Cory has a post up over at Boing Boing about the MPAA’s latest attempt to con their tech partners into playing ball with their latest scheme. Basically, Hollywood would like the tech community to cripple your electronic consumer devices so that if a watermark is present on a broadcast that your device does not work. The MPAA’s Chief Technical Officer Brad Hunt presented on February 22nd to the tech executives.
While Cory mentions that this could be a great way for you to miss videotaping your child’s first steps if there happened to be a TV playing in the background, the Hollywood’s A Hole proposal also misses the mark when it comes to fair use.
What if I want to parody something that I see on TV or use a small piece of footage for a news related piece? These would seem to be legitimate fair use and yet Hollywood is asking the tech community to cripple my hardware.
The tech community responded to Hunt’s lame proposal with the skepticism that it deserved. From Variety Magazine: “The final question summed up the problem: “This is a room full of people whose living depends on this working. You’re getting pushback to the point of hostility. If you can’t sell this to us, how are you going to sell it to the target 16-45 demographic?”
Well they in fact won’t sell it to me because I’d never buy a piece of hardware that contained Hollywood’s new crippleware and I hope the tech companies that we know and love and sometimes hate feel the same way in the end.
By the way, this Hunt character seems like a bit of an A Hole himself. While I’ve never met this Hunt guy, Cory describes him as something of a bandwidth hog.
From Cory: “This Hunt’s an interesting character. I once was at a meeting with him where we had no Internet access, so I went and got the conference center to turn on an Ethernet jack. Before I could get hooked up to it and turn on a WiFi service for the room, Hunt grabbed it and hogged it for the rest of the afternoon, refusing to turn on connection sharing so that a room full of TV, electronics, and film people could get online too. Taking advice from him on how public-interest policy should be set would be like putting Scrooge McDuck in charge of the local soup kitchen.”
I remember Hunt better as that guy who didn’t want you to have your Media Center PC back in 2002 when the product first came out. This is what he said back then:
“We have some real concerns about content that enters an unprotected input into a personal computer, where the rights associated with the content are not being obeyed.”
Glad he didn’t win over Microsoft back then either.