you know, they paid a team of engineers and managers $$$ to come up with something that a teenager cracked in less than a day”.

  13. All of the sudden I predict a flourishing of Older technology like The NES, Betamax, and Analog Inputs… Now I wonder why that is…

  14. I don’t get it.
    It won’t even make a dent in piracy. Everything currently on torrent sites, usenet, irc servers, et al will still be there, released by the same distribution groups that exist now. They’ll probably piss a few clever people off in the process and have even a bigger problem.

    And just like it’s been for the last 5 years, if you play by the rules, you get abused – ok, you will get more abused than before.
    Why deal with that shit?

    Maybe they want their paying customers to hate them…

  15. I say we take off and nuke the FCC from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

  16. And if you expected the FCC to act any differently, you were naive. That’s blunt, but it’s true.
    Hooray for politics in America.

  17. I think the main problem with issues like this is that it’s too technological and complex for the average thick-skulled american to understand just how much they’re getting screwed, and so they go along with it. If the FCC was sending swat teams into bookstores, people would freak out, but even though this is an equally odious action in terms of freedom of speech, my guess is nobody will pay much attention.

    I guess the only real solution is to try to educate people where you can…

    As far as that Outer Limits video you posted; it reminds me even more of the TV screens in George Orwell’s ‘1984’, that monitored everything you did and broadcasted propaganda constantly, and could not be turned off.

    1. Would they? I’ve read quite a few comments on the Missouri Raid and lots of people blamed the resident for endangering his family.

  18. as some people already said, this will only strengthen piracy. this, just as any attempt before will certainly not stop piracy.
    as long as it’s easier, faster, more convenient and more compatible, i will just click some link on tpb instead of dealing with all this drm/corporate/mpaa/whatever BS.
    i’m certainly willing to pay for watching the newest movies online or on a set-top box, but it has to be easy, straight-forward, seamless and convenient and i really don’t want to deal with all this unnecessary, ridiculous, artificial complexity.
    they should just stop trying to fight piracy. it will happen anyway. it happens every time, no matter what hurdles they put up. instead they should make the “legal way” so easy and convenient, that no one feels forced to pirate. as i said, i would gladly pay a few bucks, and i guess others will too, but i certainly won’t pay for this drm bs.
    my 2 ct :)

  19. It’s either boycott movie theaters and DVD’s, burn them in large piles (sorry atmosphere), sue the FCC and MPAA, hack devices, or mass mobs of pissed off consumers.

  20. My wife and I have not been to a theater in over twenty years. We both have a few favorites we have bought on DVD. Frequently we buy our new disks from the 4-for-$20 table at the DVD rental places.

    Some sophisticated technology users will complain about DRM devices, but the vast majority of users buy their technology from Wal-Mart, and don’t know or care how it works, so long as it plays the new movies!

    I for one, have read the White Mountain series, and welcome our Chinese overlords!

  21. Cory’s sneakernet comes into play! Hacked Xbox 1 anyone? Mine still makes the best media streamer I’ve ever had. If only I could use it to share media with friends…any programmers out there want to make this happen? :)

  22. So, it’s goodbye to shonky CAM, TS, TC, SCREENER & R5 torrents, and hello to 1080p DSR with professional subtitles.

    Happy days.

  23. Is this tied into a “feature” I recall reading about when Apple made the Moto/Intel switch? There was something about the CPU serial number being included in every encoding made by a machine, thus allowing “them” to know exactly which individual machine made any individual copy of protected output, or some such thing. I’m old and the memory is weak, so I may be wrong.

    Long live my G5!

    Th-th-th-thats all, sapiens!

  24. I think many people are missing the point. Setting up sneakernets, DVD swaps, etc only works *as long as stuff is being released on those formats*.

    The whole point of this is that 10 years from now there simply won’t be any movies released which aren’t using the new technology, which older DVD players won’t play, which older computers won’t play. There are workarounds now, but those will dwindle.

    And don’t think it stops with the MPAA. You don’t think the RIAA doesn’t want control from the media to the speakers? Guess what, the technology is there. They just need to find a “high fidelity” output to put in and then they get control too. And perhaps we need software running to monitor for watermarks in the music, which checks to make sure you have a license, and shuts down the content. After all, if you are using it legally, should that matter?

    This is insane. It’s a case of technology being so advanced that we can make it important for the common good. Everybody can understand the impact of the oil – and still there isn’t a massive outcry. As soon as the story falls off the front page of MSNBC or CNN, everyone will forget about it. How much more so will this fly under the radar?

  25. The only way both the politicians and Hollywood will get the message is when people who care about these issues physically start picketing theatres worldwide: “Hands off my tech, Hollywood!”

    Think Bill C-61 & the Jim Prentiss constituency meetings writ large:


    That was the only thing that stopped that bill, I believe. It will be the only thing that will stop this power grab.

    When politicians see grannies picketing theatres because they don’t want to be spied on by Hollywood goons, they might get the message things have gone too far.

    So, the $64,000 question is who can coordinate this world-wide protest?

  26. There is no bug-free code.

    So, the first time an SOC bug occurs on the content-provider’s end, and a large number of people can’t see something important – let’s say the Super Bowl because the NFL is already big on controlling recordings and rebroadcasts – there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Congressional hearings, the whole bit.

    I don’t know if that will change things, but I see it coming.

    Now what we need is a revolutionary on the inside to help implement that code :-)

  27. this will, of course, do sod all for availability of these movies in Europe, so again we get the downside (crippled hardware) but not the upside (more access to movies) and the net result is negative.

    Thank you FCC for making my future media experience more cumbersome. You dolts gave in to the bullies, AGAIN.

  28. I think this whole selectable control thing sucks, but on the other hand movies aren’t a matter of life and death to me. If Hollywood makes it too hard or too expensive to watch, guess what? I won’t watch. And I won’t care, either. My life isn’t going to end or be impoverished because I can’t see “Ironman 3” or whatever crap-ass movie they churn out tomorrow. A lot of people here scream like it’s the end of the world if they can’t see some movie or show they like. What a well-conditioned little bunch of media consumers you are. Come on, people! Yes, all this stupid-ass media control shit sucks and is intrusive, obnoxious, and ineffective, but it’s just TV.

