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New Yorkers Get a Taste of Digital Restrictions

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the imagine-a-chip-stomping-on-a-human-face-forever dept.

Television 269

InfoMinister writes "From SiliconValley.com, another peek into the future of Digital Rights Manglement. A software conflict at the set-top invoked copy restrictions on all unscrambled digital TV programming delivered to Cablevision's 3 million subscribers in metropolitan New York."

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269 comments

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Jennifer! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280478)

You are the best!
Raise the roof for waves class!

just a question (-1)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280611)

what the fuck is a tv and why is it useful ?

No it's not (-1)

Big Dogs Cock (539391) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280479)

First post.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280485)

Surely the dickhead politicians won't do (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280489)

anything, and could you please go down on me? I need some attention!!! CmdrTaco is one cute momma!

translation: (1, Interesting)

phantast (35247) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280493)

We at Cablevision like to shit all over our customers, and then call it an "accident."

I would imagine they will keep trying these sorts of things until people get used to it and stop complaining... like paying for access to newspaper web sites.

Not DRM... its a bug.. (2, Insightful)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280495)

This isn't DRM in action, this is a plain and simple case of a bug. Sure some channels are "open" but they still need to be decoded by something. The config or code or whatever it is was done incorrectly so all channels were scrambled.

This isn't getting a taste of DRM, its the digital equivalent of your analogue signal being blocked by bad weather or the antenna falling off the roof.

DRM already exists on cable, that is exactly what subscribing to HBO is about, so they already have experience of it. This however is giving them the same experience on their TV that they know and love on their Windows box... failure.

Re:Not DRM... its a bug.. (3, Interesting)

rmadmin (532701) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280550)

I think the point they were getting at was: "Now they have a taste of what it will be like when DRM bugs"

Re:Not DRM... its a bug.. (1)

egileye (530756) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280680)

And the reality is that these sorts of incidents may be more likely to convince people who aren't as clued in as your average Slashdot reader.

When this article (probably wrongly, I know) that this is a taste of what is to come, people will believe that. More of these sorts of incidents being reported like this might actually be what's needed to get some critical mass behind objecting to some of the daft DRM ideas that are out there.

Re:Not DRM... its a bug.. (1)

geekopus (130194) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280561)

It's also a case of "The Sky Is Falling!" by whoever submitted the story (and by /.'s editors not qualifying the opening paragraph). I was wondering why I never saw this on the news. As it turns out, the article clearly states that the only users affected were people who had devices attached to the digital output port of the box (not the analog one; VCR's and TiVo's still worked fine).


It's still a bug, but probably a barely noticed one. Not many people will have a device connected on this port.

Re:Not DRM... its a bug.. (5, Interesting)

JWW (79176) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280957)

I thought that was the interesting part.

The most discriminating customers, who had spent the most money on their home entertainment equipment were the only ones affected.

This is where this is going to be a big problem. How the hell are they going to convince anyone to buy "the new digital" stuff when people see stories like this and start hearing anecdotal evidence from people that this did affect.

The abuse of the consumer is reaching unhearlded heights in this country, I think in this battle the consumer will speak with a closed pocketbook.

Just this week my cable company called to try to get me to switch to digital cable, the upside was a few more channels, the downside $30 more a month! I'm sorry but I want more value for my dollar than that. The same goes for digital TV's, sure they're cool, but not $2000 cool. That's where the industry is going wrong. We're not buying enough of this new stuff, so they will be trying to mandate. That is where the true battle will be.

Re:Not DRM... its a bug.. (1)

Ella the Cat (133841) | more than 11 years ago | (#4281042)

Please, will someone moderate the parent of my reply up, for understanding how important early adopters are in shaping what the mass market gets. Word of mouth and a few bad reviews or critical articles makes the hardware companies ask themselves why they are carrying the can for someone else's interests. It's like advertising, but it works the other way round, becasue early adopters are in fact just marketing experiments.

I think it's funny people with more money than sense get buggy products and do the debugging so I can buy the same thing cheaper a year later on, but someone has to do it. :)

Re:Not DRM... its a bug.. (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280601)

DRM already exists on cable, that is exactly what subscribing to HBO is about,

WRONG!!!!!

I can videotape HBO all day long, then I can take that videotape and copy it 90 billion times. or I can record HBO with my Tv capture card and thne copy that Divx 90 bajillion times..

there are NO DRM restrictions on cable. is is nothing that prevents me from recording the shows on EVERY channel including pay-per-view for my use and time shifting.

Yes, I record pay-per-views. and watch them twice! Oh the horror! I am causing the downfall of Cable TV!

Get real, and get a grip... there are NO Digital Rights Managements controls in Cable TV. The DCT 3000 and the DCT 5000 do not have the capability.
Those two Digital cable boxes are in the majority of cable systems. anything else is a minority or a beta-test. (Cox, Chartet, AT&T/Comcast use Motorola DCT 3000's and 5000's... and I believe that AOL/timewarner does to, althoug I do not know that for a fact like the others.)

