Fiddling While Hollywood Burns?

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The DVD+RW Alliance people plan to demonstrate an 8X DL recorder very shortly, and expect to have them out for sale within the next six months.

To many out there reading this, that means perfect unencrypted copies of movies in about fifteen minutes six months from now.

To Hollywood, that’s worse news than a Bush landslide. It just keeps getting worse and worse and worse.

Right now, the only thing stopping everyone and his kid brother from jumping on the DVD recorder bandwagon will be the cost of DL media, and that’s like the little Dutch boy sticking his finger in the dyke. It won’t hold forever.

Hell, it may not end up being too relevant except for the finicky, either, with single-layer DVD media prices plummeting. If MP3 compression of 90% is good enough for most, what’s 40% video compression?

Add the prospect of fiber connections becoming a reality for many within the next two years, making it possible to download a not-too-compressed movie in a fairly reasonable amount of time.

You think the RIAA makes a lot of noise now?

Political Aftermaths

In case you haven’t noticed, the current U.S. Presidential election has been a rather bitter one, certainly the most bitter in dozens of years.

In case you haven’t noticed, some of the loudest/most notorious support (both financial and otherwise) has come from those artists most potentially threatened by digital copying, and that support has definitely been quite one-sided.

Political people are going to remember who did what to whom for a long time after this election.

Because Hollywood money is so vital to the Democratic party these days, Democrats have generally been quite sympathetic to the desire of content makers to be protected from digital theft.

Republicans are generally split between those who stick to the principle of protecting intellectual property, and those who’d rather stick it to one of the mainstays of the Democratic party. It takes a lot of principle to support a measure that will end up giving your opponents more money to oppose you with.

No matter how the election is likely to turn out, this is going to leave a very interesting situation afterwards.

Hollywood will hear the clock ticking, and start pushing hard, very hard, for legislation dealing with their problem in 2005, probably by reintroducing something like the INDUCE Act (which, BTW, is off the table for this year) next year.

Some Republican political groups announced their opposition to INDUCE this fall, and it’s hard to see how they wouldn’t label any reintroduced INDUCE bill a 5M bill, as in “Make Michael Moore More Money” Act of 2005.

On the other hand, Democrats will probably follow the wishes of those artists who will be paraded around displaying a sudden intense feeling about the proper workings of the U.S. capitalist system, which some future wit might not-too-unfairly describe as going directly from denouncing fascism from others to demanding it for themselves.

In other words, this subject is liable to get hot, very hot, but the debate won’t be about what should be protected, but whom.

It probably also means that we’re unlikely to see any legislation pass the U.S. Congress on this subject next year. They’ll fiddle as Hollywood starts to burn.

Ed

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