Jack Valenti predicts that Congress will require copy-protection controls in nearly all consumer electronic devices and PCs.
December 18, 2001 5:24 AM   Subscribe

Jack Valenti predicts that Congress will require copy-protection controls in nearly all consumer electronic devices and PCs. ... Almost laughable if it weren't for the Security Systems Standards and Certification Act (SSSCA). On hold until Congress is done with spending measures and work related to Sept. 11, it creates new federal felonies, punishable by five years in prison and fines of up to $500,000. Anyone who distributes copyrighted material with "security measures" disabled or has a network-attached computer that disables copy protection would be covered.
posted by magullo (31 comments total)
 
Ooops, wrong link. Should be:

http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,49201,00.html
posted by magullo at 5:26 AM on December 18, 2001


An interactive digital device is defined as any hardware or software capable of "storing, retrieving, processing, performing, transmitting, receiving or copying information in digital form."

A rather broad definition that would appear to cover any device with a microprocessor. Phones, watches, cars, calculators, microwave ovens...

I can't wait to see what wild and wacky technologies they dream up to implement this protection.
posted by dlewis at 5:41 AM on December 18, 2001


there is not one single reference to jack valenti anywhere in the linked story. not even on page one of the story. hmmmm.
posted by quonsar at 5:41 AM on December 18, 2001


oh. never mind.
posted by quonsar at 5:42 AM on December 18, 2001


what we need is some congressionally-required controls on jack valenti.
posted by quonsar at 5:44 AM on December 18, 2001


If something like this happens, society will be destroyed. The level of social control this signifies is massive.

Here's a challenge: Which one is Ted Knight from the Mary Tyler Moore Show and which is Jack Valenti?











posted by mmarcos at 6:05 AM on December 18, 2001


the war against tools.
posted by kliuless at 6:26 AM on December 18, 2001


Great, so I'm going to need a mod chip for my microwave soon.
posted by frenetic at 7:18 AM on December 18, 2001


Regarding forced copyright protection:

The hardware manufacturers will fight this tooth and nail. First off they don't want to jack up the price of their products to put this technology in. "Oh, a 20gig drive is $450 now and its illegal to buy the old-fashioned ones?"

Second, who is going to demand MP3 players with big drives and memory cards, huge disk drives, faster processors, etc when they can't watch their downloaded .avi's or listen to downloaded MP3's anymore? All the more reason to cancel broadband too.

I'm also curious as to how technology will tell the difference between a fair use copy and a copyright infringement copy of a CD. According to Hilary Rosen of the RIAA I should buy one CD for me, another for my car, another for my wife, and if I leave it running while I'm not there another for my dog.

I'm not necessarily justifing copyright infringement, but the industry won't be happy with this kind of legislation and consumers are already sick of the incredible power the DMCA gives. Valenti is going to have to grease a lot of palms to get the SSSCA passed and then have to deal with the reality that whatever protection he puts in will probably be circumvented within a few months by a world-wide cabal of angry hackers.
posted by skallas at 7:22 AM on December 18, 2001


Congress had better institute some controls on hammers before someone puts one through his forehead.

Is that too nasty? What I meant to say was:

Copyright control is important, but not nearly as important as the Constitution.
posted by donkeymon at 7:28 AM on December 18, 2001


Jack Valenti will be one of the first up against the wall when the revolution comes.
posted by aramaic at 7:50 AM on December 18, 2001


just one more reason to vote aramaic.
posted by lescour at 7:54 AM on December 18, 2001


Wow - Jack Valenti is after all the guy who compared home video to the Boston Strangler - choking the life out of the movie industry. Of course now home video supplies a large percentage of the revenues of the same industry - in spite of the best efforts of their own "strategists", who fought a bitter 5-year battle all the way to the supreme court to outlaw the technology. Kinda demonstrates how well these advanced thinkers understand their own best interests or even their own bottom line, much less the interests of commerce and society as a whole.

Unfortunately, every indication is that this time they will win, because this time it's not about *theoritical* lost revenues, although this is how it will be sold. It's about control of knowledge and information. These days the government can say whatever they like, and the media will propogate it uncritically - because their all owned by the same interests - and if not for this pesky little old internet thang people would have no other source of information with which to make up their own minds.

It's obviously got to go - that's what the MS anti-trust about-face was all about (DRM-OS) and that's why there is going to be an incredible pressure to pass the SSSCA or something very much like it.
posted by dinsdale at 7:56 AM on December 18, 2001


And just like low-flow toilets, the solution will be to buy your hardware offshore.

"Gelded" storage and playback devices will sell well enough to the unsophisticated buyers. But for discriminating hardware/computer/music alternatives will abound.

The Bush Admin is really into seeing how far they can get with their narrow agenda, aren't they? For self styled conservatives, they sure are into changing alot of stuff (enviroment, Bill of Rights, State's rights).

Its a good thing Limbaugh's on their side!

Q: How do you spell Whitewater in Texas?

A: E-N-R-O-N
posted by BentPenguin at 8:05 AM on December 18, 2001


while it's just the usual spew from valenti, the quote that sticks out the furthest is from disney's guy, from the second page of the article: "There is no right to fair use. Fair use is a defense against infringement." stupid constitution. it's getting in the way of our corporate profits!
posted by jimw at 8:25 AM on December 18, 2001


Congress had better institute some controls on hammers before someone puts one through his forehead.

too late.
posted by quonsar at 8:27 AM on December 18, 2001


Electronic fascism.
posted by walrus at 8:28 AM on December 18, 2001


... and consumers are already sick of the incredible power the DMCA gives.

skallas - I wish that were true, but in my experience a very narrow band of wired consumers are sick of it. Most don't seem to know what it is, and when I try to describe it to them, and why it's bad, most get a glazed look.