Re:Not DRM... its a bug.. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280624)

"Yes, I record pay-per-views. and watch them twice! Oh the horror! I am causing the downfall of Cable TV!"

You, sir, are a thief, a criminal, and an ingrate. Every time you watch that pirated copy of pay-per-view programming, you steal food off of the plates of those who worked hard to produce it. These people rely on re-broadcasts to recoup their cots, you inconsiderite twit! How do you sleep at night knowing that you are sending hard working and now destitute people into the street because YOU want to watch your Tyson fight over and over again?

You, sir, sicken me.

Re:Not DRM... its a bug.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280784)

Excellent! and thank you. I aspire to be one of the biggest violators of the EULA and DRM on the planet. In fact I think I'll go and record the news and watch it 3 times tonight just to make the newscasters poor! Oh Oh! and I'll skip the commercials too!

Re:Not DRM... its a bug.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280786)

>You, sir, are a thief, a criminal, and an ingrate. Every time you watch that pirated copy of pay-per-view programming, you steal food off of the plates of those who worked hard to produce it. These people rely on re-broadcasts to recoup their cots, you inconsiderite twit! How do you sleep at night knowing that you are sending hard working and now destitute people into the street because YOU want to watch your Tyson fight over and over again? And worse you are downloading communism: http://www.modernhumorist.com/mh/0004/propaganda/m p3.jpg

Re:Not DRM... its a bug.. (2)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280743)

WRONG!!!!!

I can videotape HBO all day long, then I can take that videotape and copy it 90 billion times. or I can record HBO with my Tv capture card and thne copy that Divx 90 bajillion times..

Unless I'm wrong (i'm in the UK, so might easily be), the only time you'd actually not be able to record HBO is if your video recorder or TV Capture Card acted upon the copy restriction bit being set.

In other words, the original poster might not be wrong. HBO may be sending the copy restriction bit with its programming, it's just that your capture devices are ignoring it because they don't know what to do with it.

Some day (if we're not careful), all recorders and TV cards will understand what this bit means, and act on it ...

Re:Not DRM... its a bug.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280827)

the Copy protection Bit cannot be broadcast over an analog Video signal.(well it could be sent in the vertical blanking interval, but that would be stupid as anyone can still record it) HBO is digital up to the digital cable box. then it is converted to analog video as no cable tv box has digital video out here in the USA. bot the dct3000 and the newer DCT5000 do nto have digital anything out except for a very few DCT-5000's that have 5.1 audio out. no digital video... not ther not avaiable. nobody sells a VCR here that has DRM built in.

Unless the New York (and parto of NY is AT&T) cable company that is affected does not use Motorola Digital cable boxes and uses some strange calbe box that is non-standard and is kept secret (I saw the current and future stuff at the CAB show.. nobody had a digital video out for HDTV or any DTV for that matter) it cant happen except at the box and it was just blocking the channel at the box being not-authorized.

I'm betting big money that it's all not DRM at all but someone twisting the truth.

Re:Not DRM... its a bug.. (1)

ozbon (99708) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280905)

> nobody sells a VCR here that has DRM built in.

Yet

Oh, and it actually says in the article that they're using a Sony set-top box, with IEEE394/Firewire in it.

Re:Not DRM... its a bug.. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280869)

What is happening is that the company sent to the beta-test sony set top boxes (and very VERY few people have these boxes) a command to turn off the firewire out. these people can still record the video, just not from the firewire port but from the Svido port.

It's a bug that turned off the firewire output of a digital cable box that is very uncommon and not used widely.

Re:Not DRM... its a bug.. (2)

FyRE666 (263011) | more than 11 years ago | (#4281051)

I'm in the UK too, and stopped watching any of the pay-per-view stuff as soon as they put the macrovision crap on those channels. It's a sort of DRM since you have to use additional equipment to clean up the MV crap to get a decent recording. No, I don't intend to sell copies of "Scary Movie 2" at the local flea-market - I'd just like to be able to watch it a couple of times before recording over it.

I now just hire DVDs for all my films - still the same MV on there, but at least I can watch it over a couple of days for the same price of one viewing on Sky...

Re:Not DRM... its a bug.. (1)

josh crawley (537561) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280972)

---I can videotape HBO all day long, then I can take that videotape and copy it 90 billion times

Your quality would really suck if you copied the cassette 90 billlion times ;-)

Still, Cable, sattelite, and basic TV are all moronic services. I rarely watching anything on TV directly. I usually download what I want from the net (which happens to be fan-subs from very recent anime that will never be brought here in the US). Past that., I do networking and coding and Linux maintaining.

Re:Not DRM... its a bug.. (1)

override11 (516715) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280621)

Its not a bug...
its a feature!

