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Old 2004-12-17, 16:00   Link #1
AstroNerdBoy
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Join Date: Apr 2004
HDTV -- Recording TV Gone Forever?

I almost feel like a spammer since I'm sounding this alarm everywhere. However, for me, recording my favorite TV shows is something I don't want to see taken away. With HDTV, Big Entertainment is looking to do just that and may just succeed.

I assume everyone here has recorded something with your VCR or DVR (if you have one). How did this become legal?

Well back in the day, a Japanese company named Sony created a VCR called the Betamax. They advertised that you could record your favorite show and watch it later or you could watch it again. Well Big Entertainment was going to have nothing to do with this. Not only did they vow NOT to allow their movies on video cassette, they sued Sony for copyright infringement using the same arguments they are using today to fight file sharing.

Ultimately, Big Entertainment lost the battle. The Supreme Court ruled that VCRs were legal and that any illegal activities done with the VCR could not be blamed on the VCR makers. Further, a concept called 'time shifting' came into being.

Central to that decision was the granting of permission to home television viewers to record television shows for purposes of viewing them later at a more convenient time (i.e. time shifting.) The high court ruled that such copying constituted fair use, and would not hurt the market value of the programming itself to program producers. (1)

Today, we couldn't imagine life without a VCR or DVR to record a show, especially if we weren't going to be around to watch it live.

That's all about to change.

As you know, the government is pushing to have HDTV put in place in the next few years. Their reasons for this is that they'd be able to reclaim the airwaves that were used by regular TV and sell them for other purposes.

Enter Big Entertainment. With HDTV, Big Entertainment was able to develop technology that would block you from recording a show in HDTV (I think it would allow a LQ analog recording, but Big Entertainment wants to stop even that). So there you are with your HDTV and you want to record your favorite show in HD, but Big Entertainment will block you. They do this using a "broadcast flag" which allows Big Entertainment to allow or not allow (at their pleasure) whether you can record a show or not.

Thanks to Sen. Fritz Holling, he decided to aid Big Entertainment (so much for caring about the little people when it comes to campain contributions) in their quest for this new power. (2) He asked the FCC to implement the broadcast flag without Congress debating the issue. After all, the best way to get evil made legal is to bypass Congress and thus bypass debate.

Sadly, the FCC bought into the argument and has stated that personal video recorders MUST be equiped to accept the broadcast flag starting July 2005. So the fair use rights obtained in the Supreme Court ruling on the VCR are now being ripped from the consumer. (3)

In the grand scheme of things, this doesn't mean a thing. However, this pisses me off. What's the point of owning an HDTV if I can't record my favorite HDTV programs IN THAT FORMAT (if at all)? I only record one show at present and that's "Enterprise". If I couldn't record it, I'd be PISSED!

Big Entertainment lost the VCR battle and they've never forgotten it. They've never gotten over how wrong they were about how the VCR would be the end of the world as we know it. Instead those elitist smeg heads got richer off of the VCR. Despite this, they still wish to kill your ability (and right) to record the shows you want and play them back when you want.

I apologize to those who've already heard me rant this elsewhere. Again, I feel it too important not to sound the alarm, especially in light of attacks on BitTorrent and fansubs.

(1) http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/T/...meshifting.htm

(2) http://www.g4techtv.com/screensavers...cast_Flag.html

(3) http://www.eff.org/IP/Video/HDTV/
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Old 2004-12-17, 16:13   Link #2
_Sin_
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AstroNerdBoy

Sadly, the FCC bought into the argument and has stated that personal video recorders MUST be equiped to accept the broadcast flag starting July 2005. So the fair use rights obtained in the Supreme Court ruling on the VCR are now being ripped from the consumer. (3)
If that's all there is to it and they do not prohibit recording but force you to accept the broadcast flag it's not that bad. You still have the rights to record, right? If it's like that I'm sure someone will create a mod for VCR/DVR that will enable you to either remove the flag after receiving it (possibly illegal) or record the show with the broadcast flag still intact. It will then descramble the record on the fly and that's most likely legal (possibly the record will only play on the VCR/DVR it was recorded on). Ok, enough speculation

It's kinda like software makers that put copy protections on their software. You can still download a crack legally to be able to make a running backup.
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You can still find my Azureus Download Guide here

By all means, make sure to read this.
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Old 2004-12-17, 18:13   Link #3
lamer_de
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I only quickly skimmed over the g4tech article and the eff one, and it seems it's the same thing that was introduced in Japan earlier this year. Remember, when there was this attempt to find a key for it with distributed computing. You are allowed to record your stuff in HDTV, it's "just" copy protected, so you won't be able to get it out of your recoding device (e.g. burn it on DVD so you can play it back everywhere else).

