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FCC Considers Mandating HDTV Copy Protection

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the pay-to-play dept.

Television 421

HeavenlyWhistler writes "The Washington Post reports that the FCC will make a ruling this month on whether or not to mandate that all HDTV receivers implement copy protection when a 'broadcast flag' is detected in the received television signal. Movie and TV studios are pushing for this in an attempt to limit consumers' home-recording rights. An October 8 article states that CBS, under orders from Viacom CEO Mel Karmazin, has threatened to stop all HDTV broadcasts unless the broadcast flag is approved. While the comment period on the proposal (Docket 02-230) is over, the FCC web site will still let you submit comments. The EFF also discusses this issue."

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421 comments

frosty piss (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238340)

frosty piss!!! Oooh yeah!

BE A GOOD LUCK TROLL! FUCK JON KATZ!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238468)

Do you want good luck to follow you and your offspring for geneations to come? This troll has the solution for you...

All you have to do is copy this troll onto two to four of the discussion threads of your choice! That's right! Just copy this into a new message and click "post anonymously." That's all there is to it! *

Tired of that idiot talking about geek culture! Stick one of these babies on it! And it's good for the economy!

Marge Gentry of Cambridge, Minnesota participated, and the next day she received a large fruit basket outside of her door from a secret admirer. Unfortunately, Marge was hit by a truck the next day, so she didn't get to the Granny Smith apples.

Commander Taco of Hole-in-the-ground West Virginia didn't participate, and he was violated by a group of raging homosexuals. Since the gang was headed by Jon Katz, Taco had no recourse to the law because the entire town knew about their previous relationship. The unfortunate outcome is enshrined forever at goatse.cx.

So if you want to get the fruit basket and not get poked in the bread basket, just copy this troll onto two of the discussions threads of your choice. We could have this place blanketed by sundown!

Ladies and gentlemen ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238500)

... I'd like to introduce you to the star of the show, Lawrence Goatse [lawrencegoetz.com]! Thank you!

Good (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238347)

Sounds good to me. The only people who have a problem with this are people who steal, which is most likely people who are unemployed, which is most likely Linux users (i.e. YOU)

Again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238359)

Copyright violation is NOT theft so get over it.

The rest of your statement is just proof of how ignorant you are.

Re:Again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238382)

The rest of your statement is just proof of how ignorant you are.

Not really, he's just a regular troll.

Re:Good (1)

Alphi1 (557250) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238363)

Sounds good to me. The only people who have a problem with this are people who steal, which is most likely people who are unemployed, which is most likely Linux users (i.e. YOU)

Just wait until they decide to use the "broadcast bit" to no longer allow people to record shows off of TV (after all, when people record shows, they then have the ability to fast-forward or even skip the commercials).

Not only that, but the broadcast networks have known for a long time that certain nights/times are better timeslots than others. If people start consistantly recording shows (either via a DVR like Tivo or the equivalent of HDTV VCRs), they might just watch a show in OTHER than their intended timeslot! [gasp!]

Re:Good (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238415)

Not only that, but the broadcast networks have known for a long time that certain nights/times are better timeslots than others

Someone I work with has 2 VCRs setup at home to record different channels at 8PM on Wednesday nite, so he can watch a 3rd channel without missing the shows on the other 2.

On the other hand, Thursday nites after 9 or so there's nothing to watch unless you like CSI. Tuesday nites seem pretty slow at the moment, too. Guess that's why I've got games to play ;)

As far as I'm concerned, let CBS take their crap off the air. The FCC is supposed to be forcing non-HDTV signals off the air eventually anyway, so they can take their pick. If the FCC mandates the copy flag being honoured, then the courts should overturn it on the same grounds as were used for the Home Recording Act and other protections of consumers' ability to time-shift and share music and video. Just because your content and our recordings are 'digital' or 'high-quality' doesn't mean that anything's changed. The VCR was going to ruin these guys, too, but now they're selling the shows on VHS and DVD and raking in even more cash.

Re:Good (Good? BS!!!) (2, Interesting)

hermango (619774) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238390)

Considering the fact that I have a lot of stuff that I record during the day to scan through at night and that if I can't record stuff then I won't ever see it at all and that I've been doing this for years, what is it now that has their drawers kinked? Well, exactly what it is is pay-per-view, total control, forever and ever, which is what they've been trying to get since the VCR was invented. So CBS is going to stop transmitting in HDTV, let them! Matter of fact, let them ALL stop transmitting in HDTV! Then watch as the Congress, after being attacked by a few million of the voters, tells CBS to transmit in HDTV or go out of business! If they can't provide an HDTV signal, then the stations that are affiliated with CBS can't transmit the signal, hence zero revenue for CBS and ASL of pissed-off viewers! They want hard-ball, then they'll get hard-ball!

Recurse this bitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238531)

Don't worry, I'll fix your sink. And by "fix your sink" I mean I'll have sex with you. And by "have sex with you" I mean I'll fix your sink. And by "sink" I mean your reproductive organ. And by "reproductive organ" I mean that thing between your knees. And by "that thing between your knees" I mean... well that one's pretty self-explanatory.

So...wait.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238348)

I can't go out and look for it (over the net), that's bad. Now I can't even keep it if they send it out to me?

Re:So...wait.... (2, Insightful)

LordBodak (561365) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238405)

This is a really good point. The public airwaves are just that, public airwaves. Of course the networks do have the right to encrypt things however they want. We, in turn, have the right to not watch.

The industry doesn't see how stupid this is. Many shows get popular _because_ people tape them and trade tapes. Many other shows are on in terrible time slots, but thanks to VCRs, they get viewers.

