MPAA Want to Bung-Up "Analog Hole," Disable Piracy-Enabling Cable Box Outputs

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Movies movies movies... we all love a good show, but the lovely MPAA is up to some pretty strange shenanigans to ensure that you get to see some shows just once—until they're out on DVD at least. The fab guys at the Motion Picture Association of America are petitioning the FCC on behalf of some major movie studios to close the "analog hole" that may allow people to record movies broadcast on cable before they hit DVD. "The Petitioners' theatrical movies are too valuable in this early distribution window to risk their exposure to unauthorized copying" runs the argument, and is why the MPAA wants "selectable output control" (SOC) enabled on some cable box outputs.


Essentially the MPAA wants to stop you from analog-copying stuff that is transmitted to your home, perhaps as pay-per-view, before it is released on (the proven as insecure) digital DVD format.

Some bodies argue that this is a fear that has no grounds in reality: "in the complete absence of evidence, there is no reason to believe that additional, costly, restrictive technologies are needed." TiVo and the Digital Transition Licensing Administrator also think SOC places too much control in the studio's hands, and messes with already in-place industry standards.


But the MPAA's position is clear, designed to protect revenue of the studios: "Distribution over insecure outputs would facilitate the illegal copying and redistribution of this high value content, causing untold damage to the DVD and other 'downstream' markets." The MPAA also makes an interesting twist in the argument, alleging that the fact that currently very few movies are released to broadcast before hitting DVD is "convincing evidence that the analog hole is an impediment to the early window release of high-value content."

So the people who are trying to protect the studios from piracy are saying the threat of analog copying is preventing movies getting to the TV fast... when as soon as a DVD is released, pirated copies hit the intertubes almost straight away. I am confused: does the movie exist for the audience, or the audience exist for the movie? The MPAA's not sure either, but seems to want even more control over the films we all watch. [Ars Technica via CrunchGear]