Danny O'Brien sez,
In the US, the movie and TV industry tried to get mandatory DRM into digital TV receivers by pressuring regulators and standards groups to enforce a "broadcast flag", a nonsensical "anti-copying" bit that would never have stopped piracy, but would have given the copyright industry a veto over new digital video technology.
Now they're trying the same tactic in the UK. The BBC has written to Ofcom telling them rightsholders want DRM, and asking them if they can implement a crazy scheme to require it.
Ofcom is taking responses to this plan UNTIL TOMORROW -- if you don't want a broadcast flag in your country, read the proposal, and write to Ofcom!
The details include:
1) Taking the TV metadata in digital TV signals (which include TV listings), lightly scrambling it -- and then demanding that any tech manufacturer who wants to unscramble it sign a contract with the BBC.
[Ed: it's worse than this -- it's not just TV listings, it's the instructions for decoding the video streams, without which they can't be viewed. In other words, the BBC, which is prohibited from encrypting its TV signal, wants to encrypt its TV signal]
2) The contract itself requires the manufacturers to implement DRM.
The only people will be affected will be companies and individuals who want to sell consumers settop boxes that do what *they* want, not rightsholders. That includes open source developers like the MythTV project, who'll never be able to get a license, because there's no-one to sign, and DRM demands that software and hardware be locked down and unalterable by end-users.
License to Kill Innovation: the Broadcast Flag for UK Digital TV?
At this week's B-Sides Manchester security conference, James Williams gave a talk called "Next-gen AV vs my shitty code," in which he systematically revealed the dramatic shortcomings of anti-virus products that people pay good money for and trust to keep them safe -- making a strong case that these companies were selling defective goods.
Disney is being sued by the Michael Jackson estate for using fair-use clips in a biopic called "The Last Days of Michael Jackson" -- in its brief, the company decries "overzealous copyright holders" whose unwillingness to consider fair use harms "the right of free speech under the First Amendment."
This week, I sat down for an hour-long interview with the Yale Privacy Lab's Sean O'Brien (MP3); Sean is a frequent Boing Boing contributor and I was honored that he invited me to be his guest on the very first episode of the Lab's new podcast.
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