I would guess that half of daytime TV viewers watch it by taping it and watching later.

Silly? (1)

Manes (17325) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238351)

Wouldn't this be ridiculously easy to overcome with a gizmo that just filters out the broadcast bit?

Re:Silly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238361)

The problem is not that such a gizmo might be trivial (it may or may not), but that such a gizmo would be illegal to distribute.

Yes, this is targeted at casual users.

Re:Silly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238365)

Why should we be forced to become criminals, just to keep doing something that we've been able to do legit for years? The networks are now building DVD sales into their business plans, and will do everything they can to maximize that revenue stream. We'll lose again because most people don't understand what's at stake, and by the time they do, it's to late.
DMCA

Re:Silly? (1)

evenmoreconfused (451154) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238502)

Why should we be forced to become criminals, just to keep doing something that we've been able to do legit for years?

That's what everyone always says when society changes the rules (purportedly for the common good). It's exactly what the Germans say about imposing speed limits on the Autobahns.

Re:Silly? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238534)

In England, the government taxes you to watch TV. If you don't pay the tax, you go to jail.

And the 'tax'.. (1)

Channard (693317) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238547)

.. or licence fee goes mainly to BBC1, the non-advertising supported channel. If you wanted to watch the advertising supported channels only, you still have to pay the licence fee.

Re:Silly? (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238569)

Not true. They tax you for owning a TV, whether you watch it (and what you watch) is irrelevant. And every time I visit the US and watch what passes for quality broadcasting there, I thank Christ for the BBC.

Re:Silly? (1)

localghost (659616) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238414)

Lawmakers tend to have this belief that simply by passing legislation, technology can be made to do everything they want it to, and nothing they don't want it to. Somebody will point out to them that it would be impossible to enforce a law like this, and it will be the last we hear of it.

Re:Silly? (1)

larien (5608) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238477)

Somebody will point out to them that it would be impossible to enforce a law like this, and it will be the last we hear of it.
Unless that "somebody" comes with a sufficiently large bribe, sorry, 'campaign contribution', they are likely to be ignored in favour of big businesses.

Hopefully common sense will win out, but I'm not too hopeful.

Re:Silly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238504)

"Wouldn't this be ridiculously easy to overcome with a gizmo that just filters out the broadcast bit? "

I'm sure the likes of Lik Sang are already makeing the appropriate changes to their website and database. What do you reckon? Something like:

HDTV DEFLAGGER $130 PLUS SHIPPING

I only watch stuff I can video. I don't watch adverts - so if there's a film I want to see on a commercial channel I tape it and skip through them. I'd watch even less tv/ads than I already see if I couldn't do this. Even with people who don't have a problem wasting 10-13 mins per hour watching people attempt to sell them cars or razor blades or whatever will probably watch less commercials so in the end its the tv stations who will suffer when the advertisers realise that people won't be able to tape and rewatch films (and adverts).

let them try (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238353)

broadcast_flag = broadcast_flag & 0 ;

woohoo..so much for broadcast flags

Re:let them try (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238549)

Of course, your post is illegal under the DMCA and could result in Slashdot getting taken offline permanently.

Wait, would that be such a bad thing?

does not matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238354)

since most of the crap on television is not worth watching anyway i wont be buying a HDTV, and continue using my $99 dollar RCA from walmart for catching local news, if i want to watch a good movie i rent or buy a DVD...

Re:does not matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238544)

Honestly, what difference will this make in life? The studios want to take their ball back if we don't play by their rules. So what, their ball is crap anyway.

Re:does not matter (1)

wraith0x29a (565168) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238575)

This is what I do too. TV is so banal, populist and trivial now it's a waste of time even switching it on. Unfortunately the mass-media industry seems to be heading for a pay-to-play model. I suspect that soon they will be pushing for disposable one-use DVDs and broadband pay-per-view so they can wring the last drop of blood from their customers.

Brilliant idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238357)

This will really push HDTV - paying more for less? Hey, RIAA does this with CDs too and it works great, doesn't it?

CBS get Ready for less viewing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238362)

If this goes through, I for one will watch just enough of CBS to find out who advertises with them, and then write each advertiser, saying that I will never buy anything from them while they buy ad space from such dorks.

It is not worth the time to write to CBS, just hit them where it hurts, in ad revenues.

Why do any recording at all? (1)

lennart78 (515598) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238372)

If a movie is shown on a television station, it is interupted every 30 minutes (in Europe, maybe the US is even worse?) for a shitload of commercials. If I really want to enjoy a movie, I wouldn't record it from tv, but I would rent a DVD, for which I pay about the same price as I would for a DVD-R in the near future.

Same goes for most shows that could be of any interest to me (although I can't rent those on DVD).

Re:Why do any recording at all? (1)

sydbarrett74 (74307) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238403)

The US is worse. On average, a movie being aired will be interrupted every 18 minutes. In fact, I took a mass comm. class, and the statistic is that for every hour of broadcasting, 22 minutes consists of commercials. As a contrast, from 1948 (when TV first started being broadcast on a regular basis after WWII) until the last 1980's, for every hour of broadcasting, only 12 minutes consisted of commercials. I think what's at fault is that instead of Madison Avenue delivering a poignant, succinct message in 30 seconds, every commercial has to be a 'production' with bells and whistles, flash and glam. It'll get to the point where we say, 'Would you like a show with that commercial?' It's kind of like hockey games: 'I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.'

