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Copyright Poachers Endangering Gizmos
February 18, 2005
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The EFF have parodied the World Conservation Union’s Endangered Species list, but for a serious cause.

The multi-billion Dollar entertainment industry is trying, and often succeeding, to force through news laws which restrict consumers' ability to control when and where they listen to and watch media.

This industry is also using the already-excessive copyright laws to keep competition at bay and consumers in line.

In order for the wider public and law makers to understand the impact the greed of copyright owners is having on everyday life, the EFF have produced an endangered species list, but of home entertainment technology.

“Suppose none of us had ever been given the opportunity to use or own a TiVo -- or, for that matter, an iPod? Suppose instead that Hollywood and the record companies hunted down, hobbled, or killed these innovative gizmos in infancy or adolescence, to ensure that they wouldn't grow up to threaten the status quo?”, the EFF website questions.

Continuing on, “That's the strategy the entertainment industry is using to control the next generation of TiVos and iPods. Its arsenal includes government-backed technology mandates, lawsuits, international treaties, and behind-the-scenes negotiations in seemingly obscure technology standards groups. The result is a world in which, increasingly, only industry-approved devices and technologies are "allowed" to survive in the marketplace.

“This is bad news for innovation and free competition, but it also threatens a wide range of activities the entertainment conglomerates have no use for -- everything from making educational "fair" use of TV or movie clips for a classroom presentation, to creating your own "Daily Show"-style video to make a political statement, to simply copying an MP3 file to a second device so you can take your music with you.”

The new Endangered Gizmos page will keep track of the technologies that have already been stamped out and those which are at risk of suffering the same fate.

The technology already lost can be found in the extinct section. This section includes Streambox VCR, which was DMCAed by RealNetworks. RealNetworks did not want competition undermining them on their closed content distribution system.

Next is the endangered list. The technology here is currently under pressure from the entertainment industry and will be lost if no action is taken. It includes the pcHDTV card, which will be lost if the FCC mandate that all television equipment must obey the broadcast flag is not stopped. Broadcasters will have the power to determine what consumers can and can not recorded. Recording to pause live TV, to watch your favourite TV episodes later or for basic fair use rights, such as for education will be in the hands of the “copyright cartel”.

It also includes Morpheus, which is currently preparing for their Supreme Court battle against the recording industry.

Without action now, items in the endangered list will soon be extinct. The EFF make recommendations on how the public can help, from home made TV cards to supporting the EFF in court.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Technology News :: Organizations/Initiatives
Technology News :: Hardware

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