    Hollywood is welcome to shoot themselves in the foot as hard and as often as they like. I’m not terrorized by the “need” to see any movie or TV show. Let Hollywood founder, turn off your television and go do something else. Are your lives so bereft of things to do that you can’t live without TV??

  29. The next ultimate DRM will be special theaters where you can watch a movie, then upon exiting, the brain is wiped of the memory of the show. Was it good? was it bad? you’ll have to go to the theater again to find out. (rinse, repeat)

    1. biorithmic scanners to ensure no one from outside the household is able to hear the music. Licenses for playing at a party, if the scanner detects more people than is paid for it shuts off the music.

      weee, it’s great fun to dream up horrible ideas for content control.

    2. very good points comrade, personally that’s one thing I look forward too with alzheimers, every movie will be fresh and new at each viewing. now I’m all meh, not watching that again.

      anyways, don’t forget, 3d tv has awesome potential for drm, wireless hdcp from the set to 3d glasses, so anyone watching the movie who hasn’t tied their credit card to the specs will just see static, even if it’s just a regular old 2d show.

      which was an entertaining movie itself, guy builds machine that can see dead ppl, but most ppl just see static, take it from there.

  30. Amazing how the MPAA/RIAA survive on a business model of despising their customers.

  31. Stupid a**holes. Makes me glad I (a) use Linux, and (b) will be building a MythTV vox soon.

  32. But don’t worry. At least we have the Internet. But what if those bad ol’ corporations who built it try to take it over? We’d better give the FCC authority to keeps it nice and neutral. That’ll work great!

    “The Obama White House has done some good, but its administrative branch is stuffed with Hollywood lawyers who are Democratic Party stalwarts.”

    Sooo….the “administration” is somehow on our side, and the FCC is a rogue executive branch agency acting against their wishes? Even better.

  33. The new DRM schemes will break, just like every other DRM scheme, within a couple weeks at most. The majority of people that buy their gear at Best Buy and Walmart will only have the choice of pre-crippled gear, but nerds will find Chinese and Korean manufacturers to make working tech.
    So really, we’ll be watching 1080p rips of new movies, but in a small percentage of the overall population because its just one step harder to get pirated content (googling “non-drm hardware”, buying it and THEN getting a torrent).

  34. I don’t give a rat’s ass about Hollywood, but this is a huge step in the wrong direction. Piracy wins, Hollywood loses more face and money, and most of the world’s population continue not to care one way or the other.

  35. This is a very scary-sounding article that doesn’t actually tell me how my own life will be affected in any way. Remember Intel’s Processor Serial Number that everyone freaked out about but amounted to nothing?

  36. How is this not a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse act as “Exceeding Access”? If I put a DVD/Blu-Ray/New-Hotness(tm) disk into my computer I want it to do one thing *and one thing only*: play a video. By doing anything else automatically (phoning home, turning off components of *my* computer system, etc.) it has exceeded the access *I* gave it over *my* property. Unfortunately, IANAL, so I have no idea how this isn’t a violation of the law when it happens to a networked computer. I would appreciate it if someone with more knowledge than I would chime in.

  37. All this will do is increase the quality of 0-day torrents.

    Look how long it took to break HD-DVD and BluRay. HDMI+HDCP is already broken. If there’s ever a PC client for this, kiss the keys goodbye.

    It only takes *1* person who can break the scheme for this to all fall apart, we don’t all need grey-market copy boxes.

  38. Well. I was thinking about replacing my old NTSC/analog TV & DVD/VCR setup (even fantasizing about using MythTV to build a DVR) – because having given up cable service and then checking out some “Lost” DVDs from the public library, I had realized that I did miss relaxing in front of the TV.

    But relaxing with some DVDs playing is a lot more pleasant than watching commercial interrupted TV – and the prospect of the MPAA cripling my equipment because my kids shared a DVD with their friends throws cold water on that fantasy.

    I only watch TV a few hours a week (at most), and some weeks I go by without TV at all – and not miss it.

    I’ll buy a few DVDs a year – for movies where the story is sufficiently compelling. I don’t see that changing much, but I also don’t see any need to replace my old fashioned TV setup, especially when some fat-fingered Hollywood clerk can cripple any new equipment I buy.

  39. The MINUTE this happens on my cable box is the minute I cancel my cable service and hook a bittorrent enabled PC up to my TV. A good, Korean-built, DRM-free LINUX box.

    I know a lot of other people will do this as well. Cable companies take note, the MPAA is killing your business model.


  40. You don’t need a camcorder to record these streams. Some cheap televisions out there use half-assed HDCP decoders that operate as selected input control. They convert the various inputs into one simple unencrypted DVI signal that the TV’s electronics can understand. Simply solder in your cable and you have a perfect digital copy. Almost anybody can do this.

  41. I would humbly suggest BB form a Political Action Committee (PAC) and get someone into California state government who will promote the thinking expounded here.

    Potential actions could include
    – Soliciting donations.
    – Selecting and running your own state and perhaps even national candidates.
    – Levying a high tax on films with large budgets.
    – Work to pass sympathetic legislation such as making corporate control over end-users’ equipment like SOC and Sony’s tricks to be not only illegal, but also punishable as a hacking offense with punitive damages.

    It is perhaps only one potential solution, and I am not an expert in this area, so I hope someone else who is could pick up this thread.

    It would seem that a pretty large warchest could be collected via the Internet from like-minded individuals.

    By the way, $4m is given to federal candidates. $320K of that is from Disney, Sony Pictures, the MPAA and the RIAA together.

  42. hey folks, the only way to fight this is to not give them any money. no money, no budgets, no salaries paid, no movies, no more DRM.

    The assumption here is that we HAVE to have our hollywood and eat it, too. This ruling just gives more incentive to release things for free and set up micropayment methods to fund art. Nothing could be simpler.

  43. hmm, outer limits. I am unable to see that without envisioning this:

    heck, whats the chance of that becoming reality now?