Re:Why do any recording at all? (2, Interesting)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238450)

Why do people even bother watching TV with that many adverts? 22 minutes per hour is insane. I find the 7.5 minutes allowed here (UK, terrestrial stations) annoying enough.
If people are prepared to put up with that much crap to watch tv, maybe they'll just accept not being able to record it too.

Re:Why do any recording at all? (1)

lennart78 (515598) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238488)

in .nl, we have 3 'public' channels. They are government-funded, and are obliged to show a minimum amount of certain types of content, like cultural reports, documentaries, so it's not only soap-opera's, sports and the worst excesses of 'reality television'.
These channels have a relatively low amount of commercials, will show an entire movie uninterrupted, and do occaisionally even show something worth watching.

The maximum amount of television I've seen uninterrupted at a commercial station is 45 minutes, the length of 1 half of a soccer game. They haven't had the guts to interrupt that yet...

Re:Why do any recording at all? (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238553)

Why do people even bother watching TV with that many adverts? 22 minutes per hour is insane. I find the 7.5 minutes allowed here (UK, terrestrial stations) annoying enough.

If you have a US produced "hour long" programme then there is only actually 42-43 minutes of content. So it's a choice between either a 50 minute slot and the 7.5 minutes of adverts. Or an hour long slot including, in addition, 10 minutes of station promotion and trailers.

Re:Why do any recording at all? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238510)

Wow...in Finland, we usually have one commercial break during a half-hour show, two during an hour-long one...I'm not sure how many during movies, but the first break is usually 45 minutes into the movie.

On some channels, there are so few commercials that we actually show US "hour-long" TV shows in 45 minutes.

Re:Why do any recording at all? (1)

nilenico (688350) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238546)

> On some channels, there are so few commercials that we actually show US "hour-long" TV shows in 45 minutes.

Yeah, in Norway, on the public service channel (NRK) that shows "The West Wing", each episode is 42-43 minutes.
Ditto in Sweden.

Also very interesting when watching "24". Even though it's shown on a commercial channel, with breaks, there are a lot less than in the US, so that every now and then, the time within the show suddenly accelerates... :)

24 - er, 23, no, wait a second.. (1)

Channard (693317) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238562)

Also very interesting when watching "24". Even though it's shown on a commercial channel, with breaks, there are a lot less than in the US, so that every now and then, the time within the show suddenly accelerates... :)

More so in the UK - where it's shown on BBC2, which has no commercial breaks. It also seems somewhat short sighted given that the show ends up being released on DVD too.

Re:Why do any recording at all? (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238568)

On some channels, there are so few commercials that we actually show US "hour-long" TV shows in 45 minutes.

Which is the same timeslot the, commercial free, BBC allocates for such programmes. With around 2.5 minutes left for trailers and self promotion.

Re:Why do any recording at all? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238424)

If a movie is shown on a television station, it is interupted every 30 minutes

Yes, but it's incredibly satisfying to fast-forward through the commercials.

Plus, you can pause & go to the bathroom when you want.

PVRs, obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238474)

Just because you lack a TiVO doesn't mean the FCC can't punish everyone else for using one.

This is not just about IP piracy in the common sense, it's also about stopping people from fast forwarding through commercials.

Re:Why do any recording at all? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238582)

as somebody already pointed out(got no mod), most of the real reason is that when you record you can just skip the commercials(and don't need to wait and watch the rerun).

however.. such disabling of recording(artificially) is just decreasing the value of the said service on purpose, and that just sucks(i for one don't like to buy devices that are purposedly made to suck).

anyways.. give it few years for boxes that record it anyways, regardless of the flag, if this passes through(most dvd players seem reg free nowadays..).

fuddles.con considers making /. #1 FUDgeSpreader (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238374)

that's right. in case you haveN'T noticed, they're joined at the hype, buy phonIE ?pr? ?firm? scriptdead stock markup execrable.

only storIEs that matter to phonIE greed/fear based FUDgePackers, & their current/potentshill payper liesense hostages, from now on?

remember the register uk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238453)

sure enough, they were the most honest critics of EVERYBODY. now, just more&more carefuLLie wordead ?pr? ?firm? FUDgePacking.

r.i.p.

Re:remember the register uk? (0)

instanto (513362) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238550)

Is this some sort of al quaida code being spread using slashdot?

Or does'nt my screen render all characters correctly?

your incomprehensible drivel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238497)

If only you had an account so I could make you one of my foes...

won 'man's' drivel... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238541)

is another won's chortle. fud on. nothing to be so upset about? we're way high on robbIE's enemIE's list, since we debunked the MiSuse of va lairIE's whoreabully infactdead PostBlock(tm) devise.

These people really don't get it. (4, Insightful)

salesgeek (263995) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238377)

RIAA, MPAA, now the broadcast TV industry really just don't get it: the purpose of all this digital technology is to lower the marginal cost of copying and editing information. Every copy protection scheme is doomed to fail, even in a "trusted" computing environment. At the end of the day, it's all binary data and it costs NOTHING to reproduce it. If anything, the media should be embedding advertising and so on so they can sell commercial time on the traded files. It's an opportunity.

Incidentally, there would be substantially less file swapping going on of TV shows if the networks made them available on DVD or electronically. I'd love to be able to go FOX and buy the episode of the Futurama I missed the other night for a reasonable - considering it was free on the air price.

I hope congress and the FCC see Viacom's threat to halt HDTV broadcast for what it is: an attempt to ursurp the governement's power. In fact, I hope we all wise up to the increasing granularity of intellectual property and reverse that trend. At the end of the day, the people will wise up to it and the people absolutely will limit intellectual property rights.

