Feeds

Disney's Eisner solves Net piracy problem

Let's make OEMs and ISPs liable

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Piracy on the Internet is the most devastating thing to happen to the entertainment industry in the past seventy-five years, Disney Chairman Michael Eisner told the Congressional Joint Economic Committee in Washington this week.

And there is much at stake for all of us. The entertainment industry "contributes more to the US economy and employs more workers than any single manufacturing sector," Eisner slyly noted.

Thus, "any threat to....the copyright industry is a threat to the overall American economy," he explained.

And the greatest threat of all is the Internet: "The artists who compose and perform music have already been victimised," Eisner said. "Millions of pirated musical works are now being transferred over the Internet every day."

"As broadband connections progress, movies will be next," he warned. He's imagining some Napster/Gnutella-like system enabling people to trade movies directly with each other, thereby avoiding the outrageous bandwidth charges which would make distributing them from a Web site laughably unprofitable.

Eisner's solution is controversial to say the least. "Piracy is a technical problem which must be addressed with technical solutions," he declared. "We need assurance that the people who manufacture computers and operate ISPs will cooperate by incorporating the technology to look for and respond" to technical controls.

Yes, that's his solution: install authorised players for music content on PCs, and spyware on ISPs, to flag pirate copies of copyrighted works. A bold suggestion, all right, but he offered few details of how it might work.

The Register doesn't think it can work. OEMs already install licensed DVD viewers, for which they, hence end consumers, pay royalties. This is about as much protection as can be afforded. If this were extended to music, with juke boxes similarly configured to play only authorised MP3s and CD's, identifiable with some sort of electronic watermark, say, surely a host of nifty cracks along the lines of DeCSS would soon emerge.

As for ISPs, one reasonable fear is that if they can detect pirated materials, they might eventually be required to turn over records of who's downloading it, thus forcing them into the snitch business as Napster recently was. No ISP would want that stigma attaching to it, nor would it want the administrative burden of logging and retrieving evidence that contraband is being exchanged.

Of course there's little hope that Congress would allow any legislation increasing liabilities for ISPs. They are, after all, an integral part of the Golden Electronic Ghetto towards which Business, Education and Government are shepherding us all, with their queer blend of glowing optimism and superstitious reverence. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.