The Electronic Freedom Frontier has exposed a plan by the television industry to revamp television technology to severely limit viewers’ abilities to record and share programming. The Digital Video Broadcasting Project (DVB) is developing standards for television technology that will deliver up viewers’ rights on a digital copyright platter. So-called “screw the viewer” technology is being planned without public input of any kind. “These restrictions,” say the EFF, “will take away consumers' rights and abilities to use lawfully-acquired content so that each use can be sold back to them piecemeal.”
The DVB, founded in 1993, is a loose affiliation of Hollywood studios, major TV providers, broadcasters and technology companies. Since 2003, the DVP has been working on what they call Content Protection and Copy Management (CPCM) – a plan to manage consumer abilities to make recordings that would see:
* Enforcing severe home recording and copying limitations – technology that obeys and forbids copying of certain programs even for home use.
* Imposing controls on where you watch a program — “geography controls” that prevent playback once you leave home or a particular locale.
* Breaking compatibility with devices. CPCM restricted media will also be able to carry blacklists and revoke compatibility with particular devices that don't enforce Hollywood's restrictions sufficiently.
“None of these restrictions need to be revealed in advance–you won't even know ahead of time whether and how you will be able to record and make use of particular programs or devices,” says the EFF. “The restrictions can be changed at the whim of the rights holder. It may be that today you can record your favorite program and transfer it to DVDs for long-term storage. But next week, you could be prevented from recording or archiving to DVD.”
For the full story, check out the full report on the EFF’s website.