Re:These people really don't get it. (2, Insightful)

palutke (58340) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238402)

I hope congress and the FCC see Viacom's threat to halt HDTV broadcast for what it is: an attempt to ursurp the governement's power.

The government's power comes from the people (at least in theory), and cannot be usurped. If the people decide that copy-protected HDTV isn't acceptable, even a crooked regulatory agency can't make them purchase the receivers in question.

As always, voting with our wallets is our last (and in this case, maybe only) resort.

Re:These people really don't get it. (2, Informative)

mpe (36238) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238449)

Incidentally, there would be substantially less file swapping going on of TV shows if the networks made them available on DVD or electronically.

As well as episodes being broadcast everywhere at the same time (or at least within 24-36 hours). Thing is that US broadcasters would have to start following the rest of the world and broadcast series in order.

I'd love to be able to go FOX and buy the episode of the Futurama I missed the other night for a reasonable - considering it was free on the air price.

Region 1 tends to be last for getting TV series on DVD. Especially those originally produced for the North American market. Because US broadcasters have a well organised system for repeat showings, the rest of the world's broadcasters do not.

Re:Actually I don't think... (0)

botzi (673768) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238473)

...personal recordings are what they're after. The fact is I'm getting almost all the TV shows I can't watch in Europe(and I'm interested in) from Bittorent, and for the last 6 months 90% of them were excellent HDTV encodings. Even if it is doubtful that exactly the p2p networks are the reason for such measures, I really think that illegal distributions may be on the top of it as they prefer to deal with it now rather than later.......

Re:These people really don't get it. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238480)

"I'd love to be able to go FOX and buy the episode of the Futurama I missed the other night for a reasonable - considering it was free on the air price."

It wasn't free. It's just that it wasn't you who paid for it.

Re:These people really don't get it. (1)

Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238552)

"I hope congress and the FCC see Viacom's threat to halt HDTV broadcast for what it is: an attempt to ursurp the governement's power."

In fact, given the existing mandated shift to HDTV, I hope that the FCC will see such a threat as "willful non-compliance" and, if Viacom follows through on the threat, the FCC should pull the plug on them entirely, and Fine Mr Kazarian very heavily.

In the US, if the FCC says you don't broadcast (because you broke the rules), that's the end of the discussion.

Wont change a thing (5, Interesting)

DaHat (247651) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238381)

I've spent the last 6 months working with professional and broadcast level digital tv encoders and decoders, even writing a fair amount of software on both sides. This flag is pretty pointless, and is often a laugh when discussed at work.

With the hardware we build and work with, the sort which a broadcaster would use to both create and monitor their transport stream, the ability is needed to record and play back at will, thus, such a flag would pretty much be ignored by our systems if implemented. Besides, if you end up modifying the ATSC standard, in order to prevent breaking all previous encoders/decoders on the market, you would need to make such modifications to portions of the stream which are unused, and existing off the shelf parts would ignore such a modification. Thus, the protection starts off ineffective.

Even after the existing non compliant decoders/recorders/etc on the market are retired to due age or death, newer hardware which ignores such protections would still be available, you'd just have to pay a fair amount.

What's on my Christmas list this year? A DTV decoder as well as a recorder/player unit, cost for both? About 15k. As sad is it is to ask, how important is your right to copy to you? Is it work 15 thousand dollars?

Re:Wont change a thing (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238478)

I've spent the last 6 months working with professional and broadcast level digital tv encoders and decoders, even writing a fair amount of software on both sides. This flag is pretty pointless, and is often a laugh when discussed at work.
With the hardware we build and work with, the sort which a broadcaster would use to both create and monitor their transport stream, the ability is needed to record and play back at will, thus, such a flag would pretty much be ignored by our systems if implemented.


Of course, TV station employees are never the source of any of the files on filesharing systems...

Re:Wont change a thing (2, Insightful)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238513)

Not to mention the fact that you create a situation where a pirated copy of a show off the Internet is more useful than the official broadcast version.

These days lots of people download cracks to games they legally own just to get around the hassle of digging out the CD every time they play it.

No matter what happens, somebody will always be able to pirate the data stream, and only one person has to leak it for it to get spread all over the Internet. The TV broadcasters make their money when a show is first aired, and they make it with the convience factor. The VCR didn't kill TV, and the DVD+/-R(W)(AM) won't kill HDTV either. However, making all your early adopters toss their hardware just might.

Hah (1)

rumpledstiltskin (528544) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238383)

If CBS stops broadcasting hdtv signals they'll have a nasty surprise when the FCC revokes the rights of broadcasters to use the regular spectrum they're using now.

Yeah right (2, Insightful)

Effugas (2378) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238384)

Stop the HDTV push?

And give up all that money from spectrum allocation and sales?

Sorry, can't stop laughing. Um no.

--Dan

Broadcast flag, aka... (2, Funny)

arvindn (542080) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238386)

Evil bit. And we all thought it was just a harmless April fools' joke. :-P

RFC3514 Compliance (1, Funny)

worst_name_ever (633374) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238387)

FCC sources have also revealed a last-minute amendment to the proposed ruling which would require all HDTV broadcasts to comply with RFC3514 [ietf.org].

HDTV? Why even bother. (1)

portnux (630256) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238389)

Sounds like just another reason to stick with the tvs I already have. What the hay, they all look just fine to me anyway. Especially when viewing DVDs.

TV? What's that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238393)

Just turn the dumb TV off and do something else. While I still buy DVDs, I disconnected my cable three years ago and have never regretted the move.