  44. “The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”

  45. Cory, what about commercials? Could this eventually force us to watch live commercials (Say, after pausing live TV for 20 minutes), or perhaps disabling commercial skipping during recorded playback? (God, what an evil thought!…what is wrong with me?).

  46. Well the FCC messed up a little on this one, but I still stand behind that agency. After all, Obama has done some good, and they have some great tech people on the payroll. So I trust that in future decisions such as those regarding net neutrality they will do the right thing and not score a big win for their corporate buddies.

  47. I think the solution is pretty straightforward.

    Create an entertainment system that does not connect to cable, is not online, does not use any protected media or crippled hardware.

    If it ever comes to the point, and I don’t think it will, where that closed system of yours, entirely off the DRM grid, cannot play mainstream content, you will have to consume non-mainstream content. Meaning movies made by amateurs, music, books, and so forth.

    That’s what I do mostly already, and frankly I’ve found that the “amateur” stuff is almost always better than the pro stuff. I would much rather watch a five-minute short from Channel 101 over any “comedy” on Comedy Central or HBO. I’d rather read blogs or public domain classics from Project Gutenberg than the crap on the Times bestseller list.

    Kick me out of the temple? Fine. I got no problem with that. I’m going.

    Really, the people who are feeling this pinch the most are those who are attached to Lost, or Iron Man 2, or professional sports. If Hollywood wants to make it an Orwellian nightmare for me to watch a movie, that’s cool. I’ll just pass on their product.

    A lot of people should take this as an opportunity to walk away from what mainstream content providers are selling. Just leave. Don’t look back.

    I’d rather hang out at BB than watch television anyway. The sun is still free. I’ll go outside. Lots and lots of movie theaters conduct their daily business without my presence or money. They’ve made it such a miserable experience that I just eliminated it from my life. The world is full of good things. Turn off the TV and go traveling. Take up some sport.

    Just wait these people out. They’ll come around to our point of view sooner or later if we deny them our cash and our participation. Or they won’t.

  48. There’s the old saying: “My way or the highway.”

    The highway is almost always the better choice.

  49. I am all for this for the following reasons:

    Technology goes wrong, more complex technology goes wrong in more ways. I believe its something to do with entropy.

    The average joe is delighted with technology when it works, the average joe turns into a ranting beast when it doesn’t.

    In the UK its the end sellers responsibility, so the shop keepers will get it in the neck, not the manufactures (who will argue their bit works but everybody else’s doesn’t).

    The average joe will become disenchanted with the bells and whistles and will turn to something else.

    My own experience, we only buy older DVD’s on the cheap shelf (Blue ray is still too expensive) and we don’t watch many movies, there’s far too much to keep us occupied on TV and the internet to worry about it.

    It will probably take about 10 years for the movie (and music) moguls to start to loose enough money to realise the the market has changed and left them behind and they will have trouble to catch up.

    They can chase the pirates but they cant force the rest of us to watch overly expensive seriously restricted formulaic special effects on equipment that probably wont work.

  50. I forgot to mention why I agree with it, it gets me off my backside and out into the countryside.

  51. This article needs more acronyms! Specifically, MAAN (much ado about nothing)

    Hollywood aint takin over the world, and “ensuring that Hollywood gets control of all the features in your home’s devices and computers” is just scare tactics.

    They just want you to pay for their movies. This is simple: pay for the movies you get. Netflix. Theaters. Cable TV. Stop downloading illegal stuff. Done.

    1. “Stop downloading illegal stuff. Done.”

      Hardly. See my previous post. The problem here is that this increases costs and complexity all the way along the production chain for any device that MIGHT be used to watch Hollywood media. Guess who pays the costs? Guess who suffers with the bugs?

      I saw a very good slide deck explaining this aspect in detail a year or two ago; unfortunately I’ve lost the reference. If it rings a bell for anyone reading this, please post a link.

  52. Hackers are about to become very important to me. ANYTHING that can be put into an electronic device can be hacked and altered or disabled. . . period. The FCC has just created a new economy, this is the age of the hacker. I will gladly pay a reasonable cost to have my devices cleaned of all of this kind of crap and I bet there are millions of people just like me out there. All you software and hardware hackers out there, send a thank you letter to the FCC for securing your financial future!

  53. Most of the comments are focusing on access to entertainment media and so on. I myself only care about that in the abstract, because in practice I opted out of the media-consumer role some time ago, simply because I have other things I prefer to do with my time.

    The thing that really irks me, and that not many commenters are remarking on, is that if this goes unchecked, in practice I will be paying a DRM tax any time I buy a piece of computer hardware, even though it will NEVER BE USED to view any of the MPAA’s precious whatever.

  54. Ok – I am not a techie nor do I care one way or the other for Hollywood. They rarely put out anything worth paying for these days anyway.
    What does scare me is the computer “parts” part. So, from what I understand, they (MPAA/FCC/CEC) are going to add on this coding to allow *your* hardware (i.e. motherboard, drivers, etc.) control *your* access to information or content? So, I am, in effect, going to be buying an iBrick as a PC or Mac or Tivo, etc? Where any content not approved by the MPAA (and eventually the RIAA)can shut my system down?
    My answer is no. I will NOT do it. I am tired of this sort of crap. It’s bad enough that MS tries to control where you go on Explorer – so I switched to FireFox. I switched to a Linux OS to avoid the pitfalls of this sort of thing. Now, that won’t even be enough if they get their hands on the actual hardware instead of just the software.
    So, I am going to have to think about this and check with my tech guru guys to see how this can be avoided. Because from where I am standing, the road to Hell is paved with the FCC’s intentions.

  55. What you need to know about your IP Passport

    Creativity is what makes us human. Creativity drives innovation, and makes us prosper. Creativity is under siege from piracy and other forms of criminal behaviors. To protect us from this threath governments and the creative industries have introduced the Intellectual Property Passport. Your IP Passport provides you with all the means to protect your IP investments. It proves you legally own any rights to information that you possess. It protects society from the criminals that ignore the rights of others, and steal their property. It protects your property. It protects us all from criminals.

