In reading the MPAA's comments on their DTV copy prevention proposal,
(on page 7), they go into great detail about how easy it is to
record and distribute digital TV signals, and how this justifies
a control regime imposed by the FCC.
Their arguments apply equally well to analog TV signals. These can also
be recorded merely by selecting "Record" while watching TV on a computer
using a TV tuner card. And the vast majority of television currently
broadcast is in analog forms. Yet somehow this massive "leakage"
of analog TV signals does not appear to justify a massive copy-
prevention regime -- or at least we are not hearing from the
movie studios and television producers that they will stop
broadcasting movies and TV shows unless the FCC will act to prevent consumers
from digitally recording analog TV shows any way they want to.
Analog TV shows, of course, are recorded by computers in digital
form, and can be reproduced millions of times without any degradation
of quality, spread on the Internet, etc.
And it would be just as easy to impose a "broadcast
flag" on computers capable of recording analog TV, as it would be
to impose that regime on computers capable of recording digital TV.
But somehow the industry is not calling for that. Why not?
Perhaps because it would be too obvious a power grab. Their grab
for control of consumer equipment that can process digital TV is equally
absurd, and should be rejected by the FCC.
John Gilmore
co-founder, Electronic Frontier Foundation
(filed as my personal opinion; EFF has filed its own comments)