It is a bug, but it's also DRM (4, Informative)

Chewie (24912) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280654)

Will someone read the goddamn article for once? I blockquote:
This software conflict somehow triggered a copy protection scheme known as 5C, which is designed to prevent mass duplication of television shows and movies. It labeled all digital programming off limits to copying. For now, the glitch prevents viewers from digitally taping any cable show using a next-generation digital videotape recorder called DVHS, the HDTV Insider newsletter reported. These devices recognize the programming as copy-blocked -- and turn off.
It is clearly a DRM issue. (Score:4, Insightful) my ass.

(I know, I've been trolled. Don't care. Haven't had coffee yet.)

Still NOT a DRM Issue (2)

goldspider (445116) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280695)

Like the parent post said, as well as the article, "This software conflict somehow triggered a copy protection scheme known as 5C, which is designed to prevent mass duplication of television shows and movies."

Now assuming you yourself read the article, you will observe that this was caused by a bug that triggered the DRM software, NOT caused by the DRM software itself.

No matter how hard you try to pin this one on DRM, it still goes back to simple human error.

Re:Still NOT a DRM Issue (5, Informative)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280866)

From the original parent post:

This isn't getting a taste of DRM, its the digital equivalent of your analogue signal being blocked by bad weather or the antenna falling off the roof

Which is a total and utter misunderstanding of what 5C is.

5C most certainly is DRM. It serves no purpose to the consumer except to place artificial restrictions on what, when, and how you can watch shows being broadcast over DTV or digital cable.

Was it human error that caused it to be activated in this circumstance? Sure. But it's still DRM.

Re:It is a bug, but it's also DRM (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280805)

Excellent point, please mod this up for insightfulness again, someone! However, there's one key phrase in the blockquote I think we all need to pay more attention to... "digitally taping". I would assume this can also include other forms of digital recording. Unfortanately for all concerned, both my TV and my VCR are analog, so it may be a very moot point to me... and I live in NY.

BTW I need to get a coffee too ;)

Re:Not DRM... its a bug.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4281005)

And you're not concerned about the fact that there is "software" which can in any way affect how your equipment works? I can understand how a TV show could be mislabeled, but... "software" which can somehow break your recorder? Are they downloading stuff into random electronic devices and hoping it all works? I hope none of those Internet-connected laundromats get a connection through them...

Harder to steal content (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280499)

Oh No, I won't be able to steal things that don't belong to me so easily anymore. This is terrible.

Re:Harder to steal content (0, Offtopic)

The Fanta Menace (607612) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280510)

There is nothing illegal about time shifting.

Re:Harder to steal content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280572)

It's not really clear if time shifting is "illegal". There seems to be a mass delusion that it is not right for Bussinesses are entitled to restrict when and how their products can be used. In cases like a book I own or a CD i own, sure reality and courts as well have said that i can read or listen at my pleasure, otherwise I dont really own it. On the other hand how many times have you seen advertisments for "Full body massages, half price, available for a limited time only, one per customer". When I go to the movies or even rent one, it's for a limited time. If I want to view it again next year I have to rent it again. What about copies? well that's the argument isn't it. Should bussinesses have the right to restrict copyRIGHTed work. well that's what the RIGHT and COPY in copy right means. you maynot like this but that does not make you right.

Re:Harder to steal content (1)

kingOFgEEEks (598145) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280556)

Well, actually, the point is that the LEGAL subscribers were not getting their service. There's a slight difference there. I know that when i pay for something, i want it to work. I would hope the rest of the world feels the same.

Re:Harder to steal content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280656)

You mean that you expect things you DON'T pay for to NOT work?

Cablevision (2, Interesting)

The Magic Yak (559288) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280501)

Cablevision has raised rates everytime I look at the bill. Don't get me wrong, Optimum Online is very fast and nice and few problems occur. But lately, between Cable and the Modem and an $80+ cable bill every month, I'm getting very close to switching back to basic broadcast television. With such poor broadband subscriber sales, the last thing this company should do is restrict more consumers. I'm assuming money is somehow behind this. Anyway, I'm going to write an "upset subscriber" letter and I encourage anyone else affected by this to do the same. If this extends to all recordings on PVRs (I'm assuming only digital right now) then rest assured, I don't need the bandwidth and they will lose me as a customer.

that's my two cents.

Re: Cablevision (5, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280564)


> Cablevision has raised rates everytime I look at the bill. Don't get me wrong, Optimum Online is very fast and nice and few problems occur. But lately, between Cable and the Modem and an $80+ cable bill every month, I'm getting very close to switching back to basic broadcast television.

Don't fear the rabbit ears.

I ditched premium cable ages ago, for exactly the reason you describe. More recently my apartments quit carrying basic cable, so I went out and found a pair of rabbit ears. I haven't regretted it.

Yes, there's hardly anything on but trash, but there's still more on than I ought to spend the time watching. I get ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, WB, and PBS. If they each only have two hours of fun stuff per week, that's still a whopping 12 hours eaten out of my 112 waking hours per week.

Re: Cablevision (1)

doomicon (5310) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280641)

Ditto here. I ditched Timewarner here in Tampa two years ago. Rabbit ears are just fine. I watch my news, football, and SmallVille. I'm set.