Re:TV? What's that? (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238537)

I almost agree. Where I live I can't get DSL, so I use cable modem. The only channels I watch are Discovery, History, and Learning (feel free to pre/append the appropriate "The" and "Channel"), with an occasional stint on PBS and AandE (breakfast with the arts). Everything on network and syndication is crap. The laughable part is they want to protect crap.

Like the old saying goes, if you polish a turd...

Why has been the parent modded down? (1)

skandalfo (623756) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238573)

I have the same oppinion on TV emmissions today as the author of the parent post. In my country (Spain) watching TV is a good way to dumbify yourself or to succumb to the 15 minutes-commercials hypnosis.

If most of the people didn't resign themselves to the low quality and lack of imagination of the broadcasted media and got some other entertainment, things could change.

And I mean things changing in the media. The law of offer and demand would apply, so that the media would have to re-attract their consumers by offering new quality in their products.

However lots people (at least in my country) simply sits down watching whatever they show on the TV set because that's easier than thinking for a while in order to get themselves some proper entertainment. This way, indeed, demand is assured, and the media don't have to work hard at all. Here in Spain each channel only barely tries to marginally surpass each other's rubbish, standardizing on the lowest common denominator.

I guess lots of people will continue to consume that rubbish, even if the offered quality further decreases by means of annoying technical restrictions (stupid or not) to the use of the contents.

If people never react to this gradual degradation of their lives, then they truly deserve it.

The parent post may be seen as a righteous and sensible way to encourage those trying to impose new limitations to drop them. Worse goods should get less demand for them, not increased benefits to the "seller" (be the "purchaser" the TV watcher or the advertisement contractor).

And so... On what basis has the parent post been modded down? Perhaps because it's untechnical (Hey! It's a bit! Let's flip it!)? Perhaps because the moderator actually depends on watching TV for entertainment? I actually would like some enlightenment on this.

Okay... (1)

tomknight (190939) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238397)

...sounds fair enough really.

Really, I have no problem with this!
If you really want to enjoy a movie repeatedly, you can rent/buy the DVD. If you really want to watch an episode of a soap that you might otherwise miss, you can still use a VCR ro record it.

As it happens, I don't actually have a TV ;-)

Tom.

REALLY Simple Explanation (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238490)

Pay per view is sucking wind... People do not subscribe to it. What people subscribe to is pay TV like movie channels. (As I do as well). Well, based on these movie channels every now and then I record the movie on my VCR for later viewing.

As a result I have the flexibility of Pay per view, but pay only a MUCH lower monthly fee. Adding this "Do not record" bit the broadcasters are forcing people to get pay per view, since PPV can be anytime.

Will it work? Not a chance as I will be taking those little cables that come out of the back and using it to record my VCR.

There is another reason why this happens. There are too many actors who get paid too much and too few of spreading of the wealth. Not to say that actore should not be paid, but there are limits...

Another failed business model? (1)

Jumper99 (51637) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238406)

So if they send a regular signal over the air, or through traditional cable services they don't have a problem with people recording the shows to watch later. If it's in the HDTV format though, you are not allowed to record it.

Can someone here please explain why HDTV content needs so much more protection? Is the format really that superior to regular TV? I'm not an audio or video expert and don't own a HDTV system so I don't know how great the difference may be.

Won't affect most of us (1)

Vic Metcalfe (355) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238407)

The rule would not affect consumers who record shows the old-fashioned way, with VCRs. Nor would it affect programming received on a cable or satellite system, in part because consumers pay for that content.

I was worried I wouldn't be able to use my PVR to time shift, but it looks like this won't change a thing except for those who are picking up the free to air signal. I'm still against this on principal, but at least it wouldn't affect me (or most of us I would think) since I subscribe to satellite.

Re:Won't affect most of us - Think again (1)

liam193 (571414) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238496)

The rule would not affect consumers who record shows the old-fashioned way, with VCRs. Nor would it affect programming received on a cable or satellite system, in part because consumers pay for that content.


I was worried I wouldn't be able to use my PVR to time shift, but it looks like this won't change a thing except for those who are picking up the free to air signal. I'm still against this on principal, but at least it wouldn't affect me (or most of us I would think) since I subscribe to satellite.



I assume the point here is that the information telling the equipment to not allow recording would be sent by the TV stations over the airwaves and would not be included in the signal from the cable and satellite providers. I think that believing this to be true is rather short-sighted. When those providers realize that everyone's equipment has the ability to turn off the ability to record a program, you will see them sending it on programming and then working out deals with the content providers to allow them to offer pay-per-view services that do the timeshifting for you (of course at a cost to you).

For example: Suppose I am a cable provider. I know that a particular show is getting great ratings. I do the following:

  1. Implement the necessary equipment to allow me to do the timeshifting (either via a pay-per-view channel or even better yet by making my set-top boxes be a DVR that I control).
  2. Contact the producers, etc. and get permission to do the "re-airing" of the program (probably will have to pay a royalty, but both of us make money off this plan... so...)
  3. Begin charging my subscribers a premium pay-per-view charge for the service of watching the show at an off-schedule time.

Don't be fooled into believing it won't be used for something that wasn't indicated at this time.

The mix up with HDTV and DTV (1)

Masem (1171) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238409)

I know I read elsewhere that the FCC had previously rules that *digitial* TV (DTV) signals must have minimum recording rules (see this article [bayarea.com] for example). These specifically allow at least one time recording of a DTV signal for personal use. Yet, HDTV (high definition TV) may have difference restrictions? This seems really odd, and part of the problem is the slow process of implementing two different but new standards at the same time. I believe that HDTV will be carried by DTV in the FCC vision of things to come, so I would expect DTV rules to carry more weight than the HDTV rules.

