It’s just a day for bad news it seems. Like this report from Business Week Online—Will Your TV Become a Spy?
While the economy and stock markets struggled, 2002 was a golden year for the silver screen. Thanks to blockbuster hits such as Spider-Man, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings, ticket sales hit $9.3 billion worldwide, a remarkable 13% rise over 2001’s then-record receipts. So much for claims that piracy threatens Hollywood’s livelihood.
Yet studio execs remain on the warpath. As movies are increasingly broadcast and sold in digital format, Tinseltown execs are panicked that consumers will make infinite numbers of perfect digital copies and share them over the Internet.
That’s why the entertainment industry’s honchos will once again journey to Capitol Hill when Congress convenes a new session later this month to ask lawmakers and the Federal Communications Commission for more protection. However, if Hollywood has its way, consumer privacy—not piracy—will pay a heavy price.
Apparently the studios want a digital “flag” built into every new digital TV sold that would allow them to “track and/or designate which movies—or any programming, for that matter—could be copied, how often, and by whom.” The studios are threatening not to license their movies and other programming to broadcasters if they don’t get their way and slowing the move to HDTV in the process.
The problem with this demand is that what they’re asking for they claim is only to stop piracy, but they don’t have anything in the provisions they’ve outlined that would protect consumer privacy in the process. The sort of technology they’re asking for would be a marketer’s dream come true and there wouldn’t be a thing in the legislation to stop them from using it for such a purpose. I have a feeling the whole issue of copyright is going to come to a head sometime this year, I only hope whatever the outcome of the battle has more good to it than bad.