    The IP Passport is part of the measures that were introduces with the Information Commons Protection Act (ICPA) of 2015. This legislation was introduced at a time when both the creative industries and the information commons were collapsing under a tidal wave of information abuse and other IP crimes. It provides a framework for the legal use of information services and the identification of IP rights and IP rights holders (1)

    The IP Passport is issued by the Information Commons Protection Agency. This is an independent organization charged with the enforcement of the Information Commons Protection Act (ICPA). The Information Commons Protection Agency is governed by representatives of government and industry and has a strong consumer protection focus. IP Passport providers are accredited by the Information Commons Protection Agency.

    How does the IP Passport work?
    The IP Passport is like your normal ID card. It shows your name, Social Security Number and photo. It is stricktly for your personal use. You are not allowed to share it with other people, to sell it, or let other people use it in any way.

    The standard credit card format will easily fit in your wallet. All the information the card contains is securely stored in a computer chip embedded in the card. Only you and authorized parties can access this information. Tampering with that information, or with the physical card is a criminal offence.

    Just like your government ID Card that you use to identify yourself any time you apply for a public service, you use your IP Passport any time you want to use an Information Service. You can license all available informations services with your card. Whether you are shopping on the high street and want to license the latest album of you favorite artist, or want to read the news on your IPP protected multimedia pad, your IP Passport will take care of all necessary administrative tasks. It will identify you and protect your Personal Information Boundaries (1). It will store your licenses and keep track of their expirations and renewals. It will notify you when your access to an information service has expired. Payment records are kept on the card, for your convenience. To protect you from allegations of information abuse, the card keeps a record of all information activity in your surroundings. This record is kept for a year and 1 day and is only accessible to authorized parties.

    How to apply for an IP Passport
    If you are over 18, you can apply for an IP Passport at your local council office at any time. If you under 18 your parent(s) of legal caretaker(s) can either apply for a Junior IP Passport or have you added to their own IP Passport(s). In both cases an individual record will be kept for you. Legal responsibility for under 18’s, however, lies with the parent(s) or legal caretaker(s).

    The Information Commons Protection Act (ICPA) established safeguards that provide you with a legal right to access necessary information when you do not have an IP Passport. These safeguards were, however, created to deal with temporary loss of the IP Passport functionality, and not as a replacement for the IP Passport. Considering the advantages the IP Passport offers and the possible risks of not keeping track of your IP liabilities, most people choose to use an IP Passport for themselves and their children.

    Child protection features
    Important child safety features are build in the IP Passport. Using the Personal Information Boundary features children are protected from accidentally or willfully committing information crimes. Access to Information manipulation- and production Tools is limited to those of legal age (16 years) and the Information Commons Protection Wizard scans all information requested or produced by your children for harmful content or illegal production. These features do not only enhance the safety of your children form the dangers of the information age. You also have more parental control over your children’s behavior online, and you are protected from the youthful errors your children might otherwise make.

    Traveling with your IP Passport
    Carrying your IP Passport with you wherever you go makes life easier. Not only will you be able to license any information service anywhere you go, it also protects you when crossing borders. Authorized parties can connect to your IP Passport and check the status of all your information, and check whether you are allowed to cross the border with the licenses you purchased. Using the Secure License Exchange Terminal (SLET) available at most modern border crossings and internal check points, you can upgrade your licenses on the spot.
    To avoid delays at border crossings or internal check points, you should add all your IPP Protected Multimedia Devices to your IP Passport. This avoids confusion, and saves you valuable time at the check point.

    When no Secure License Exchange Terminal (SLET) is available
    Sometimes a Secure License Exchange Terminal (SLET) is not available at a shop or other information service point of sale. Using the Offline Secure License Exchange (OSLE) you can still purchase most available information services. To use this service you need to be able to identify yourself (always carry your Citizen ID card!) and present your IP Passport. The purchase will be added to your IP Passport account using the IPPID number printed on the card. The purchase forms will be processed by your IP Passport provider and you will be notified when the purchase is approved. Pending approval the provisional license you were issued can still be revoked. In order to protect yourself from the risk of criminal proceedings do not to use the information service before approval.

    Legacy media and information formats
    The long history of information services has produced a great number of legacy media formats. Ascertaining the license status of legacy media formats was one of the challenges during the introduction of the IP Passport. However, these issues have largely been resolved using the Legacy Media Import (LMI) feature. Using one of the the free online legacy media databases you can identify and import legacy media to your IP Passport. Many of these legacy media will be in the form of some kind of physical medium that is available to you. Due to the provisions of the Information Commons Protection Act (ICPA), possession of or access to a physical medium does not automatically means you are licensed to use the information services contained on the medium. Using legacy media without a proper license is a criminal offense. Obtaining a license, however, is very simple. Use the LMI feature of your IP Passport and your IP Passport provider will offer you a range of attractive re-licensing deals for your legacy media.
    Some legacy information services come unprotected. Missing or not functioning Media Sharing Protection Locks (MSPL) make any use of the contained services illegal. By law you are required to report any occurence of an unprotected information service to your IP Passport provider. The provider will notify you and the proper authorities of the incident and sent you instructions what actions you have to take.

    Information services in public spaces
    Generally your are licensed to use an information service for your personal enjoyment only. Many people are not sufficiently aware of this and endanger themselves and others by providing illegal access to information services in public spaces. Legally you are required to protect the interests of your information service providers by refraining from any actions (or lack thereof) that provides others with illegal access to your information services. As a general rule, take care that others can not hear or view your informations services. Some licenses offer the additional protection of conversational lock. In that case you should refrain from talking about the information you obtained. Protect yourself and others, and be vigilant about accidental access.

    Using broadcast services
    Broadcast services are among the oldest information services around.
    The recently introduces Common Broadcast Attention Awareness (CBAA) feature has helped to ensure the future of public broadcast providers. Recognizing the value of ad supported public broadcasts the provisions of the ICPA concerning minimal attention level requirements have stimulated a rapid growth in the availability of public broadcasts. Your IP Passport, in connection with your IPP Protected Multimedia Devices, provides you with greater freedom in enjoying a wide variety of public broadcasts by relieving you of the administrative tasks involved. Your intelligent devices will detect the level of attention automatically and compare this with the minimal required attention levels set by the publisher. Your attention scores will be automatically converted into exchangeable attention tokens. These can be used in situations when your attention level is low, or they can be traded on the public internet attention exchanges.

