MPAA wants to control your TV

Posted On: Mon, 2009-11-16 16:22 by holmesworcester to

The MPAA is pressuring the FCC for the authority to cripple recording devices using so-called “Selectable Output Control” (SOC).

Basically, SOC would enable Hollywood to actually shut off the video outputs on your cable box, DVR, or other recording device when particular movies or shows come on. When the movie’s over, the outputs might turn back on. Your devices would dance to Hollywood’s tune.

Most cable boxes and DVRs already include Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) and operate using proprietary software — both of which we need to work to eliminate. But just because many of these devices already use DRM, that doesn’t mean we should let Hollywood and the FCC keep adding more. This new form of control would take even more freedom away from people using those devices, would restrict people using free software like MythTV to watch broadcasts and record them, and would set a dangerous precedent elevating Hollywood’s desires over the public’s freedom.

We’re not talking about an imaginary threat here. Hollywood has already tried this sort of nonsense with the Broadcast Flag — which the FCC rejected.

Who gets to decide which outputs you can use on your home entertainment gear — the movie studios or you? File a comment with the FCC and tell them to keep Hollywood’s restrictions out of your living room.

Please file a comment with the FCC. Before you follow the link, you may want to select and copy this sample text:

Dear Chairman Genachowski,

I urge you to deny the MPAA’s request seeking waiver of Section 76.1903 of the Commission’s rules. This waiver would allow studios to engage in “selectable output control,” or “SOC.” SOC would let Hollywood decide remotely which outputs I could use on the cable box and recording devices in my home. The waiver would take freedom away from people using these devices, would restrict people using free (as in freedom) software like MythTV to make and watch recordings, and would set a dangerous precedent against the public’s interest.

People have a basic right to not be controlled by the technology they use. Hollywood and set-top box manufacturers already violate this right by imposing Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) and proprietary software on the public. If you granted the waiver, you would be giving them even more power to trample on our rights.

Now that audio and video are a natural part of how people communicate, the ability to record, archive, share, and remix audio and video is essential to free speech, political debate and cultural participation. Hollywood and the MPAA are pushing these restrictions because they want a world where they are free to communicate with us, but where we cannot freely communicate with each other. The FCC represents the public, not Hollywood. Don’t give them more power to restrict our freedom to use media or to participate in politics and culture.

As I understand it, the FCC also considers things like convenience, affordability, and economic impact in making its decisions. Other people have presented you with persuasive evidence that SOC will needlessly inconvenience viewers, will unfairly require the purchase of new equipment in order to watch certain movies, and will raise the price of basic equipment. But these questions should not even be considered when the cost is the public’s freedom. Even if Hollywood does find a cost-effective and convenient way to enforce these restrictions, they should still be rejected.

I urge you to deny Hollywood’s waiver request.


Thoughts on RMS’ “How the Swedish Pirate Party Platform Backfires on Free Software”

I have just read RMS’ “How the Swedish Pirate Party Platform Backfires on Free Software” and I’m still formulating my opinion on this but in general I am ABSOLUTELY  against the way copyright is done currently.  When Copyright was introduced to America it was a “Creators Monopoly” and only lasted 14 years.  The originators thought that was more than ample time for you to create something,  make back the money that it cost you in creation, and fund you next idea.  I also think that is more than enough time.

No matter what DRM is evil and douchbaggary

More thoughts to come [as soon as I have them :)]

I really want to see @doctorow and @lessig weigh in on this 🙂

FGTN aka Born Again Technology is being undercut by the city


Free Geek TN – aka is on the brink of closing the warehouse for the time being as the city has pulled a fast one and instead of approaching an organization they felt could benefit the community, took one of their city owned property and is going to remodel the location and accept all electronics for free which will pretty much put us out of business. We also have a GW – restore and as GW center in our neighborhood and I am not sure how much recycling of electronics they are currently doing. We also have a Staples and Best Buy who started similar programs, but affected us little.

I was hoping to somehow contact the reconnect people (not GoodWill) and see if we could get in the program as well. We were just starting to see some good equipment donations from a large cooperation and a local school too. We would be fools to keep our doors open at this time as we would no longer have any monitor fees or other fees to make it fesible. Once a determination is made, we will officially announce it as I am sure we would also lose our FG status. Even if that is the case, we are still doing online education classes and well as FOSS outreach. If any has any info to contact Dell directly on this, please let me know.


Shawn M. Campbell
FGTN – a.k.a Born Again Technologies

— On Tue, 6/30/09, Tom Brown wrote:

From: Tom Brown
Subject: Re: [freegeek-startup] Dell + Goodwill = Reconnect
To: “Conversation between various Free Geeks and similar groups from all over”
Date: Tuesday, June 30, 2009, 6:54 AM

Dell is partnering with Goodwill of Northern Indiana (GWNI) in about 11
stores. GWNI accepts computer equipment at the stores and ships the
material to a central warehouse in South Bend, Indiana. GWNI holds the
material at the central warehouse until they meet the minimum load
requirement, then ships the goods to Detroit for recycling. GWNI
receives money from Dell according to a negotiated schedule of payment.

GWNI upper management is only interested in computer recycling and reuse
as pure revenue streams. The founder and president of GWNI has convinced
his managers to try the Reconnect program because other donations are
off slightly, and GWNI has idle workers. The founder understands that
recycling and reusing computers can be part of Goodwill’s mission. The
managers are not interested in mission unless Reconnect is not profitable.

GWNI will cherry pick the best material for resale. GWNI makes high
margins for electronics in their stores, but the electronics sections of
the stores have much higher than normal theft rates. A very small
percentage of the donated material will actually end up in the stores
for resale initially although GWNI is considering opening a “thrift”
store solely for electronics if Reconnect goes well. GWNI now sells used
computers at nearly the cost of discount Internet retail so there is not
much thrift involved, and the computers are loaded with Windows, another
problem for buyers.

Free Geek Michiana wants to talk to GWNI about donating computers to us
for reuse. However, our contact inside GWNI says it is too soon to
broach the subject with GWNI management. GWNI management wants to take
things slowly with Reconnect to see if the program is a net gain or net
loss for GWNI. GWNI will barely advertise or promote the program through
the summer. GWNI began the Reconnect program the first week in June.

GWNI management decided to initially recycle nearly 100% of the computer
donations the stores receive to ensure they meet Reconnect’s minimum
shipping requirements quickly and complete several cycles of shipment
and payment. After some months of shipping material, and once GWNI has a
baseline on costs and revenue, management may or may not be approachable
on donating computers to Free Geek Michiana for reuse. FGM plans to
pitch GWNI as soon as our contact says GWNI management is “ready” to
hear us.

I predicted on the public record years ago that Goodwill could easily
put us out of business if they begin collecting computers for recycling.
Our future depends on GWNI’s attitude about reuse. FGM sees used
computers as community assets when refurbished and loaded with Free and
Open Source Software. Our pitch will be that GWNI is shipping community
assets to Detroit for destruction when they could partner with FGM, keep
the assets in our community and do a great service.


Robert Citek wrote:
> Has anyone heard of this partnership between Dell and Goodwill?
> Do they reuse in addition to recycle?
> Regards,
> – Robert
> _______________________________________________
> Conversation between various Free Geeks and similar groups from all over mailing list

Sorry that’s so long but if anyone has any ideas on how to help FGTN out please join the list or email
Shawn directly at obe1968 [at] yahoo [dot] com