Who Controls Your Television?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has released a paper on “an elaborate television DRM scheme called Content Protection and Copy Management” whose “unparalleled restrictions include”:

  • Enforcing severe home recording and copying limitations. CPCM will allow content providers to apply copy restriction labels to broadcast streams. For example, a program could be marked as “Copy Never.” In turn, your DVRs and others devices receiving the signal will have to obey and forbid copying even for home use. A content provider could opt to allow recording but still enforce a multitude of restrictions on copying to other devices.
  • Imposing controls on where you watch a program. Even if you are given permission to move a program to your laptop or other portable devices, “geography controls” may kick in and stop playback once you leave home or a particular locale. These restrictions may be enforced using tamper-proof GPS receivers built in to your devices. CPCM can also be used to block sending video to yourself over your own home network or the Internet, among other things.
  • Dictating how you get to share shows with your own family. CPCM can be used to examine, for instance, the frequency with which devices are connected to a personal network and determine whether your sharing is within an “Authorized Domain” Absurdly, DVB spent significant time arguing over what happens to a digital video in case of a divorce!
  • Breaking compatibility with your devices. You may have already invested in new high definition displays and receivers that rely on component analog connections or unrestricted digital outputs, but CPCM will allow the studios to arbitrarily block these connections. In other words, individual copyright holders can turn your gadgets into oversized paperweights. CPCM- restricted media will also be able to carry blacklists and revoke compatibility with particular devices that don’t enforce Hollywood’s restrictions sufficiently.

These “standards” will affect you personally. They’ll restrict your ability to record, copy and mash (as the kids are calling it these days) content; they’ll say where and when you can watch TV; they’ll make things like those shitty “piracy” ads in your DVDs seem almost quaint in comparison.

When the politicos call to your door in the run up to the election, you need to tell them to stick these “standards” firmly up the DVB’s arse. And remember to tell them that you’ll be needing a copy of the letter telling them that, in exchange for your vote.

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