Re: Cablevision (2)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280683)

All you need is The West Wing and The Simpsons, anyways :)

switch! (2)

stego (146071) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280791)

Every month I open my cable bill and I'm like, 'damn thats a lot of money'... I've just dropped to basic + internet and will save $45 next month. I'll save $500+ over the next 12 months. Will I miss the extra channels that much?

Is this post off-topic? maybe, maybe not... Voting with your wallet is certainly a way to influence what goods/services get or continue to be offered at which prices...

Testing 1,2,3 (5, Insightful)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280509)

Maybe it wasn't a glitch so much as it was a test of the system to see if it would work.

Cablevision isn't stupid - they can see the coming of the DRM Age, and a quick test to see how many people were affected by it now will help them guage the response when DRM is required.

Re:Testing 1,2,3 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280533)

Everyone likes pudding.

Re:Testing 1,2,3 (0, Offtopic)

kingOFgEEEks (598145) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280576)

I know.. parfait.

everybody LOVE parfait!

Re:Testing 1,2,3 (1)

bastion_xx (233612) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280567)

Why in the world would they test something that pisses people off to no end on the entire island of Manhattan?! I can see this taking place in SanFran or some other laid-back city, but New Yawhk fer crissake?!!!!

More than likely some cabadmin (cable administrator) put his sammich down on the wrong button....

Re:Testing 1,2,3 (2, Interesting)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280599)

I highly doubt that, I work in Cable software development and I can tell you that you *NEVER* test on a production system, especially in a market as large as NY..

Re:Testing 1,2,3 (1)

BigASS (153722) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280610)

Accidents? There are no accidents. Everything that happens, happens for a reason.

Re:Testing 1,2,3 (2)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280689)

There are no accidents. Everything that happens, happens for a reason.

Those two statements aren't mutually exclusive. Sometimes, the reason something happens was "because someone fucked up."

Re:Testing 1,2,3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280992)

Something that, in happening, causes something else to happen, happens.

Re:Testing 1,2,3 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280646)

Shut up, you goddamn vanilla eating, butterscoth hating terrorist!

You should get some proper pudding, and then maybe you'll have the right to comment on DRM systems!

Re:Testing 1,2,3 (2, Funny)

MeNeXT (200840) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280823)

If your butterscotch got mixed into my vanilla you would...

Re:Testing 1,2,3 (0, Offtopic)

handorf (29768) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280932)

I don't like butterscotch, but I do like vanilla. You don't see friggin holy wars over pudding, though, do you?

YOU SWINE! HAVE AT YOU!

Accident? (1)

Kristoffor (562485) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280514)

Was this really an accident... or maybe a proof of concept! The conspiracy theorist in me thinks they may have intended just what they accomplished, showing the world how easy it is for them to block copying.

Re:Accident? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280603)

Why was this not picked up in the testing lab? - presume they do test?
Surely they can revert back to the previous scheme?

The beauty of free to air, means a logic analyser can detect the protocol sequence needed to toggle the chip between protected and unprotected modes = leaving the keys under the doormat.

MY Rights (2, Interesting)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280529)

I don't konw about you "outsiders" but I remember in the Constitution they were concerned with MY rights. Where did this Digital Rights nonsense come from? You would figure after 9-11 people in congress would get their priorities straighten out. Oh well just one more reason to pay close attention on who is running for senate and house.

Re:MY Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280568)

The Constitution does not bind the private sector. If private industry wants to implement DRM, there isn't a hell of a lot that the government can morally do. However, our government is an immoral government that meddles in areas outside its legitimate purview (law enforcement and national defense) so all bets are off.

Now, if the government mandated DRM, then a Constitutional challenge would be feasible. All the same, the best method would be boycott coupled with civil disobedience. Not even $DEITY itself has the right to tell you what you can and cannot do with your property.

--
This post created by a blue-eyed programmer-cat!

Rights Lost... (2)

Ron Bennett (14590) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280604)

Not sure where you've been lately since the U.S. government has mandated DRM for all practical matters via the DMCA and related laws.

Re:Rights Lost... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280613)

I've been stoned on catnip. >^..^

Welcome to Earth (0, Troll)

lovebyte (81275) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280581)

You've just discovered that all governements on this planet have sold out to big corporations. You may now go out and drink a glass of champagne.

You would figure after 9-11 people in congress would get their priorities straighten out.
Sure! And after WWII everyone was friends for ever! Come on, man, wake up.

They shall never take our remaining freedom away! (3, Funny)

Smallest (26153) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280960)

As Detective Yeti [defectiveyeti.com] says:

" They Shall Never Take Our Remaining Freedom Away! Terrorists shall never deprive Americans of their essential liberties.

The Bush Administration's strategy for ensuring this, apparently, is to leave us with none left to lose. "

-c

Re:MY Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4281004)

Unfortunately, in most cases, Congress and the legal system are out to protect someone else's rights; not yours. In America, we care more about the rights of some non-living, uncaring corporate entity. Somehow this concept of Microsoft, TriStar, Sony, insert your favorite here is more important than the average Joe who pays taxes (cannot afford the accountant to find every loop hole or does not have laws to protect one from taxation) and pays for the right to nothing when he pays his cable bill, buys a DVD, or installs Windows. Somehow, we in America have decided that everyone is a guilty pirate where digital media is concerned. It's sad.

