Video DRM Hammering Legal Consumers

iTunes HDCP

Nobody but the studios seem happy about Apple’s implementation of HDCP on its recent laptops. The situation leaves people who legally purchased movies unable to play them on external displays (yeah, that means you can’t watch movies on the video projector you borrowed from the office).

A related story may reveal the extent of the problem. The MPAA is petitioning the FCC to allow it to use “selective output control” to block playback of video content in a manner similar to HDCP. SOC would disable your DVR and analog outputs, as well as some 20 million HD TVs, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.

Public Knowledge has joined the fight, explaining that if the FCC grants the MPAA’s request, it would give studios unprecedented control over the consumer electronics landscape, including the ability to require people to buy expensive new equipment. Sounds unlikely? PK suggests you look at Sony’s recent actions: “Last month they announced that you can watch Hancock on VoD distributed over the Internet before it comes out on DVD. The only way to receive this content is through a Sony Internet device that connects to a special plug only available on a Sony TV. Sony is a studio and member of the MPAA.”

If anything, this appears to offer more proof of the XKCD argument: if you want digital media you can count on, pirate it.