Hollywood wants to, "to strip consumers of their home viewing and recording
rights," say groups
Music Industry News - as it happens
Source: MusicDish/Mi2N - June 11, 2002
The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) has joined cable operators
in urging the FCC to allow remote shutoffs to set-top boxes, say the
Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and Home Recording Rights Coalition
"By supporting what is referred to as 'Selectable Output Control', both the
MPAA and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA), are
betraying assurances recently given to the Congress and to consumers," says
the HRRC on its web page at www.hrcc.org.
The Selectable Output Control capability is, "unconscionable remote control
of America's living rooms and which Hollywood studio executives rebuked
earlier this year during congressional hearings on digital copy protection,"
states the CEA.
CEA VPt of Technology Policy Michael Petricone says, "Earlier this year,
Hollywood executives told Congress selectable output controls were outdated
and no longer needed, provided home copies are not redistributed over the
Internet; but MPAA's filing yesterday supports the notion that cable should
have the capability of controlling a consumer's television set. Which
position are we to believe; the one expressed before Congress or this latest
stance taken with a federal agency?"
Hollywood's mixed messages underscore the need for a more productive and
transparent approach to a competitive digital cable equipment market, he
Commenting on the PHILA in its FCC filing, the CEA wrote, "Numerous
provisions of the most recently released PHILA directly violate the
Commission's navigation devices rules. Moreover, CEA believes that the PHILA
contains onerous and draconian copy protection provisions, which if
implemented, would lead to irate consumers and a stalled digital television
The filing continued, "It is notable that, after more than two years of
negotiation with CableLabs, none of the manufacturers anxious to sell
competitive navigation device products has been able to sign the PHILA
license. Clearly the current process is not working."
The HRCC says in the February, March and April congressional hearings on
digital copyright this year, it warned the Congress that, in addition to the
MPAA legislative agenda, it should monitor closely the language and
restrictions in the mandatory PHILA license proposed to the FCC by the cable
"Even if no new legislation should pass, consumers could still lose their
rights to home viewing, as well as recording, if this license were accepted
by the FCC in the form in which it is currently being offered," it says.
"In its Senate and House testimony, HRRC specifically warned of PHILA
provisions as to both Selectable Output Control - including turning home
connections off entirely; and the 'downresolution' of high definition
programming - degrading signal resolution (quality) by three-fourths," it
It also quotes Fox executive Peter as saying, "We have no problems
with people using our content in multiple ways inside their own home."
However, the MPAA filing stated, "MPAA does believe ... that the cable
industry has a legitimate interest in providing its subscribers with set-top
boxes that have selectable output control capability," the coalition adds.
Related News from Mi2N:
» HRRC: MPAA Betrays Congressional Assurances On "Selectable Output Control"
» CEA Objects To Hollywood Attempts To Control Consumers' Living Rooms