    1. That’s a thousand flavors of awesomeness.

      Pardon my ignorance, but what is that from?

      It reminded me of a story about this copyright infringement bounty hunter of the near future that removes the brain stem and spinal cord of his victims and uses them as high tech cyborg audio cable. I wish I could remember the name of that story.

  56. If they break every possible way to view or listen
    to entertainment of any kind it is not going to be
    another “Oh noes” kind of deal. Cory will keep writing
    and I will keep reading. When they close down the local
    library I will go to thrift stores, auctions, yard sales
    and such. I have friends who play music. Communication
    with friends? I will see you at the coffee shop. If
    they close the coffee shop y’all are invited to my home.

    The turd fondlers in Hollywood and DC had better be
    careful, the Bohemians will return. I welcome our new
    Beat Overlords.

    1. Haha, Yes, use your toothpick correctly.

      But seriously, MY personal worry is not actually making it hard for me to watch a pirated copy of any movie or listen to protected music, but the precedent it sets up. This could be like roe VS wade for content monitoring. When computers can disable media… the next step would be web-based content access,etc, correct? Once OS’s and manufacturers are on the wagon, that lumps IE etc into it…right? So say… no more 4chan? It’l still be there, but my computer wont let me go there? That scares the hell outta me personally. Although, I am looking forward to the Tech-armageddon, rabbit ear internet, boats hosting servers, EXCITING STUFF KIDS.

  57. I think that’s the first time I’ve seen you say “I don’t know what we can do”, ever, and that’s really discouraging.

  58. I couldn’t agree more with the comments some people are making regarding simply not partaking in the junk that is mass media & with getting up of your a$$ and going out into the world. I go outside and take in the sun and travel about whenever possible. My personal stand point on this is that I don’t want to be a watcher, an observer. I will be one who EXPERIENCES (and i don’t mean dolby 5.1), I will be one who DOES! I don’t want to look to a TV screen as my only window to culture (movies, shorts, music etc.) or use it as my only way to look upon the beauty of this world that surrounds us.

    That being said, as i am an avid reader of BoingBoing, it may be apparent that I spend a large amount of time in front of a computer. Yes, I for the time being am an office slug. However, while not slugging around a dank fluorescent cubicle, my computer time is spent on my linux box, this is where I consume the very limited amount of mainstream media that I do. Now, i am not concerned about the loss of this precious media should it become more of a pain in the a$$ to use, what I am concerned about is this: What will the these built in hardware restrictions do to driver development for the Open OS that Linux is? Can any provide some insight on this? Will this hardware have an effect on content produced without the banal DRM crap?

  59. There’s something unclear to me: how does this DRM technology exactly works, or is supposed to work? How will my PC know what I’m doing is a copyright infingement, and stop me by disabling parts og the hardware?

    Somebody here talks about a “call Hollywood back” device integrated in my equipment I can’t disable: is it true? if so, this might be a serious privacy threat – with a copyright chip on net adapters and hard drives Hollywood may gather all sensible and working data from anyone, read mails and credit card numbers, etc; but if it needs a software piece to work with integrated in the OS or the device driver, just use a Linux box (and do NOT use proprietary drivers like fglrx or Nvidia binary blob) and you’re safe. That is, will Linux still be able to:
    1) play any mainstream media
    2) play any media at all
    3) connect to the Internet
    4) run on my PC, or even install?

  60. @#93 – Perhaps you did not read into this the same way I did…
    See my post above – #91.

    It does not seem that open source software will avoid having to use locked down hardware. If there is something in the firmware of a device, us linux users are in the same boat as everyone else (not to mention issues developing, as always, to run on closed source hardware). Unless of course, you know how to run an x86 comparable system on an arduino …

  61. Now I feel ill.

    The good news: Someone hacked the TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip recently… so if *that’s* possible then anything can be hacked, hardware-wise. You just have to find someone who has the know-how and is willing to do it.

    And, the Moral:

    There is nothing built by Man
    that Man cannot take apart again.

  62. It won’t affect piracy, it will affect regular consumers // the majority of people. Pirates are just scapegoats for upping security/fascist control – I don’t think they really care about pirates. They can be dealt with when the rest of the population have been zombiefied.

  63. Many years ago a friend of mine had a DAT video camera, trouble is it was DRM loaded. When he filmed his friends wedding with it, which is why he bought it in the first place, he then found he had no way to make copies of the recording, it was considered copyright material (correctly, he held the copyright as he’d made the recording) but he had no way to tell it that the recording was HIS copyright material.

    I can see that same issue hitting this setup, and it will piss people off.

  64. The ultimate media I/O device: a PCIe card with a FPGA chip and I/O drivers for HDMI (and other) inputs/outputs. The rest of the functionality is entirely software-defined. Such cards could have multiple legal uses, allowing their sale on open market (e.g. various imaging research, virtual reality, medical visualisation devices…). With an alternative configuration file for the gate arrays, however, they could also act as HDCP crackers, fake being a TV, fake being a compliant device to the computer (assuming the card allows full customizability of its plug/play descriptors and couple other features), and generally acting as whatever it is configured to do.

    For existing devices (players, displays, receivers…), just chip them and otherwise mod them with extreme prejudice. Chipping already works well for game consoles.

  65. One more thing that may be needed: black market for schematics, firmware dumps, and service manuals. I for one would love being able to review the circuitry of a device before I buy it, so I can make a better-informed choice about its suitability for the task and eventual modifiability. This extends to everything including a microwave oven and a cellphone.

    Availability of manuals can be beneficial in other ways too. When I soaked my cellphone in tea overnight, a “Nokia Confidential” level 1/2 service manual scored off P2P made the task of disassembling/cleaning/reassembling of the device much easier (finding all those little hinges that hold things together in addition to tried-and-true screws is a pain). The schematics in the level 3/4 manual will be later useful for some more active modding, e.g. enable/disable camera flash, replacing or augmenting the camera flash with an optional infrared, status LED showing the phone is transmitting, etc.

