Hollywood Looks to Plug the "Analog Hole" and Destroy Consumer Rights

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Matt Whitlock
Hollywood Looks to Plug the "Analog Hole" and Destroy Consumer Rights

In another undeniable attempt for Hollywood to control how video content is consumed, another bill is being presented to Congress on November 3rd. This bill's mission: to pass a law that "plugs the analog hole", and effectively eliminate the ability for the common consumer to record, place-shift, or time-shift video content without the "expressed permission" of Hollywood.

What is the "analog hole". Well, the analog inputs and outputs on current devices are unprotected. Meaning, you can circumvent digital copy-guards by forcing it analog, then redigitizing it.

The proposed law states that every device with an analog input, within a year, will be forced to carry two nasty copy restriction technologies; a watermarking system called VEIL, and a rights system known as CGMS-A.

This means that Hollywood gets to decide how many times, if any, the analog signal can be copied. Not only that, but they can enforce it, too. No longer will you decide when to delete that episode of "One Tree Hill" from your TiVo's hard drive, they'll probably delete it from your drive before you even get a chance to view it.

Forget about your computer actually being under your control. It's unprotected outputs will be under the whim of DRM, or may be reduced in quality to a mere 350,000 pixels.

Analog video that has been branded "do not copy" will only survive digitally for 90 minutes. Your fair use duplicate will be deleting itself, frame by frame, as you view it. Oh, and basically nothing can be turned into a form that can be streamed over the Internet, which doesn't bode well in the place-shifting world of products like the Slingbox.

I'm not saying that illegal copiers shouldn't be stopped from making, and profiting from, thousands of illegal copies, but not at the expense of the honest consumer's right to fair use.

Stand up for fair use. Write your Congressman.


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