-------------

I'm not looking for a free lunch; I just miss my fair use.

The Future? (5, Insightful)

gunnk (463227) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280534)

I'm not sure I see "the future of digital rights management" in this situation. The future IS that you will find more restrictions on what you can copy (barring court rulings that uphold consumer rights in the digital age). However, I think the idea that we won't ever be able to record any digital show (as seems to be suggested by this article) is a bit extreme. There are too many giant electronics companies that make big money off selling home video recorders -- they won't go quietly. Likewise, Joe Consumer WILL get up in arms if he can't record one football game on one channel while watching another on a second. Will we enjoy all the same freedoms that we currently enjoy? Doubtful. Will we find all our rights gone in the digital age? That's doubtful too.

The article points less to the future than to the present: software bugs keep people from being able to do what the set out to do. That's nothing new...

Re:The Future? (5, Insightful)

zaffir (546764) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280584)

I don't think one single PVR manufact has attempted to lobby against DRM requirements. Intel and AMD were certainly opposed to the SSSCA for a while, but now that they see a chance to make tons of cash on it, why should they? Remember, they've both signed on for MS's palladium, and they're two of the biggest forces in the tech industry. Everyone else seems to just not care.

Re:The Future? (2)

jandrese (485) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280697)

Heck, the PVR companies are the ones being sued. The problem is that the PVR companies (TiVO, Replay) are having enough trouble just keeping themselves afloat, they don't have the resources to go out and hire tons of lobbyists and a hoarde of lawyers to fight these issues. If you want to keep your TiVO or Replay, you're going to have to take up the fight yourself.

cablevision is horrible (1)

alexc (37361) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280536)

cablevision has always found ways to treating the customers like crap. This is just one example of this! They have been slow in providing broadband service.
i am going to shut up now

Famous Negro Inventions #17: the Flying Toilet (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280541)

NAIROBI (Reuters) Sept 5, 2002 - Martha Njoki jumped when she heard a thud on the corrugated iron roof of her shack. Seconds later, she was confronted with a familiar sight.

`I heard a bang on the roof, and when I went outside to look, I saw it was a plastic bag full of human waste,' she said, gesturing toward her dwelling in the slums of Nairobi. `You might just be relaxing in your house, then you hear a noise on your roof and someone has thrown a bag of sewage up there,' said Njoki, 27, wrinkling her nose with disgust.

There are only five toilets for the more than 2,000 people living in the slum known as Ghetto - a fetid labyrinth of claustrophobic dirt lanes and streams of stinking effluent.

For most people here, the flying toilets are the only way of answering nature's call: you simply use a plastic bag, then fling it as far out of sight as possible.

Walk into Ghetto, or any one of scores of slum settlements housing two million people in the Kenyan capital, and the scale of the task for one African city alone seems staggering. At almost every turn, a sickly sweet stench of urine wafts from between the huts. Barefoot children play by trenches frothing with scum. The edges are strewn with telltale bags.

`First thing in the morning, the flying toilets are rampant,' said Njoki, as a gaggle of other women in a courtyard nodded in agreement. `Sometimes you are walking down the path and you see human waste, people have just thrown it there.'

Consider that Njoki and her neighbors are just a handful of 2.4 billion people worldwide who lack access to decent sanitation, and the scale seems even more mind-boggling.

In Njoki's neighborhood, the only sign of hope comes not from the government - who consider much of the slums a virtual no-go zone - but from residents determined to help themselves. On the edge of the sea of rusting iron roofs stands the only public toilet around. Four women got together to build the facility three years ago - paying off their investment with the two shillings ($0.02) a time paid by 50 or so visitors each day. On Sundays, when the toilet attendants say many residents decide to treat themselves, the number of users rises to 100."

Re:Famous Negro Inventions #17: the Flying Toilet (-1, Offtopic)

hplasm (576983) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280574)

Bag of shit. (!)

heads up.

An explanation finally. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280545)


"He says rules are designed to reflect home use -- while addressing piracy fears that prevent Hollywood from releasing more high-quality content."

You see! I knew there was a reason Hollywood wasn't releasing high-quality content.

Re:An explanation finally. (1)

inflex (123318) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280674)

Does this mean that the higher-quality ones have plots, where's the standard ones just have lots of explosions, crying, shooting, sex or other such ?

Re:An explanation finally. (2)

Alsee (515537) | more than 11 years ago | (#4281012)

Does this mean that the higher-quality ones have plots, where's the standard ones just have lots of explosions, crying, shooting, sex or other such?

No, you have it backwards. Hollywood is expert at explosions and sex-scenes. It's crappy Hollywood plots that result in low-quality.

