A View From The Handbasket

Tuesday, November 01, 2005
More DRM madness
Posted by neros_fiddle at 5:52 PM
How does banning analog-to-digital video converters grab you?

Well, OK, not "banning" exactly, just forcing them to contain a ridiculous array of rights management technology designed to prevent you from doing anything useful at all with any analog video you should want to capture. This is intended to prevent evildoers from running the analog outputs of their HD settop boxes and eventual HD-DVD players to a video digitizer, converting The Simple Life to DivX, and uploading it to Bittorrent. (This practice of bypassing the "broadcast flag" and other digital-domain DRM traps via analog outputs is amusingly called the "analog hole," which I suppose we can just shorten to "a-hole.")

But what effect will it have on perfectly legitimate fair-use applications (like when I copied some of my LDs to DVD so I could watch them without giving over half my equipment rack to an enormous LD player that will break someday without much recourse for replacement or affordable repair)? I wouldn't bet heavily on "none."

Just to be clear, an "analog-to-digital converter" isn't some exotic device. It's a Tivo. It's a DVD recorder. It's a TV tuner card for your PC. It's one of those gizmos to copy a VHS tape to yor PC. All those things would be hopelessly crippled under this legislation.

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