More issues of Copy Right
I have three more articles to share with you about copyright. All of them in my RSS feeds today and from three different sites. Two of them are bad, but fortunately one of them is good and it really is a continuation from my previous post just yesterday.
First is about the new Apple laptop selection. The movie industry has been pushing for a DRM scheme to close the hole in analog media in preparation for HD content. To the movie industry HD is king and they demand a high price tag for such. One problem is that if the HD content were allowed to be broadcast over analog signals (like VGA monitors or projectors) that pirates could then record the content. This ignores the fact that most people simply rip the data off the hard drive or the Blue-ray disk to start with. It sort of negates the value of HD content by recording an analog signal, but that doesn’t stop the MPAA from forcing a DRM scheme on hardware. Enter HDCP. The purpose here is to ensure that the computer and the external device have the proper DRM scheme to stop people from recording the signal (as if they wanted to). The problem is that HDCP is a highly secret and often misunderstood standard. So far in the US there is no labeling so I could purchase a TV today and have no way of knowing if it is HDCP compliant or not. Where Apple messed up is in not telling buyers that they finally implemented this scheme. So many users that purchased, legally, movies from iTunes suddenly are finding out that they can’t project those movies on their monitors, projectors, or some TVs. This is a perfect example of what I was talking about yesterday where content owners are essentially taking away users freedom to protect their content. In my mind if I purchased the file I should be allowed to use it how I see fit (so long as I am not profiting from that use). This, mixed with a few other problems with the new Apple laptop lineup, makes me reticent to recommend them.
Another troubling article is from the UK where apparently an anti-piracy group is pushing to change the laws in the UK for digital up-loaders to face 10 years in prison. They say this is to keep in line with pirate organizations, but this seems way overboard given the extent of the crime. Pirates who have copying machines and go on the streets selling pirated goods are profiting from the content. This is entirely different from someone who uploads content for the purpose of sharing and where no profit is gained by doing so. In the first case I can see 10 years being a justifiable sentence, but in the second that is far to egregious given that no money was ever made. I think people on both sides of the bit-torrent argument could see that this is excessive. What is worse is if something like this were passed it would set dangerous president for other countries, a president I don’t want to face. Again I am not advocating downloading music off of bit-torrent. I personally don’t do it all and think it is of questionable morality, but to think that I could face 10 years for doing so is a scary proposition.
I like to end positively. This is the story of a group of content owners recognizing how to make money with free content. Monty Python realized that much of their content was on Youtube for free. Rather than sue Youtube, like Viacom did, they are using Youtube to promote their content for free in hopes that people will buy scarce goods. Mike Masnick of Techdirt gives a good run down of how this works. Watch the Youtube video explaining what they are doing. It is nice to see someone finally getting that free can be a tool to actually make money.