Quote:
It's kinda like software makers that put copy protections on their software. You can still download a crack legally to be able to make a running backup.
Not if you live in Germany (or the EU in general, according to TP it's based on a EU guideline), like you and I do: http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/40265 (Sorry, both articles in german only)
Why do you think programs like CloneCD had to be discontinued?

EDIT: Hm, seems it's still allowed to use cracks on your programs to make backups. Only copying audio (cds) and video (dvds) is illegal if you have to circumvent copy protection, and CloneCD was able to do that. ( http://www.hardwarejournal.de/tip_urhebergesetz.htm ) Sorry. But the point is still valid, as video recordings most probably fall under that aspect.


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Old 2004-12-17, 18:23   Link #4
ChibiDusk
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what is this "Big Entertainment"? They sound more like "Big Assholes" to me.
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Old 2004-12-17, 18:25   Link #5
AstroNerdBoy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _Sin_
If that's all there is to it and they do not prohibit recording but force you to accept the broadcast flag it's not that bad. You still have the rights to record, right? If it's like that I'm sure someone will create a mod for VCR/DVR that will enable you to either remove the flag after receiving it (possibly illegal) or record the show with the broadcast flag still intact. It will then descramble the record on the fly and that's most likely legal (possibly the record will only play on the VCR/DVR it was recorded on). Ok, enough speculation

It's kinda like software makers that put copy protections on their software. You can still download a crack legally to be able to make a running backup.
Making a backup of you DVD is illegal. And the flag being sent down the pipe prevents you from recording. MPAA decides what you can and can't record. At the same time, they are trying to kill analog recording such as is done now by VCR's and DVR's or DVD burners.
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Old 2004-12-17, 18:29   Link #6
AstroNerdBoy
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Sorry for a double post...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamer_de
You are allowed to record your stuff in HDTV, it's "just" copy protected, so you won't be able to get it out of your recoding device (e.g. burn it on DVD so you can play it back everywhere else).
Um, no. That's the point of the flag. It makes it so your HD-DVR won't be able to record that program at all. And they are also attempting to make it possible to block the standard (and current) methods of recording those shows.

If it were a simple flag to keep you from offloading it, that would be bad enough. This blocks recording at all (when the flag is sent in the HD feed).
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Old 2004-12-17, 20:48   Link #7
Shadowlord
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Don't worry, every technology has a way around it. Shortly after this is implemented someone will come out with a work around. You shouldnt get soo stressed out, if worst comed to worst you could also just record to your computer (yes I know they are trying to prevent this, but that will be impossible) Another option would be to import electronics from another country, the FCC has no jurisdiction anywhere outside North America and cannot prevent you from ordering electronics from other countries.
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Old 2004-12-18, 02:19   Link #8
STfan
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Do not read if you aren't mature enough to get it. This means you, then.

I say this to the whining complainers in general. No one in particular. This isn't meant to be a personal attack, because you all sound the same and I couldn't tell you apart long enough to do that.


When something like this comes along, everyone's way out is to trash-talk companies and bypass/bend/break the law. Let's do that because it's cool and the companies have this duty to you to provide you with your show, and how dare they try to take that from you. I am sure you own the stupid show. Wait. You don't. Whoops.

Must everyone be so juvenile? Are you so poor that you can't pay for DVD's of your shows, or more accurately, are you such a lousy fan that you're not willing to dish out some money for them? Are we so spoiled that we can't occasionally MISS an episode or three?

Now assuming DVD's of the show aren't available. Apparently many people have never heard of something called opportunity cost. Pay attention in any basic economics intro course and you will know what I am talking about. Either you go out on that date or you miss that episode of your show that airs at the same time.

The solution is to break the law, yes? I expect I'm not too far off the mark when I say this is linked to the mass complaints about the entire MFI incident, when everyone acted like they OWNED the series and somehow had the rights to download it.

Wake the hell up.