Not on ourside (0)

Ozor (592387) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238419)

Doesn't anyone know that the FCC is not on the public's side anymore. They even stopped regulating cable companies in 1999. I sent a letter complaining to the FCC about Comcast cable charging twice for channels when you purchase there digital package. You still have to pay for the standard package which have an overlap of 97 channels that your paying twice for. Do a google search to see who is in charge of the FCC and you'll get my point.

What it is really about.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238423)

It is about advertising, With advertisements increasing more and more people are using their VCRs and TVio sets to skip over the adds. Why should I watch a programmed one hour time slot when I can see it in 30 minutes or less?

I don't think the advertising networks have realised it, but they have hit market saturation with advertising. For example, I now get the majority of my news from the internet. It is faster and more condensed as I don't have to wait 5 minutes to hear what I want or a droids opinioon as filler.

For many of us, this is why we do not yet own DVDs or HDTV... you only wonder if for a premium price your paying to have them control your viewing habits...

A constructive move would be to pay for a specific show, no advertising and low rates. This way the 140 channels on my 150 channel cable feed could go dead.

Re:What it is really about.. (1)

Kyrthira (666470) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238556)

With advertisements increasing more and more people are using their VCRs and TVio sets to skip over the adds.

People have been doing this for years, with VCR's on TV and audio tapes for radio. I've used both. Quite handy, really, although quality radio broadcasts are depressingly hard to find except for on NPR.

send a fax from the eff (1)

capoccia (312092) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238429)

send a fax from the eff's action center [eff.org].
Hollywood is at it again, trying to control the design of new digital technologies. If the motion picture studios have their way, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will force all future televisions to include Hollywood-approved "content protection" technologies. Fair use, innovation and competition will suffer. What's more, the "broadcast flag" technology that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has proposed is so weak that it will do nothing to stem Internet redistribution of television programs. In fact, the only people hurt by this are legitimate consumers, innovators and researchers.


The FCC has promised a ruling before the end of October. We need you to tell the FCC that we don't need "broadcast flag" regulations that hurt competition, consumers and innovators.

It's gonna be IP anyway (1)

lennart78 (515598) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238430)

HDTV is hardly 'real' nowadays, it's still a long way from being adopted by the public. Especially with a medium as widely spread as television, it's going to take years of broadcasting 'old' television signals to provide backwards compatability, so your mother and your grandma can still watch television the way they're used to do.
I think it's a reasonable guess to say that plain old television will stick around for another 10 to 15 years. (Or, as long as modern televisions continue to live...)

In about 10 year, the use of really broadband (I think in the order of a 10 Mbit symmetrical connection) Internet will have become a lot more widespread. Broadcasters will in that timespan have adopted the Internet as a broadcast medium. I will probably classify as an 'early adopter', but the moment I can watch television over the Internet, I will cancel my cableTV subscription...

What are the chances of HDTV beating Internet based TV-broadcasts to the proverbial cookie-jar?

Good for CBS. Who cares? (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238431)

An October 8 article states that CBS, under orders from Viacom CEO Mel Karmazin, has threatened to stop all HDTV broadcasts unless the broadcast flag is approved.

Who gives a crap? Oh, that's right, the 10 people with HDTV sets. What a shame, they won't be able to watch The King of Queens in HDTV. Watch as those 10 HDTV owners switch to the remaining HDTV programming.

While the comment period on the proposal (Docket 02-230) is over, the FCC web site will still let you submit comments

Yeah, because, after all, the FCC really paid attention to the hundreds of thousands of people who wrote them about media consolidation. And of course the FCC listened when we complained about the changes to rules for 3rd-party access to cable internet networks, and about the attempts by internet providers to reclassify internet services as "information" services so they can weasel out of a shitload of regulations.

Let's face it- Powell and his cronies do whatever the fuck they want to. Correction- whatever the media companies want them to do.

Sounds like a good idea to me (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238442)

What better way to kill television than to return it to the stone ages without improving the quality of the programmes shown?

The consequences of this will be thus: People will have to buy digital TVs. They'll find their VCRs and stuff are ineffective for most of the major programmes they want to watch. They'll say "Screw this", cut their cable subscription, and watch DVDs (or replacements) and read and use the Internet, etc.

I cut my cable subscription a couple of years ago and I can't say I regret it. It was so easy to just switch on and vegetate, flipping between a hundred channels of nothing. Now I actually have time in the day, for reading, for listening to music, for doing things I didn't previously do. Anything that undermines that overrated institution is good by me.

Who is going to lose more on this? (2, Informative)

ultrapenguin (2643) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238452)

HDTV has always been a "slow moving" process. Stations were given a frequency range to use for HD, and given a requirement of something like broadcast at least 30+ hours of HD content.

But nobody cared. STB's required to receive it back then (and still) too expensive for casual home user. Sales of analog TVs still outnumber those of HDTV-capable TV sets.

And now, they are going to make it even more difficult for people to enjoy this new-and-expensive technology? If anything, to increase HDTV adoption they should make the units cheaper, and allow people to do more with this new technology than they could do with their old analog equipment.

For new technology like this to catch on, people need incentives to use it, not more limitations compared to old technology. If I was in the market for a HDTV set now, I wouldn't buy it if I found out that my use of it would be restricted to only watching it, and not being allowed to timeshift/record what I wanted.

