It's Baaaaaack

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back to your TiVo, Declan McCullagh reports that the Motion Picture Association of America has drafted legislation that would re-animate the moribund broadcast flag.

Update: Ernest Miller has the full text of the draft here.

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  1. Gee, what a shock.

  2. You can read the full text of the draft legislation here: MPAA Shopping Draft Broadcast Flag Legislation

  3. the FCC will “have authority to adopt regulations governing digital television apparatus necessary to control the indiscriminate redistribution of digital television broadcast content over digital networks.”

    In other news, the FCC will also “have the authority to adopt regulations governing analog writing apparatus [i.e. pencils, pens, paper, typewriters, word processors] necessary to control the indiscriminate redistribution of copyrighted words over analog networks [social interaction].”

    Jesus, even with the DRM bullshit surrounding the digital music stuff, you can still burn your own CD’s from iTunes, etc. So, what happens if I record a show, and I’d like to save it, but my DVR receiver dies. Oh, too bad, you lose. Anything to protect the racket.

  4. Yet another example of how life would be better without copyright

  5. The sense of entitlement some of you have regarding copyrighted content, owned by others, is astounding sometimes.

  6. Property rights = “racket”?

  7. SP- I have to agree with you on that. I’m all for fair use and fewer restrictions, but I also see that the creators of a work DO have a right to their product.

  8. Oh, you’ve opened the can of worms now, Ed. Here comes the barrage of tortuous justifications and explanations regarding the difference between real property and intellectual property. These will probably be supplemented with a carefully chosen Jefferson quote or two, along with head-spinning talk about the “greater social good,” revealing that when it comes to this particular issue, Reasonites are happy to embrace collectivist-think.

    We’ll hear distorted and ignorant rhetoric about fair use, we’ll hear someone divine that the Founders’ real intent was to have all art shared with all people, we might even hear someone say that entertainment corporations make “too much money.”

    Unless I’ve just preempted such nonsense by writing about it first… here we go!

  9. Enforcing property rights is one thing. Having the government force television makers to include the MPAA’s stuff in their products is another.

  10. Julian (and phocion): At the risk of speaking for Ed*, he and I were responding directly to the broader sentiments in Evan Williams’ post — not to the specific issue of mandated broadcast flags.

    (*I don’t think it’s much of a risk, since Ed directly quoted Evan.)

  11. That’s weird. When I posted the above to Julian, there’d been an actual comment by Julian sitting in the thread. It was something along the lines of, “before getting your panties in a wad with a litany of ‘intellectual property is libertarian,’ why don’t you go read up on broadcast flags.”

    Julian, or the software, seems to have since eliminated the post.

  12. That’s weird. When I posted the above to Julian, there’d been an actual comment by Julian sitting in the thread. It was something along the lines of, “before getting your panties in a wad with a litany of ‘intellectual property is libertarian,’ why don’t you go read up on broadcast flags.”

    Don’t forget that he also said “What phocion said.” That was my favorite part. 🙂

  13. I liked the part where he’d written, “SP, you’re typically the most brilliant poster here at Hit & Run, which is why I’m loath to disagree with you. I fear that you will employ your incisive rhetorical skills and wit to turn out a devastating rebuttal. Please don’t hurt me.”

  14. Ye gods you people are quick. I posted something, realized I probably didn’t have time to get into a comments-debate about the proper scope of copyright, and removed it within about a minute. Well, anyway, I think you can have any one of a range of views about the proper copyright balance and agree that the broadcast flag goes too far in imposing mandates on technology makers.

  15. Every morning as I depart for my job I lock my “racket” with a key, then I unlock the door to my other “racket” and drive to work, where the success of my boss’s “racket” provides me with an income.

    Actually, I’m quite pleased that the FCC got bitch-slapped by the Court of Appeals on the broadcast flag regs. What’s at issue (for me, anyway) is whether the FCC should even exist, and whether property-holders have a right to defend their properties and their contracts. I say no to the former and yes to the latter.