  66. This action will only cause those who are pirating content to increase their activity to ‘teach them a lesson’.

  67. read your EULA folks, many computing and new media devices are not personal property, they are licensed to you, either as a piece of hardware or software, or an entire device consisting of hardware and or software.
    each combination of hardware and software has its own license restrictions.
    anything the device is used for or anything played on them is either in license, or out of license.
    we dont own anything and the license fee is non refundable after the retiler (retailer?)is out of the picture.
    as a content creator and copyright holder, I am angry at this FCC agreement becuase its so plainly selling out citizens privacy rights, and yet, somehow Im aware and alerted to the fact that if any of my content someday goes viral, I may actually be paid for it.

    overall this is all going how I told you it would go – pay-per-view/listen per everything.

    this content(c)copyright 5/9/2010.

  68. While I’m normally first to the barricades about this kind of activity by the Entertainment Industrial Complex, in this particular case I don’t give a crap.

    I’ve learned to live w/ out first-run, I don’t have cable or satellite so I don’t have a set-top box and I keep up enough and second-sale or rips of things is enough to keep me happy.

  69. The one misleading thing here is that this appears to be directed at cable company “set-top-boxes”. Everybody should keep in mind that when the over-the-air television system was converted to digital we essentially put a set-top-box in every television. These same controls are available and will be used to limit what you can do with the programs you get over-the-air. (So much for recording 24 or Fringe so you can watch it later.)

  70. We NEED TO OPEN EVERYTHING. an alternate market (something similar to Google Android market).
    As someone said before, we need OPEN HARDWARE, but it is not that easy, we NEED OPEN CONTENT, OPEN SOFTWARE (like Linux), OPEN HARDWARE MANUFACTURERS (PCs, DVD players, TVs, etc…)
    With an Alternative Market, we can say Goodbye to Hollywood, and expensive content with bad quality .

    Like someone said before we should not forget other great alternatives of entertainment, like spend some time with your family outside, go to a REAL THEATER, Dance, play REAL music instruments or watch some REAL band with talent, Do something useful with your hands (with wood, ceramics), etc…

    Look at the state of music industry TODAY: Bad rap (with no melody) Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber (icons of discographic industry). THEN Just look for some videos of THE BEATLES (a band founded 50 years ago today) on youtube, I am sure you can find many 6 to 15 years old TEEN fans of the beatles, because they cant stand what the industry is “GIVING THEM” today (as an expensive GIFT).
    By the way if you think I am an old man, I am 30 years old.
    You know, if Cory Doctorow and Richard Stallman start a Political and Universal party, COUNT ME IN.

  71. BOOM goes the dynamite! Internet Movies just became THAT MORE POPULAR! Think YouTube where we DONT have to go through Hollywood! take that! you will be replaced!

  72. x,y,z as “scapegoats for upping security/fascist control” as one comrade said earlier. this applies to so many things. Yep, nonattachment is the way here i believe. i don’t do the cable or internet thing at my place and it is liberating. I read a lot, hang out with people, treat all people i encounter as ends in themselves, have some good good convos, yoga, run, basketball, sustainable agriculture, building skills, (a full time student). I study sustainable development and have decided that with peak oil approaching we need to prepare ourselves and that starts with oneself first. growing food seems to be of the utmost importance – i am doing this now. i love this democratic discourse happening here, http://www.stumbleupon.com is how i made it here, great site (highly recommend it). anyways, we are governed by a fascist regime, make no doubt about it. Karl Marx said “Religious suffering is at one and the same time the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. (Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. Introduction.)” y’all keep on keepin on, be cool, be easy. go with the way, don’t feed the ego

  73. A few things to keep in mind:
    While yes, this set-up is easily corruptible, it is not to much of a problem (see other posts regarding moding hardware).
    Entertainment exists to keep the populace from becoming bored. A populace tends to react violently when they start becoming aware of what they have missed. So, any legislative problems which may arise will have to be rectified post-haste by those in power.
    Everything that we say, write or do is our own property, excluding references to other people’s work, protect it with copyrights when you can.
    To DrPretto (post # 107) final line: Our governmental system is a sort of modified republic; in some cases we the ‘common man’ have a say in legislature, but as the number of people effected increases that say becomes less until at a national level where our votes are a basic and overrulable guideline (yes, I will make up words to suit the situation).
    When it comes to revolution our actions are (nearly?) meaningless unless the participants, on the side of revolution, are willing to give everything for that cause. Further when a revolution occurs there is usually a middle class backer. And no, middle class is not what you’ve been told by various medias, it is someone with enough of a salary/income to be a threat to those in control.
    Please correct me where I am blatantly or obviously wrong.

    This content(c)copyright 5/10/2010.
    All quotes and names property of their respective owners.

  74. Every time a media company loses a viewer, they say it’s because of piracy, not thinking for an instant that that viewer just might not want to listen to anything they have to say. The problem is that the politicians and the judges believe that they’re right.

    The way we fix this, not in the battle-sense, but in the war-sense, is convincing the people in power that there is no substantive negative relationship (as studies/Cory’s career show, there may be a positive correlation) between piracy and a loss of profits.

  75. @11, and that’s as far as I got – terrific. Why play along and fuss? Just don’t pay for any media. Go and see live performances. Like 112, read books (like Cory’s new book) – it’ll do you good.

    Honestly, out of all the shite you’ve accepted Hollywood spunking down your throats in the last 10 years, can you name 5 movies that stood out as fantastic? I, frankly, cannot.

    But what I do remember is the laughing reviews given to movies on the pirated DVDs out of Asia – like for “into the blue” (or “into Alba’s shower mirror”), which said “not as bad as you’d think!”

    Besides – just go and see it at the movies – it’s a cool experience. What are you – 1970’s hifi nuts? Too much kit invested and nothing to watch? Suckers.