Which one is Ted Knight from the Mary Tyler Moore Show

Trick Question. I believe the one on the left is Ted Night from Caddy Shack. And I believe you can expect a knock on your door from Douglas Kenney / Jon Peters Production / Orin Pictures / Orion / Warner Bros et al to explain what you think you were doing infringing on their valuable and protected intellectual property.

Boy, I sure wouldn't want to be in your shoes right now mmarcos!
posted by willnot at 8:40 AM on December 18, 2001


From the peak of Napster until now, I've always though it was just a matter of time before Big Media and the Feds start leaning on IPs to "filter" content.

Of course, some politicians would use that to "protect" us from pornography, also.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 12:01 PM on December 18, 2001


And then they would use it to protect us from "Anti-American" content. Such as anything lampooning John Asscrack.

Oops, sorry to get MeFi on the blacklist.
posted by donkeymon at 12:23 PM on December 18, 2001


Fast & Furious -- More Music? That goodness that one's safe from pirates.
posted by coelecanth at 12:50 PM on December 18, 2001


An open letter to the record industry:

I am someone who actually buys CDs, even though I know damn well how to "steal" the music online. I listen to them both on my computer and in my car. If you keep me from playing CDs on my computer, I will not run out and buy the music online. Instead, I WILL STEAL IT.

And if I'm going to steal it anyway, why bother buying the CD in the first place? I'll just burn one.

I know you probably don't care, since people like me make up about .1% of your customer base, but that's a good thing. You won't miss my revenue then, will you?

Sincerely,

jpoulos

P.S. Piss off.
posted by jpoulos at 1:01 PM on December 18, 2001


I'm boycotting regular music now, and this article shows why. I only buy CDs to support underdog-type groups, such as VAST.
posted by schlaager at 1:02 PM on December 18, 2001


I am not sure what the solution to this problem is, record co.s are slight in the right by moving to copyprotected CDs, but at the same time paying for the same content twice is highway robbery.

They should come up with a system such that you can only download the songs after you place the CD in your CDROM, once the songs are downloaded, I guess they could use a system similar to Sony's, check out a limited number of copies of the songs for use on personal music players, which forces you to return the song back, if you wish to maintain your collection.
posted by riffola at 1:15 PM on December 18, 2001


Minor nitpick: Did anybody else notice that in their list of file-sharing programs, they linked Kazaa, but not Napster and Limewire? Kind of odd.
posted by Su at 1:17 PM on December 18, 2001


The whole paradigm is permanently destroyed; no amount of checking out or any such thing is really going to put it back in the bottle. You can't really blame them for trying though; they are just being true to their basic natures. It reminds me of a parable I once read: (Cue crummy flashbaack special effects)

An Indian woman, walking along the side of the road, found the body of a cobra. The animal was not dead yet, but had been attacked by a mongoose, and would surely not live much longer without care. The woman placed the snake in her basket and brought it home, where she nursed its wounds, fed it, and slowly brought it back to health. Over time, the cobra had become a member of the family. One day, without warning, the snake struck bit the woman's infant son, killing the child in the blink of an eye. As the woman cradled her dead child, she glared at the cobra and wailed, "Why? I brought you into my home and nursed you back from the dead, and this is how you repay me?"

The cobra replied, "Madam, I'm a snake. You knew my nature when you took me in."

posted by donkeymon at 1:31 PM on December 18, 2001


I'm with jpoulos on this, I buy CDs. I would like however to buy just the single I'm looking for. I wouldn't mind paying $3-4.00 for an mp3 single of song. But there is no method for me to do this. Hence Kazaa or Gnutella.

As for albums with copy protection, if I buy one and don't notice, I will return it because I can't use it. For the most part, I only listen to music on the computer, every CD I buy, I immediately rip into mp3's. That way I can listen to only songs I like in the order that I like.

The RIAA is more concerned about stopping piracy then selling albums. Which is sad, because I like music, I like listening to new music, and at some point in the future, unless the current direction is changed, I will only be listening to my existing collection and not buying anything new.
posted by patrickje at 2:13 PM on December 18, 2001


*sigh* I guess this means I'll have to start encrypting everything and uploading only to approved individuals (i.e. nobody associated with the MPAA or RIAA). And that means I'll have to start carrying my PGP private key on a 3.5" cd.

The SSSCA is unconstitutional, and I've written my representatives saying as much... If they fail me (and i know they will) I guess I'll just be a criminal.
posted by phalkin at 5:07 PM on December 18, 2001


I don't have a stereo in the front room any more, since buying the expensive sound card and speakers meant that my computer is better equipped then my old system.

If I buy any CDs which won't play in my system, they'll be returned to the shop as "unfit for purpose". If I can't get music legitimately to play in my system, what am I going to do?

I imagine I won't be the only one, and it will be interesting to see how enforceable any such laws will be, in the face of rising tax bills.
posted by walrus at 3:01 AM on December 19, 2001


Minor nitpick: Did anybody else notice that in their list of file-sharing programs, they linked Kazaa, but not Napster and Limewire? Kind of odd.
Nah, not really. Napster's part of The Man, now, and there's no one you can really sue when it comes to Gnutella.
posted by darukaru at 3:27 AM on December 19, 2001


An interactive digital device is defined as any hardware or software capable of "storing, retrieving, processing, performing, transmitting, receiving or copying information in digital form."

Hey... your typical light switch receives and stores one bit of information in digital form. Wonder what kind of copy protection they're going to require.
posted by Foosnark at 11:23 AM on December 20, 2001


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