[LINK] US FCC to allow blocking STBs
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Sat May 8 15:09:44 AEST 2010
[not sure how they can technically do this, but
then again, it may be confusion by the writer]
FCC allows blocking of set-top box output
By JOELLE TESSLER, AP Technology Writer Joelle
Tessler, Ap Technology Writer Fri May 7, 7:15 pm ET
WASHINGTON Federal regulators are endorsing
Hollywood's efforts to let cable and satellite TV
companies turn off output connections on the back
of set-top boxes to prevent illegal copying of movies.
The decision by the Federal Communications
Commission, announced late Friday, is intended to
encourage studios to make movies available for
home viewing on demand soon after they hit theaters or even at the same time.
Bob Pisano, head of the Motion Picture
Association of America, said the FCC's action
will give consumers "far greater access to see
recent high-definition movies in their homes."
But critics warned that the FCC order could
prevent 20 million Americans with older, analog
TVs from seeing these new-release movies at all.
That's because the order allows the studios to
limit delivery of new movies to only those households with newer digital sets.
In addition, critics say the blocking technology
could prohibit legal recordings on some video
recorders and other devices with analog connections.
"We are unsure when the FCC has ever before given
private entities the right to disable consumers'
products in their homes," the Consumer
Electronics Association said in a statement. "The
fact that the motion picture studios want to
create a new business model does not mean that
functioning products should be disabled by them."
Public Knowledge, a public interest group, said
the FCC "has succumbed to the special-interest
pleadings of the big media companies."
The FCC prohibits the use of so-called
"selectable output control" technology, which
encodes video programming with a signal to
remotely disable set-top box output connections.
The FCC granted a waiver from those rules on Friday at the request of the MPAA.
Allowing movie studios to temporarily prevent
recording from TVs could pave the way for movies
to be released to homes sooner than they are
today. The FCC said the waiver is therefore in
the public interest, because the studios are
unlikely to offer new movies so soon after their
theatrical release without such controls.
Companies such as The Walt Disney Co. have been
trying to shorten the time between theatrical and
home video releases, partly to benefit from one
round of marketing buzz and partly to head off
piracy. With DVD sales declining, studios are
looking for new ways to deliver their content
securely while still making money.
In its decision Friday, the agency stressed that
its waiver includes several important conditions,
including limits on how long studios can use the
blocking technology. The FCC said the technology
cannot be used on a particular movie once it is
out on DVD or Blu-Ray, or after 90 days from the
time it is first used on that movie, whichever comes first.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Our truest response to the irrationality of the
world is to paint or sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer
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