  76. Remember, the best way to boil a frog is to put it in water and slowly raise the heat. The next thing we know we’ll be living in a Orwellian nightmare and we’ll wonder how we got there.

  77. Cory, I just wanted to thank you for continuing to raise awareness to items like this. This is a hugely important and scary decision and we will only maintain control of our own hardware as long as we demand it.

  78. Almost all the previous comments have been about the effect these rules will have on peoples’ legal and illegal use of produced media. I’m much more concerned about having all this hardware around with poorly understood or secret capabilities to disable or degrade its operation.

    Will it be feasible to use such hardware in safety-critical applications: medical, industrial, military or whatever? Or will those applications require specially built, and therefore much more expensive, equipment which does not have this sort of protection?

    Concerns have been expressed before about the potential harms from deliberate degradation of video quality. Who would be liable if the DRM degrades an X-Ray or MRI image to the point where a fracture or growth is missed – perhaps because the doctor happened to be playing a copy-protected CD at the same time? What about if the “bad guys” somehow manage to inject a copy-protection flag into the video stream being used by a pilot landing a UAV?

    In general, I think so much of the hardware will need special features to implement this sort of scheme that the result will be a huge attack surface and great vulnerability to consequences not intended by Hollywood with very sticky legal and moral implications.

    Captcha: “the sweaters”. Yes, but who should be sweating?

    1. As regards entertainment industry crapware in your computer’s hardware causing ill effects: yes! Exactly! Stop focusing on how much you do/don’t like Hollywood/torrenting your movies/killing your television! That’s almost beside the point.

      And even if the crapware were completely bug-free (ha, ha) I would be really interested in seeing a cost/benefit analysis. Someone here loses — the computing industry pays with increased lead times, development costs, regulatory burden, and other ways. Someone else may win — the entertainment industry might realize increased profits, although this is highly speculative (the increased costs to the computing industry are not). (Tin-foil hat types might suggest that someone else does win, that being whoever really controls the secret hardware in your computer. See: Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge). Anyway, since it’s often stated as fact that the value of the computing industry dwarfs that of the entertainment industry, it seems rather likely that this is a net drain on the economy, the only question being, how much of one?

  79. I agree with the anger, but I realised about 6moths aga it was all over. 10 years from now DVD’s (blu-ray included) will be obsolete. ALL content will be streamed by high speed broadband. And you will have to pay for that content. The industry have spent the last 10 years closing the net (no pum intended) – we will be so reliant on ‘simple’ technology that all we need (and know how to do) is select off a menu and click ‘agree’ when they tell us how much it will cost.

    The iPad was developed specifically to do for film & TV what the iPod did for music…

  80. I may be misunderstanding the issue, so i’ll just sum it up as i read it, before commenting: The FCC gave permission to providers to send a signal along with the movie that will make your receiver relay the movie only along some ways, but not others (presumably to a screen, but not to a recorder).

    If i got that right, i can not see the problem. The provider sends ‘Spiderman12:Internet, for direct consumption only’, and receivers only take it to the screen, regardless whether the user wants to record it. This is, to me, analogous to the case where the user wants to see Spiderman13:InSect instead. It simply is not the thing the provider is sending, end of story.

    Could someone formulate a worst case scenario, to make me care?

  81. I think this is good, you get to enjoy the movie from home and the content creators/providers protect their product/service…I don’t see what the big problem is and I think this will help set more records as it catches on with the public.

  82. Once you let the movie industry mandate this SOC infrastructure, the TV industry will demand to use it to. “DVRs are killing our ad revenue. We have to disable recording to stay in business,” they’ll say. And the FCC will bow willingly. The PC + internet is the only thing left for proper content, and even then, the PC is quickly being replaced by “walled garden” Apple devices…

  83. this is bad and we should all fight it but it’s so easy to get around its a joke.. come on people even if all the hardware companies jump on to this wagon, there will be bios flashes that disable this stuff and programs that circumvent it. i dont know how well osx will fair but windows and Linux have a lot of programmers out there that already do stuff like this there are home made drivers and bios flashes for a lot of hardware out there from routers to graphics cards to tv’s. a great example of this is nvidia’s xphysics tech.

  84. I warned you about this when Obama picked Biden. This is all perfectly in line with his entire career; I’ve known Joe for decades and he’s always openly been big media’s BFF.

  85. I hope America wakes up!
    The government – corporate hand in hand relationship must come to an end. Why is there piracy? The feeling that corporate america, via legislation, is putting the thumbscrews to us, is why. Our government does all it can to force corporate profits on its citizens. We had, many years ago, a government thats policies were to prevent abuse of it’s citizens, by companies. But this changed when corporate money was allowed to fill the halls of congress with PAC’s and lobbyists. If this continues, the only business to be in, as an employee or management, will be the company chosen by, and protected by, the government. I got news for you – The Berlin wall didn’t fall because of communism, or Reagan. It fell because of corruption. Corrupt politicians ruining the country all for the benefit of themselves and their cohorts. My question for all is, Is ours not also corrupt? Why is it then that, almost simultaneously, cutting medicare and medicaid they vote themselves a raise? If they lived in the same world as you and me, they would have made equal cuts to their benefits package. And in the present economy, they should also vote themselves a pay cut. BTW, why is it that they have this power in the first place, as they are supposed to be working for us? I will answer that, they don’t work for us any more, they work for corporate america. The vote has turned into a sham, to make it look as though they work for us, HA!
    Quote –
    “Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing often, and for the same reason”
    Mark Twain
    It is ok to forward this to your sphere of influence if you are finally tired of the abuse.

  86. They’re trying to prevent the average user from recording the stream coming out of the cable box, to send it to the average pirate.

    The average user has never done any such thing.

    Pirating groups only need to pick up something like this little number, and all of this FCC mandated SOC nonsense is circumvented. The average pirate gets the new-release movie in higher quality than ever, laughing all the way.

    Like all forms of DRM, this only hurts the average, paying user. The only way this hurts the pirate is when their non-tech-oriented family calls them up for tech support because their rental of “Summer Romantic Comedy 2011” won’t play over “those red and green and blue wires”.

