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[FYI] Copy protection vs. home recording

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FCC To Rule On Copy Protection Technology Dispute
By Rory J. O'Connor, Inter@ctive Week 
September 3, 2000 6:15 PM ET 

The Federal Communications Commission could rule as 
early as Sept. 14 in a dispute over the home recording 
of digital television programs. The movie industry has 
been at loggerheads for months with makers of high-definition 
television (HDTV) sets, VCRs and cable set-top boxes 
over how copy protection technology will be implemented 
in digital cable systems. For consumers, the FCC's 
ruling will decide which digital programs they can 
and can't record. 

Led by the Motion Picture Association of America, copyright 
holders want the FCC to require that circuitry be built 
into nearly every digital TV device - receivers, VCRs 
and set-top boxes - that will prevent recording programs 
carrying copy protection information set by the program's 
owner. Negotiations between the MPAA and electronics 
manufacturers broke down early this year, and on April 14 
the FCC, which had hoped the two parties could reach 
an agreement, said it "reluctantly" would make the decision. 
With a Sept. 7 deadline for public input, the group 
representing the electronics makers launched an 
advertising and public relations campaign Aug. 31 
to tip the proceedings in its favor. 

The Home Recording Rights Coalition, representing 
electronics makers and retailers, said that any 
such protection should stop at the cable system 
interface box, or pod, outside customers' homes. 

Once a consumer has paid for a program, the cable 
provider should make the signal available to any 
TV set or VCR connected to the box. The HRRC 
said the MPAA plan would render the existing crop 
of very expensive HDTV sets incapable of viewing 
many digital programs. 


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