Tear your eyes from the TV and spend quality time outside once in a while.
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Old 2004-12-18, 03:11   Link #9
lamer_de
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Astronerdboy, I read again through the G4techTVand EFF articles, and again could not find any word on prohibiting digital recordings completly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.eff.org/IP/Video/HDTV/"
It threatened to derail the DTV transition by withholding "high-value content" from over-the-air DTV, unless the FCC imposed "content protection" (aka DRM) on all future televisions and related devices. The idea was that content owners would implant a "broadcast flag" into DTV programming. When devices detect the flag, they have to "protect" (i.e., lock up in DRM jail) the programming.
Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.eff.org/IP/Video/HDTV/?f=broadcastflag.html
As part of its consideration of which DRM technologies will be "approved" for use under the broadcast flag regime, the FCC has been asked by the MPAA to refuse to allow TiVo to make HDTV programs recorded off-the-air available for remote viewing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A29428-2004Jul31.html
The answer is, since last November, when the FCC voted to require manufacturers to support the "broadcast flag" system by July 1 of next year. This convoluted mechanism aims to stop full-quality copies of digital broadcasts from circulating on the Internet. The FCC didn't mandate any one anti-file-sharing scheme and instead invited companies to submit their own proposals, which brings us to TiVo's vaguely Soviet predicament. Among the schemes a handful of firms have proposed, only TiVo's would allow tightly controlled online transfers of recorded programs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.g4techtv.com/screensavers/features/39462/Understanding_the_Broadcast_Flag.html
Under the BPDG proposal, any output or recording technology in a DTV device would have to come from a list of "approved" technologies. This list would be governed by Hollywood studios, giving movie companies the ability to create private laws about what technologists can and can't build.
It's all about prohibiting the use of the video streams outside your boxes. I doubt the MPAA wants to kill a complete market segment, because then nobody would buy any kind of digital VCR, because it would be useless. I don't say that this is acceptable at all, but it's not that drastic. This is of course a simple strategy: If you take something huge away all at once, people will scream. If you take it away from them in many small steps, they won't complain that hard, but of course the outcome is the same.


Stfan: This is not about pirating content or being a cheapskate. It's about companies invading the private life and trying to contol as many aspects of it as possible. Starts with store cards, goes over to video monitoring of almost everything etc. What will be next? Companies not allowing to mod your car? Companies not allowing you to write something in "their" books? Companies not allowing you to visit websites of foreign/rivaling companies? The possibilities are limitless, and one day they will be limiting something that affects you personally, even if you haven't cared for all the little cuts they made before because they didn't affect you immediately. And then going back won't be possible.


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Old 2004-12-18, 08:29   Link #10
STfan
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Sounds like a combination of the conspiracy theory and the slippery slope theory to me. The slippery slope theory, by the way, almost never makes sense.
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Old 2004-12-18, 08:35   Link #11
killmoms
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The real issue is the destruction of fair use, not some slippery slope argument about video monitoring or piracy. If you're really that concerned, get an HDTV card before July 1st of this year for your computer—it won't support the broadcast flag, and you can save MPEG-2 HD transport streams to your 500GB drive all you want.
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Old 2004-12-19, 04:25   Link #12
NoSanninWa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STfan
I say this to the whining complainers in general. No one in particular. This isn't meant to be a personal attack, because you all sound the same and I couldn't tell you apart long enough to do that.


When something like this comes along, everyone's way out is to trash-talk companies and bypass/bend/break the law. Let's do that because it's cool and the companies have this duty to you to provide you with your show, and how dare they try to take that from you. I am sure you own the stupid show. Wait. You don't. Whoops..
Time shifting is fair use. We're not talking about archival copies or even taping for a friend. Courts have already determined that people have the legal right to tape so that they can see the program later. Taking that away is unfair.
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Old 2004-12-19, 16:41   Link #13
mat9921
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Whats the worry

If anything this is just a temporary wall, one which technology will strive to conquer. Something which wont take very long as usual, look back over the history of piracy and recording, every time a step is taken to prevent matters things usually end up getting worse

At the moment theres one obvious solution, using external equipment, the same way movies are released on the net. A simple camera :P
Digital cameras are improving at such a fast rate that a short way down the line the quality will be at near perfect hd.

However thats just avoiding the problem, and it won't be the thing people are using several years down the line.
Mark my words, hd is nothing but a temporary blip, all the bt sites closing down, nothing but a blip.

Things bounce back, they always do, and unlike in nature, they bounce back with a stronger force than ever.
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