Oh, and on the topic of copy protection, the copy protection, the bits these people are talking about are most likely the DTCP_descriptor bits, described in detail at http://www.dtcp.com/data/info_dtcp_v1_12_20010711. pdf from your friends at DTLA - The group which digital/HDTV people will learn to hate real soon now. In short, it talks about adding a special descriptor to the mpeg2ts streams which deals with things like copyonce/copymany/copynever, and also things like retention, how long a show can exist in recorded format on a DVR/PVR unit.

Retention_State_Indicator Retention Time
000 Forever
001 1 week
010 2 days
011 1 day
100 12 hours
101 6 hours
110 3 hours
111 90 minutes
^ yes, sometimes they won't even let you have it for more than 90 minutes :(

WOMEN ARE BITCHES.. FUCK 'Em! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238456)

This has nothing to do with anything remotely Slashdot related, but I need to do something before my head explodes...

As I type this, my roomate and my best friend/recent lover are fucking in the next room over. WHAT THE FUCK. After 10 years of friendship and built-up sexual tension, we finally hooked up and now less than a week later she's banging my roomate. I am so fucking incensed right now I can't think straight. I wouldn't mind if they went to a hotel or otherwise didn't make it known, but she just FUCKING WALKED PAST MY ROOM TOPLESS AND SHUT THE DOOR IN MY FUCKING FACE. How fucking insensitive can you be?!

This sucks. It's 3AM and I'm telling strangers (GEEK strangers, no less) about my personal problems. I am a big pussy and will most likely not say anything to either one of them so I expect this to go on for a while. Fuck.

Feeling low? There's someone else out there that's having a worse day than you. Trust me.

Re:WOMEN ARE BITCHES.. FUCK 'Em! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238576)

Dude, that sucks. And I thought I was having a bad day fscking around with a half-dead ADSL connection.

YAUCOTDMCA (0)

Compulawyer (318018) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238458)

YAUCOTDMCA == Yet Another Unintended Consequence Of The Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

In light of precedent from the US Supreme Court in the VCR/Home Taping cases, this action would seem to trample upon the fair use rights of viewers to time shift recordings. However, that lovely piece of legislation affectionately known as the DMCA now provides an argument that Congress has legislately overruled SCOTUS precedent on fair use when it comes to digital content. Although I haven't checked the legislative history, I'm sure that Congress never dreamed the DMCA would hinder something like the adoption of HDTV.

You gotta just LOVE when Congress passes laws without sufficient debate or input from all potential affected parties.

Threatened? (1)

Fiveeight (610936) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238459)

CBS, under orders from Viacom CEO Mel Karmazin, has threatened to stop all HDTV broadcasts unless the broadcast flag is approved.

Erm, who exactly are they supposed to be threatening? A) are they really likely to stop doing one of the few things that's likely to make them more revenue in a pretty damn saturated/stagnating US TV market? B) Why the hell do the FCC care if CBS wants to put themself out of business?

It's like McDonalds asking for a tax break on one of their menu items, because they can't make money on it, and their blackmail tool is to threaten to stop selling it.

Is the FCC committed to moving everyone to HDTV by some cutoff date? Does HDTV use a different frequency, and they want to reuse the old one?

I R'ed TFA, and I can't see anything that explains this.

My $.02 (1)

cshotton (46965) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238467)

Dear Chairman Powell,

As a consumer of American-manufactured electronic products and an owner of many, many copyrighted songs, movies, and other digital media, I strongly object to the proposal that implementation of "broadcast flag" support be mandatory in consumer video equipment supporting the HDTV standard. It is an inappropriate regulatory restriction on fair use rights granted to me by U.S. copyright law and will unnecessarily limit my choices, rights, and ability to enjoy copyrighted media that I legitimately own or have access to view.

The FCC should not implement rule making to satisfy the special interests of media conglomerates against the best public interest of the citizens whose communications infrastructure it is tasked with protecting for their benefit. Do NOT mandate compulsory compliance with the broadcast flag for HDTV transmissions. This is anti-consumer and an infringement on rights granted to US citizens under existing copyright law.

Thanks for your consideration,
Chuck Shotton

Re:My $.02 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238551)

Dear Chuck,

I was a spoiled child and my dad insulated me from the real world. I am totally out of touch with reality and think that ownership of all media (radio, TV, and printmedia) should be consolidated into just a few hands.

Furthermore, I think we should give industry everything they desire to protect their precious content. I regularly invite corporate media lawyers into my office to use my word processor to help me craft new FCC rules and policies.

There are simply too many cooks in the kitchen and all media needs to be consolidated and content needs to be locked down and protected. No American consumer should be trusted with unprotected content or the ability to choose the "correct" media outlet for news and information.

My goal is to allow the industry to control what you watch, when you watch, and how you watch. You're choices will be severly limited and any attempt at cirucmvention will be punished severely by invoking the DMCA.

FCC Chairman

who is making the rules? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238486)

the 'industry' or the goverment? should money make the rules the money plays by?

as far as i can see the goverment could tell the industry to jump into a big hole(and turn green and fuck themselfs) if it doesn't intrest them to use the spectrum and give it to somebody else to transmit on, i'm QUITE SURE that there would be FEW takers for the transmitting rights. if they don't want it, fuck them, they don't have to transmit or build the cables and show the shows with adverts if they don't want to, it's not really like the world depends on them for living anyways.

Re:who is making the rules? (1)

lennart78 (515598) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238525)

Do you still have any doubts about that question? It may differ from country to country, but I'm sure in the US it's largely the industry telling their representatives (not yours in any case...) how they would like things to be run.
Which civillian is getting any benefit from, for instance, the DMCA and the strict IP regulations that are in place?
A company like SCO however is now trying to make a big load of dollars out of something they didn't do any intellectual work for, because the legal system allows them to do so...

how many fauxking felonious billyonerrs do we need (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238492)

just a thought.

