[opendtv] Congress: "Merry Chrismas! We're Turning Off Your Analog Outs"

  • From: Monty Solomon <monty@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: undisclosed-recipient: ;
  • Date: Sat, 17 Dec 2005 14:14:06 -0500

Congress: "Merry Chrismas! We're Turning Off Your Analog Outs"
Alex Curtis
Public Knowledge
December 16, 2005

The House Judiciary Committee today introduced a bill (HR 4569) to
close the analog hole.

Here's what we had to say about the draft version of the bill.

The government is proposing that devices (consumer electronics,
computers, software) manufactured after a certain date respond to a
copy-protection signal or watermark in a digital video stream, and
pass along that signal when converting the video to analog. The same
goes for analog video streams, to pass on the protection to the
digital video outputs.

The technology Congress is proposing (VEIL) is derived from one that
originated with assorted interactive Batman toys that allowed the
toys to respond to Batman television shows or videos. How cool-at
least for toys.

So, essentially, the government wants your future TV, TiVo, computer,
cell phone, Final Cut Pro, (input your favorite analog signal viewing
/ converting device here) to respond to the Bat Signal.

There are some details in the legislation that have yet to be fully
understood, concerning protection of content that is supported by
business models ( prerecorded media, video on demand, pay-per-view,
subscription-on-demand) and "undefined" business models. And much of
the process has to be approved, not by the FCC, but by the Patent and
Trademark Office. Why the USPTO? Not because they're an "expert
agency" like the FCC, but because the bill was introduced in the
Judiciary Committee, which doesn't necessarily have jurisdiction over
the FCC.

Perhaps needless to say, Public Knowledge is against government
mandated DRM and other similar tech mandates.

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  • » [opendtv] Congress: "Merry Chrismas! We're Turning Off Your Analog Outs"