Digital World Freedom: Digital Video Broadcasting and DRM

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the only public interest group attending Digital Video Broadcasting’s closed technical meetings, just reported some feedbacks on these meetings, quite harmful indeed.

Today, consumers can digitally record their favorite television shows, move recordings to portable video players, excerpt a small clip to include in a home video, and much more. The digital television transition promises innovation and competition in even more great gadgets that will give consumers unparalleled control over their media.

But an inter-industry organization that creates television and video specifications used in Europe, Australia, and much of Africa and Asia is laying the foundation for a far different future — one in which major content providers get a veto over innovation and consumers face draconian digital rights management (DRM) restrictions on the use of TV content. At the behest of American movie and television studios, the Digital Video Broadcasting Project (DVB) is devising standards to ensure that digital television devices obey content providers’ commands rather than consumers’ desires. These restrictions will take away consumers’ rights and abilities to use lawfully-acquired content so that each use can be sold back to them piecemeal.

Consumers would never choose this future, so Hollywood will try to force it on them by regulatory fiat. DVB’s imprimatur may put restrictive standards on the fast-track to becoming legally-enforced mandates, and existing laws already limit evasion of DRM even for lawful purposes. In effect, private DRM standards will trump national laws that have traditionally protected the public’s interests and carefully circumscribed copyright holders’ rights.

Hollywood has long pursued this goal in the U.S., but its schemes in DVB have taken place behind the public’s back and outside of scrutiny by elected officials. In this paper, we will summarize and expose Hollywood’s plan.

Read the full article, or download the paper.

Technorati Tags: digital freedom, DVB, EFF, DRM