  87. From my recent experience trying to buy an HDTV that let me read the CC captions of my legitimately purchased dvd (a lot of old TV series don’t come with rendered subtitles, only CC tracks)(turns out my tv can get the CC but only when I plug the shitty image, not on the HDTV image, and only with my old dvd-player, which means that once that player is done for, I’ll probably lose the capacity to read CC entirely on my set), I can tell you this: it’s gonna get worst also for those of us that need the subtitles to understand what’s on the tube. To the point where the industry will probably force us to purchase new HDTV compatible copies of the shows they’re currently slowly discounting.

  88. I just will not buy anything new, with SOC on it..

    I’ll stick with what i got.. Turn off automatic updates.

  89. I agree that this has little to do with offering first run movies at home and will be used for other purposes.

    However, I don’t agree with the idea that it’s not likely that soon more first run movies will be available at home. I’ve watched lots of movies while they’re still in theatres on television while staying at a hotel. You buy them like regular pay per views. I think that option would be great to have at home,too. As the movie industry struggles to find ways to maintain profitability in the modern world, I see offering the option to watch movies at home before they reach DVD or cable as a real possibility in the near future.

  90. What we are seeing on many fronts is a redefinition of ownership. Even though you buy it you no longer own it.
    I’m wondering when you will not be able to sell anything used because you don’t really own it because you can’t use it without the manufacturer’s permission.

  91. How can any of you be surprised? Hollywood ran the campaign, they pulled the American flock’s strings, and now they’re claiming what’s theirs.
    Bush spent 7 years paying back the defense industry for his presidency, Obama will spend the next 7 years paying back Hollywood.

    PROTIP: Don’t do everything Jon Stewart and Tom Cruise tell you to do.

  92. Will never work. For one it will only add to the piracy fire, people will on pay for that which they feel they want. Others will find a work around or get pirated versions. Secondly, as for hard drives and other sub-systems being that this draconian technology being add. I don’t see the commercial sector going for having this crap added to devices they want to use in servers and business applications so manufactures will have to have two versions of the hardware. As for OS DRM, there are workarounds or hacked OS versions in which DRM is disabled or tricked into believing it is working. Hence, old CD in the drive apps that tricked the OS/program into thinking you actually had the CD in the drive. What arrogant Hollywood fails to understand is, if it has an output be it analog/digital or whatever IT CAN BE CAPTURED & COPIED!

  93. It’s a statistically proven fact that the people who pirate the most also spend the most. Nobody will want to buy technology where someone else can control. At least you cannot advertise it that way. You need to be like Apple and simply deny the problem exists and other users do not have an issues with it. Then let the public figure it out.

  94. Good! Let them do their worst! The more they try to put people in a headlock, the more piracy there will be. And then they’ll go sniveling to the gov again, that it’s “ruining the business” as they usually do. Corporate welfare at its best.

    When they began playing this shell game with TV fifteen years ago, I just canceled my cable subscription and stopped watching the damn thing altogether, even broadcast TV.

    Also, I only go to second run theaters where a bucket of popcorn is still about $1.50. By the time the movie gets there, I know I won’t be disappointed. What about the few really good shows like Lost or Carnivale? I rent the whole season at the video store for next to nothing and watch it all in one weekend with like minded friends. We have a ball and a lot of beer!

    I recently had to sit down and watch TV for a whole evening with a sick relative. It drove me bananas! No wonder she’s sick! It was like watching broadcast from another planet. What little I managed to follow (I was totally disinterested in whatever they were excited about on screen) was so incredibly stupid and irritating that I thought there was something wrong with ME!

    I found out that I don’t need to be brainwashed by TV every night, or listen only to the news they want me to know, or pay for stupid shows about whales I don’t give a hoot about (No! I don’t care at all about whales, OK?), or see whatever few worthwhile shows there are immediately as they come out, or pay through the nose at the theater to see a bunch of first run bombs in hopes that the next movie’s going to be any good.

    They pushed me fifteen years ago. This is my way of pushing back.

    I am not to be messed with.

  95. Woohoo, another backdoor for anti-sec specialists to exploit. I can’t wait for the first news report saying that hundreds of thousands to millions of users had their identities stolen by yet another hollywood DRM scheme.

    Even if MPAA/Hollywood use it legally, it will be hacked to be used illegally. Welcome to the internet… Haven’t we learned this lesson enough times already.

    Anybody remember when the MPAA released a video player application that essentially acted as spyware by implementing and using a backdoor trojan? Now, they have government support to do it again legally. Not on the application level but in the kernel itself.

    Makes me really glad I finally switched to Linux Mint full time. I won’t have to worry about my computer being raped by third-party special interests next time around.

  96. How can you refuse to buy DRM crippled hardware? The Windows OS will disable it.

    That thing with HDMI, didn’t you but it anyway, because you could not other?

    I doubt boycott appeals will work. We need the politicians to understand, otherwise the media industry will win.

    /David A

  97. so does this new tech install give the fed the ability to censor whatever they want whenever they want? if so this is far more a reason of alarm and is particularly eerie if they can see who watched what and when… seems like we’re rolling toward state controlled television like north korea.

  98. Less than 1% of users will circumnavigate the SOC soft/hardware, rip everything in sight, add spoof SOC-key to the files which will then be consumed by 10-15% of the population via p2p. The p2p’ers will flood the physical disc marketplace with counterfeits plus sneakernet them to those they know & love. Some unknowable percentage of others will reduce payola consumption on principle and/or sub-consciously as a response to bad press and personal anti-controls ideology.

    On the supply side an increasing number of content creators will respond to elevated consumer anger and deliver straight to consumers and manage to maintain a respectable income via live performance, film festivals, grants and donations.

    This will help help push linux growth. In the long run it’s good for the creative community & consumers alike. Transition will be painful to some creators, unfortunately, but that also makes room for fresh blood who sees the writing on the wall and otherwise would not attain exposure.

    Non-compliant hardware will always be easily identified and easy to buy. No amount of regulation can stop that.

    Upon seeing marketshare shrink, manufacturers of compliant hardware will begin to sell non-compliant goods and/or leak firmware that disables SOC.

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