Hollywood's top quality contents is boobs, bullets, bomb-blasts, and totally plot-free.

-

Re:An explanation finally. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280837)

The problem is that when Hollywood says "high-quality content" what they really mean is "high-resolution content".

There's a reason that I don't go to the movies and it isn't because I'm downloading movies off the internet.

So long suckers!

Won't Affect us? (5, Insightful)

z_gringo (452163) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280552)

From the article:

``The content industry denies it will affect how consumers watch, enjoy and record television,'' said Kraus. ``

Isn't that exactly what the feature is designed to do? If it won't affect how we watch, enjoy and record television shows, then why did they invent it?

Yes, I know that the article goes on to say it is mainly for Pay-per view events and such, but it clearly has far wider potential, and it wouldn't have been designed this way if they didn't have the intention of using it to "Affect the way we watch, enjoy and record Telvision shows"..

High quality content (5, Funny)

Jerky McNaughty (1391) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280558)

From the article:
He says rules are designed to reflect home use -- while addressing piracy fears that prevent Hollywood from releasing more high-quality content.

High quality content... Not a whole lot of that seems to come out of Hollywood any more. Depending on how you interpret that quote, it could mean that Hollywood has generated all kinds of great, high quality stuff, but they just aren't releasing it because they're afraid of piracy. If that's true, then why generate the content in the first place? :-)

Re:High quality content (1)

Harold Kellogg (545723) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280585)

Gotta say that cablevision is notorious for stuff like this, but thats the reason they are only my i-net provider and I have the dishnetwork for tv

Re:High quality content (-1, Offtopic)

L1nUx h4x0r (574828) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280588)

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring was rather good, in my opinion.
As was Shrek...

Yes, there are a lot of lame movies. "Swim Fan", for example. There are some good ones though.

My favourite quote from the article (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280597)

He says rules are designed to reflect home use -- while addressing piracy fears that prevent Hollywood from releasing more high-quality content.

More high-quality content? You mean they actually produced anything worth watching in the last decade?

Re:My favourite quote from the article (2)

hyphz (179185) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280897)

Yea, it's silly.

If they make high-quality content, what are they going to do instead of releasing it? Leave the tapes in the warehouse? Even a cinema release has a piracy risk.

And if they don't make the content, what are they going to do instead? There won't be extra jobs suddenly springing up in the economy to accommodate them.

Go Michael... Go Michael... Go Michael.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280607)

Finally figured out how to post a story without adding your own opinion. Props to you my friend.

Re:Go Michael... Go Michael... Go Michael.. (-1)

Seth Finklestein (582901) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280649)

Dear concerned user:

I am writing an article for PC Magazine about Michael Sims. Is "turd-eater" one word or two?

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Seth Finklestein

Equal access rights (5, Interesting)

Bozovision (107228) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280608)

Perhaps the time has come for some sort of legal recognition of common access rights for some technologies...

- You don't have a conversation quota that you can't exceed.
- You aren't blocked from using the roads - there is open access to everyone.

That's because these are commons.

Perhaps, at some penetration point, there needs to be recognition that a technology forms a cultural commons and should be open to all without barriers.

In the same way that monopolies are regulated as a special case, perhaps it would be sensible to have a body of law governing the use of commons.
I would think it would need to:
- Guarantee access
- Prevent enclosure
- Promote innovation
- Provide for the designation of new commons

Lawrence Lessig are you reading this?

(Bozo's big thought for the day. Now back to work...)

Few Worries (2, Interesting)

meis31337 (574142) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280627)

First off, I think this is some frightening stuff here. The article quotes something along the lines of saying that this doesn't impede the home user, it is too prevent high-quality pirating of these works. This is ludicrous. What gives anyone the right to limit the quality at which I record stuff?? Why wouldn't I want to use Firewire if it brought me the best quality?? It is limiting and against my rights as a subscriber and consumer.

Secondly... I can't believe these things are in place already. I don't have Cablevision, I get ATT Digital Cable... but my service sucks. I don't even have digital capabilities coming out of the cable box. I have a crazy sound/video system, but I am stuck with composite video and stereo audio coming from an rca connection.... I get screwed like this and they have all this copyprotection up and running already? This is a damned injustice.

Well.. last time I checked.. (4, Insightful)

BigASS (153722) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280629)

"The future looks like the world where you press record and it doesn't work and you don't know why. You no longer control the media you pay for." - Some guy who can't record.

Well.. I hate to break it to this guy, but you've never _really_ controlled the media you pay for. Your only control is the very limited ones the media companies afford you under extremely narrow conditions. Step outside of the bounds of those conditions and you are now a pirate according to the powers that be.

Protection does not help... (1)

hatchet (528688) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280631)

All such restrictions are pointless. They only lower quality of their services for average users. (it's same with music CDs that are unplayable on PCs). It's obvious that if show can be watched, it can be recorded in same quality as well. Of course you need right equipment for that, and only people who will profit from recording of aired show will have it. They are doing right the opposite of what they intended, and they might lose customers because of that.

