Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Don't record that TV show, son...

According to the IEEE Spectrum magazine, the FCC voted unanimously on November 4 to require all products manufactured after July 1, 2005 that contain digital TV recievers to recognize digital copyright flags.
What this means is that your soon, your TiVO isn't gonna let you put your favorite episodes of Alias online. You'll be able to record once, but not copy that recording or transfer it to another medium. The idea is, when HDTV becomes a standard in 2007, you won't be putting perfect copies of shows up on the net. A noble effort, I'm sure...but destined to be problematic.
Let's say you appear on a game show. You set your digital recorder to capture the show. Well, now you can't send a copy to Aunt Polly.
Another example. You run a renegade political website. You record the State of the Union address and try to post clips online. Ooops, sorry, ya can't do that...Even if you record C-SPAN's feed. Which is public domain.
On the plus side, this likely means that pirated content might be easier to trace. Of course...this will only work until some enterprising hacker breaks whatever code they come up with for the flag.