  16. I’m not anti-property rights by any means. It’s amazing how fast you get labeled if you disagree at all with some draconian bullsheet. Contrary to what folks like ed make it sound, copyright law is not so cut and dried as “I made it, I own it, I can govern everything about it all the time and how it is used and what everyone does with it”. It’s just not that simple.

    Regardless, I have no problem with trying to enforce copyright laws on people who are trying to make some money by ripping you off. But demanding that the government mandate special controls on all technology in order to thwart these few-and-far-between frauds, is not justifiable. Going back to my earlier example: Ed, would you also support strict enforcement of copyright laws when it comes to, say, me making a photocopy of a book that I own, and keeping that photocopy in a safe place in case my book is destroyed? Or would you arrest me for lending a book to a friend?

  17. “would you also support strict enforcement of copyright laws when it comes to, say, me making a photocopy of a book that I own, and keeping that photocopy in a safe place in case my book is destroyed? Or would you arrest me for lending a book to a friend?”

    Copyright law doesn’t apply to either of those situations. Your examples are irrelevant.

    What they do show, however, is the sweeping ignorance about copyright basics that permeates these debates — not just here, but all over the Web. There’s this massive horde of people tossing out passionate rhetoric about the topic despite fundamental gaps in their knowledge of the topic itself.

  18. Copyright law doesn’t apply to either of those situations. Your examples are irrelevant.

    They do if you change the word “photocopy” to “copy” and “book” to “DVD.” The former situation, at least.

  19. GE runs a television netowrk. GE also manufactures televisions and recording devices. Seems like they can put out a broadcast flag and have their own consumer electronics recognize it. But since that might cost them market share on the electronics end, they won’t do it.

    As I’ve stated on other threads, we are moving toward a completely content-on-demand market. Every previous tiny step toward that end has been a maoney-maker for the content providers, despite all their bitching and moaning about how they would be hurt. Copyright might be a valid concern if the content providers were actually seriuous about it. But they are only using it as a smokescreen to keep others from getting a head start toward new markets.

  20. Hey, SP, I’m curious: How long should copyright terms be?

    I think 20 years from publication date sounds about right.

    The reason that many of us have a dim view of copyright is that the current IP system is all about rent-seeking by entertainment cartels and patent trolls. The Founding Fathers intended copyright to be long enough for creators to have incentive to create, but short enough to ensure a vibrant and productive public domain.

    Anyone who loves free markets should worry about the governement and big business being in bed like this. For God’s sake, the MPAA is using public schools to force their agenda down kid’s throats: http://wired-vig.wired.com/news/digiwood/0,1412,60950,00.html

  21. “The sense of entitlement some of you have regarding copyrighted content, owned by others, is astounding sometimes.”

    SP, you’re in violation of my “emotional property.” I have an 80 year exclusive on indignation.

  22. Also, whenever somebody sings the tune “Happy Birthday” in public they should be reported to ASCAP immediately and forced to pay compensatory damages.

  23. Also, at all costs we must protect Amazon.com’s breathtaking innovation of “one-click” product ordering.

  24. The Founders and Framers were wrong about a few things, IMHO. Slavery and copyright are two areas I think where they messed up.

    I can’t really see a property-rights objection to copyrights that never expire. A piece of land, which I didn’t create, can stay in my family forever, as long as my heirs can afford the taxes on it, but the rights to a novel I write must eventually be extinguished? I don’t get it.

    I recognize the complaint about the ex post facto nature of the recent copyright extensions, but the courts have decided that any term but an indefinite one is kosher.

    Defending “fair use” from further erosion is important, though. That could be self-interest talking, though, as I’ve got a mountain of unwatched shows stored on tape, just waiting for me to complete the “time-shifting” my VCR makes possible. None of them are even passable as bootlegs.

    Kevin

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