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Intel, 4C still ‘lying’ about CPRM – Gilmore

Apple the latest copy control criminal

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The 4C Entity is still misleading people about CPRM, says EFF co-founder John Gilmore. He's put the latest developments about Content Protection for Recordable Media - currently under consideration by the committee that looks after the ATA specification used by hard drives - into context in an essay posted to the C2 mailing list.

Gilmore points out that far from being mechanisms that ensure honest punters pay honest artists, the newest technologies drive roughshod over existing social practices and legal entitlements.

"What is wrong is when people who would like products that simply record bits, or audio, or video, without any copy protection, can't find any, because they have been driven off the market," he asks. "My recording of my brother's wedding is uncopyable, because my MiniDisc decks act as if I and my brother don't own the copyright on it."

Citing estimates that DVD-recordable devices will soon exceed shipments of VCR and DVD-writer devices, Gilmore suggests: "By 2010... few consumers will have access to a recorder that will let them save a copy of a TV program, or time-shift one, or let the kids watch it in the back of the car. Is anyone commenting on that social paradigm shift? Do we think it's good or bad? Do we get any say about it at all?"

He notes that Apple's "happy-happy" promotion of its recently announced DVD-RW SuperDrive neglects to mention that it blocks copying, recording or time-shift playback of copyrighted media. So much for Thinking Differently...

However Intel gets the special treatment, as you'd expect, for its all-guns-firing defence of the big-money media owners. Intel wraps these initiatives under the banner Trusted Client for Computing Platform (TCCP), and these include HDCP (High Definition Content Protection) for scrambling the signal to a digital TV or monitor, thereby making recording impossible; SDMI and, of course, CPRM.

"If you try to record a song off the FM radio onto a CPRM audio recorder, it will refuse to record or play it, because it's watermarked but not encrypted. Even when recording your own brand-new original audio, the default settings for analog recordings are that they can never be copied, nor ever copied in higher fidelity than CD's, and that only one copy can be made even if copying is ever authorized (if the other restrictions are somehow bypassed)," writes Gilmore.

He chastises Intel and IBM for neglecting to mention this: "Lying to your customers to mislead them into buying your products is wrong."

Since we broke the CPRM on ATA story, Intel has done its best to persuade you that gosh, no, it doesn't want to prevent fair use copying, because that's one of the reasons people buy PCs.

But taken in context, it's clearly made that Chipzilla has made quite the opposite decision for coldly strategic reasons. It reckons people will tolerate draconian copy control mechanisms in the future, and still keep on buying PCs. After all, the majority of punters will continue to check out content from Blockbuster, won't they?

Your letters to the NCTIS T.13 committee, which have been instrumental in prompting a rethink on ATA, seem to suggest otherwise.

And as Gilmore points out, even academic discussion about the copy control mechanisms is inhibited by the powerful Hollywood lobby. If it gets its way, Jobs and Gelsinger - forever banging on today about how liberating their technologies are - will be remembered in fifty years only for engineering the biggest step backward in the distribution of information since the invention of the Gutenberg press. Less liberation guff please, chaps. ®

Related link

What's Wrong With Content Protection - John Gilmore

Our Full CPRM Coverage

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