I've got a better idea (3, Insightful)

generic-man (33649) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280640)

Hey Cablevision! Before you start alienating your viewers with all this DRM hoo-hah, maybe you should consider letting them watch the Yankee games [yesnetwork.com] without going to a sports bar.

Cablevision has refused to carry the YES Network since the beginning of the season, resulting in many fans becoming pissed off and a booming demand for satellite service. And yet they still have the balls to run commercials saying how customers need crappy Long Island news channels [news12.com] and boring local programming [metro.tv] instead of a popular sports team.

If I end up living and working on Long Island, I'd consider Cablevision for their cable modem service alone. Give me a dish any day.

Re:I've got a better idea (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280817)

Cablevision has refused to carry the YES Network since the beginning of the season, resulting in many fans becoming pissed off and a booming demand for satellite service. And yet they still have the balls to run commercials saying how customers need crappy Long Island news channels [news12.com] and boring local programming [metro.tv] instead of a popular sports team.

As far as I am concerned Yankees fans can blow it out their ass. I am a Cablevision subscriber, and am definitely NOT a Yankees Fan. The concept of the YES network trying to force Cablevision to include their channel in the basic package thus making all subscribers, fans or not pay for it is ridiculous, and I support Cablevision's stand 100% on this issue. YES should be a premium channel that is paid for by the fans, not every subscriber.

Re:I've got a better idea (1)

WetCat (558132) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280973)

Actually ALL channels should be premium. Nobody should pay for the crap they don't want to see. For example the only channel I want to subscribe is Weather channel. I cannot do it without sponsoring Spanish channel and Sci-fi and CNN and...

I don't like it (1)

Fnagaton (580019) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280691)

If it ever gets to the stage where something I buy refuses to do what I want it to do then the time comes to stop buying stuff from the big companies. :) However saying that it won't happen, there will always be a market for mod-chips and the like to enable users to do what they want. Regardless of what digital rights management software/hardware is included. DVD players and games consoles are prime examples of the type of mod-chip market already present. Going back earlier in time Macro Vision blockers for your old VHS machine also exploited this kind of market need.

Re:I don't like it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280811)

But back then, the DMCA didn't exist, the EUCD didn't exist, all the other anti-circumvention laws being passed in pretty much every western "democracy" (and I use that word with reluctance)

Beak then you couldn't be sent to prison and have your arse fined off for even thinking about how to circumvent restrictions on your use of media.

Now, you can.

Recoup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280700)

I suppose Cablevision is already writing the 3 million checks for lost service? Rabbit ears won't be a possibility in the future, because the TV bands will be shifted out of the way to make room for 3G and Digital TV. Blocked TV I've paid for is still blocked.

DRM =! Digital Rights Management (5, Insightful)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280715)

Can we cut the crap here and start calling them Digital Restriction Mechanisms or something. If the whole of slashdot starts doing it, then maybe other sites/media will take it up. If anyone asks you what it stands for its not Rights Management, this is a cheap marketing tactic, dont let then get away with it.

This is pretty offtopic i know..

Re:DRM =! Digital Rights Management (3, Interesting)

Fly (18255) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280982)

I think DRRM, or Digital Rights Restrictions Management, is a more appropriate term. It addresses the fact that it involves the users' (which most people are rather than creators) rights, but only as a method of restricting them.

Re:DRM =! Digital Rights Management (4, Informative)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280985)

"Can we cut the crap here and start calling them Digital Restriction Mechanisms or something. If the whole of slashdot starts doing it, then maybe other sites/media will take it up. If anyone asks you what it stands for its not Rights Management, this is a cheap marketing tactic, dont let then get away with it."

THAT is one of the best comments on this I've ever seen... You are right. By calling DRM "Digital Rights MANAGEMENT" instead of "Digital Restrictions Mechanisms" we are OURSELVES aiding their marketing!

Wish I had mod points. And I will be using your name for DRM from now on.

Recording rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4280728)

Advocacy groups said the rollout of 5C's copy-protection scheme -- together with the entertainment industry's attempts to extend copy-protection to over-the-air television broadcasts -- are eroding home recording rights, with little consumer input.

What recording rights ?

Re:Recording rights? (2)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280851)

The ones granted to copy owners by copyright law and fair use, confirmed in a string of cases starting with (for video) Sony v. Betamax.

Re:Recording rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4281031)

Yes, you have the right to record if the signal is recordable.

However, if I make it so it cannot be recorded, I'm not violating any of your rights.

There's a huge distinction. Home recording rights are not being eroded.

Such time... (1)

gleffler (540281) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280736)

"Cablevision said it is scrambling to eradicate the bug, identified three weeks ago."

Wow, only 3 weeks to turn off a flag on the boxes. Already I'm impressed with the quality of their engineering.

Buy what you want. (2)

nuggz (69912) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280746)

If you want something pay for it.
If what you are paying for doesn't provide what you want, stop buying it.

People complain they can't do this, they can't do that, and that their provider for service X doesn't do or permit action Y.