Sounds like a great idea (1)

MarsDude (74832) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238501)

Look at DVD's, which became dirt-cheap because you can't copy them. Thanx to the uncrackable.... eh..

Look at DVD's which have regions to avoid... eh... and ofcourse dvd-players can only play 1 region.. no cracks available... eh... well..

What was I trying to say?

Are they going to give the money back to those people that bought a dvd recorder to record their favorite tv-show because they can't be there at that time? Oh... but ofcourse... they've already implemented that great idea of View on Demand.... eh... well... they could...

Next thing we'll be seeing is that we are not allowed to reproduce ourselves...

No broadcast flag needed (1, Funny)

hudsucker (676767) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238506)

If the broadcasters want to discourage people from copying movies off their channels, they could just alter the movies so that no one will want to copy them!

For example, they could insert advertisements every 15 minutes. Delete more of the movie so that it will fit into the time slot. Edit the movie to change dialog and obscure the naughty bits. Put a distracting logo on the screen while it is playing. Run ads for upcoming shows on the bottom third of the screen. Squeeze the credits and run voice-over for other shows. Cut the sides off the movie so you can't see the entire picture at one time. Interrupt the show (but never the advertisements) for "breaking news".

If they did these things, I hardly think that they would having any piracy problems to worry about.

Nailing the HDTV coffin (2, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238511)

Oh yeah, this is a smart move.

Although, HDTV was doomed from the start with the FCC screwing up the formats, allocations, basically every aspect.

and now with cable companies rolling out HD in a very lame way by only supplying massively compressed channels effectively removing any advantages fo HDTV. Anyone that buys a $13,000.00 HD Plasma TV should be insanely pissed when they get home and get a slightly better but widescreen version of regular TV from that cable provider.

I recently researched HDTV. the cable channels look just like the regular channels but with more visible artifacts. off air RARELY transmits anything but regualr DTV.. very VERY little HD content is broadcast. and there is no such thing as a HDTV DVD... so I would have been better off with the $2500.00 Daewoo Enhanced DTV.

Now they want to make it 100% impossible for me to record the programming... Nice.. no Tivo,no DVHS, no way of timeshifting because of one thing..... Greed.

Don't complain on /. (1)

Jedi1USA (145452) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238512)

Complain to your elected representives. I wrote to my represientatives as soon as I read about it.

I'll MAKE SURE the CORPS EAT YOUR BALLS! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238518)

I am leader of the free world AND I am a great poet! Read!:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Oh my, lump in the bed
How I've missed you.
Roses are redder
Bluer am I
Seeing you kissed by that charming French guy.
The dogs and the cat, they missed you too
Barney's still mad you dropped him, he ate your shoe
The distance, my dear, has been such a barrier
Next time you want an adventure, just land on a carrier

I AM LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD! Ahahahaha!
I'll make sure you're under the thumbs of Corporations forever. Be wage slaves, you assholic geeksheads!

Loosing popularity... pushing alternatives (1)

armando_wall (714879) | more than 9 years ago | (#7238535)

I recently read an article [slashdot.org] where they say that some media monopolies business fall quickly, among other things, because they underestimate the content they are pushing, i.e., they rely on the "coolness" of the technology, not in the content.

In broadcasting industry, it's the other way around: they rely on the fact that people won't stop watching their favorite content (show, artists, etc), so these fans will accept whatever they dictate, no matter how annoying it will be for them.

This behavior will increase popularity on broadcasters that won't use "the evil bit", and eventually will make them the market leaders. If (I hope) they won't get greedy or misadvised, they will be better at respecting users.

I think this will happen with all the RIAA, MPAA and Microsoft in their respective fields.

PYRAMID TROLL SCHEME!!!!! (+1000 Cool!!) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238540)

Do you want good luck to follow you and your offspring for geneations to come? This troll has the solution for you...

All you have to do is copy this troll onto two to four of the discussion threads of your choice! That's right! Just copy this into a new message and click "post anonymously." That's all there is to it! *

Tired of that idiot talking about geek culture! Stick one of these babies on it! And it's good for the economy!

Marge Gentry of Cambridge, Minnesota participated, and the next day she received a large fruit basket outside of her door from a secret admirer. Unfortunately, Marge was hit by a truck the next day, so she didn't get to the Granny Smith apples.

Commander Taco of Hole-in-the-ground West Virginia didn't participate, and he was violated by a group of raging homosexuals. Since the gang was headed by Jon Katz, Taco had no recourse to the law because the entire town knew about their previous relationship. The unfortunate outcome is enshrined forever at goatse.cx.

So if you want to get the fruit basket and not get poked in the bread basket, just copy this troll onto two of the discussions threads of your choice. We could have this place blanketed by sundown!

Boycott! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238548)

Show your power as a consumer. Nuff said

Oh god no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238558)

My world is crumbling... I won't be able to record American Idol in its full HDTV glory.

Oh wait, I don't watch that shit or any TV for that matter. I hope Viacomm does pull all programming. No more MTV, CBS, TNN.....ahhh a lot less crap on TV...

Oh wait again.. TV is all crap... that's why I cancelled cable and through out my broadcast antenna. Fuck 'em all.

As if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7238563)

... people writing letters to the FCC will stop what the money wants. Sorry, but this is a done deal, so get used to breaking to rules in order to copy Law & Order in HDTV.
Don't like it? Then I suggest you buy your own congresscritter in order to get some voice that matters. We're the unwashed masses, folks, we're here to provide eyeballs for the rich and powerful.
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