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1394 chiefs back 5C's copy controls

And it's a blow for freedom, claims Snider

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The 1394 Trade Association has endorsed copy restriction mechanisms proposed by the 5C Entity - the bus brethren to the 4C Entity's storage police. The 4C's DTCP (Digital Transmission Copy Protection) controls the transmission of data between PCs and consumer devices and was finalised almost three years ago.

The endorsement shouldn't be too surprising, as Sony is both a backer of the IEEE-1394 (iLink) serial bus, and a member of the 5C Entity. Along with Intel, Matsushita and Toshiba (all 4C members), and Hitachi. Of course, Sony's a major movie studio and the most publicly belligerent when it comes to free use. DTCP is part of the OpenCable (sic) specification too.

But what surprised - no, astonished - us, is that in endorsing DTCP 1394 TA chief James Snider paints himself as the consumer's friend, battling the "special pleadings of a handful of studios who would prefer users never copy anything for any use should not get in the way of industry adoption". Special pleadings such as those of his sponsor, Sony for example?

"The challenge to this copy protection specification has been raised again by special interests who are ignoring the rights of users and consumers, despite a significant body of US case law that permits copying under controlled circumstances," Snider continues.

Admittedly the studios did want an impractical end-to-end encryption scheme, but Snider can be accused of protesting too much. His comments appear in 1394TA mouthpiece FireWireWorld, which devotes a lengthy apologia to the news.

By their words shall ye know them: and isn't that phrase "controlled circumstances" a little odd? Doesn't it evoke a picture of immobilising death rays paralysing someone who's just video'd Letterman... It's positively Freudian, and we look forward to seeing the specification for that (UMR) or User Mobility Restriction extension to DTCP to follow shortly. ®

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The 5C Entity
The 1394 Trade Association

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