Well fine, either don't use that provider, someone is willing to provide almost any service for a price. Pick your service, pick your price, you might get it you might not, if you can't afford it, that is your problem.

Services for sale, heavily restricted internet access (ie library). Unrestricted internet access dedicate (personal T1).
You could view a movie (rental/cable).
If you pay enough you can buy the rights to a movie including distribution, but sadly most people don't think it is worth the money, so they dont' buy it.

This is a free market, you are free to buy their service or not buy their service. If you don't like it too bad.

PR spin.. (4, Insightful)

nolife (233813) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280893)

Cablevision says it does not prevent recording on more familiar consumer devices, such as a videocassette recorder or a Tivo-like digital video recorder

Really means.. Oh the analog hole and the Tivo that we don't have control over (yet). If they could take it away they would take it away. I suppose Macrovision might accidently slip its way into the cable lines next. This is a perfect example of what rights you are losing due to the media cartels. What are your advantages to using this?

He says rules are designed to reflect home use -- while addressing piracy fears that prevent Hollywood from releasing more high-quality content

Another twisted comment. So I guess for the last 20+ years that the VCR has been around, Hollywood has been holding off on quality content because they knew it would be copied. Now that there is suddenly a chance of controlling it, the really good actors and directors that were "holding out" are going to start making shows. I do not foresee any change of the quality of programming based on this.

And the movie studios and broadcasters ultimately get to decide what shows to protect

If this concept is FULLY explained to the potential consumer and not hidden as a footnote on page 25 it will not sell! Why would you pay hundreds of dollars for a piece of equipment that has a strong chance of not recording what you really want to record in high quality digital?

The critical point (5, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280918)

There's one point the DRM opponents should be harping on here. The industry has claimed that there's provisions in the systems that insure fair-use rights can't be restricted. The 5C rep says the same in the article. Yet, here we have it, those rights that were supposedly protected were shut down completely at the accidental flip of a switch. DRM opponents should drive home the fact that this shows that those provisions aren't any insurance that fair-use rights can't be interfered with, they're merely a promise by the industry that while they can shut down fair use any time they want they won't actually do it. If they decide to go back on that promise, maybe because a major studio decided to twist their arms, the people affected have no recourse and no way to recover their fair-use rights.

Keep hammering home that point.

What should anger people (5, Insightful)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280922)

Isn't that this happened. IT's that "digital" technology as it's been implimented has been done in such a way as to KEEP any control from the consumer.

With an analog cable TV, an analog VCR can be used to record anything from it you want.

Not so with digital. I believe it's unethical to sell something to someone and then tell them how they can use it AFTER the sale...

Frankly, if we ever have a chance to wake up rageing hordes to burn down the offices of Jack Valenti and Hillary Rosen, the two individuals we have to thank for the fact that DTV has been implimented in this way, it will be the day that Joe Blow can't record a show or movie from TV.

This is a "right" that most people have enjoyed since the 1980's. It's something nearly everyone has done, even the most nontechnical. Once taken away, they WILL react.

FYI (1)

thoolie (442789) | more than 11 years ago | (#4280939)

If you split your cable off from you cable modem befor it connects, and plug it into your television, you can (9 times out of 10) get cable tv for free. So buy that cable internet and then just splice away...you get all the stations that are offered over the old analog lines (a lot of the companies are going to digital). So giver her a shot! (the only reason i know this is because he had the cable guy come over to install internet and he TOLD us about it ;-)

Cancel your subscription (2, Insightful)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 11 years ago | (#4281007)

I recently (May 2002) moved into a house from an apartment. I had to obviously disconnect my cable, and I thought that I'd not hook it up at the house for the first couple of months until the bills settle a bit. I haven't hooked it up yet, and you know why? I totally do not miss it. I can get my news on the web, and download episodes of shows I used to enjoy watching on TV (Futurama, Stargate, etc) then burn them to VCD and play them on my DVD player. Four months TV free, and not missing it! I have more time to get caught up on some books I've been meaning to get into, work on my website, hang out with friends and family. I find my evenings aren't as "short" as before, since I'm not sitting zombie-esque in front of the TV for hours, with the exception of watching a DVD or messing around on my PS2.

Anyway, that's been my experience, I'm no longer paying $45 CAN for crummy service and only about 5 channels of worthwhile content in a 100.

Since when.... (2)

Darkninja666 (198306) | more than 11 years ago | (#4281049)

Since when did it become that the consitution guarantees "...life,liberty, the pursuit of happyiness, and Hollywood producing content."
I mean, when did it become that we HAVE to make sure Hollywood push out more crap. With a notable few exceptions, would our lives be any different without the hordes of movies that see how many cars can blow up, or how many people can be killed with a soup spoon. Or without the billions of recordings of the Backstreet boys.

Every time I read about why some company is putting in DRM (Digital Rape Mechanism), they reason it out saying so Hollywood can give us high-quality content. BAH! That is the biggest load of crap there is....enough ranting, haven't had my coffee yet....

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