It turns out that those nice folks at the MPAA are only out to help us - witness Dan Glickman's op-ed piece:
As CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, my principal concern is protecting the magic of the movies. So why should I care about a so-called broadcast flag regulation?
The answer is simple. I want to make certain that the American people will continue to have the opportunity to see our movies and television shows on free television in the digital age.
That's right folks - he's concerned about the three people left in the US who aren't watching via satellite or cable - apparently they are the source of massive piracy that can only be ended via the broadcast flag. But wait, he's not done - he's out to show us how technically literate he is too:
the broadcast flag is to assure a continued supply of high-value programming to off-air digital television consumers. Failure to implement the broadcast flag on the July 1 date will be a significant step backward in the transition to digital television. It would also lead to unnecessary confusion in the marketplace, since most television manufacturers have already changed their production to incorporate broadcast flag technology.
Oh gosh - if all those flag ready devices detect a steady stream of zeroes instead of the occasional one, we'll all be doomed - it'll be cats and dogs sleeping together, 40 days and 40 nights, and that worst of all possible things - fair use. We can't have that - Dan's there, ready to protect us from a fate worse than death. It's better - why, the broadcast flag is so smart, it can tell how things are being copied, and whether we've been naughty or nice:
Some say that this regulation would take away TiVo, but in fact, the FCC has certified a TiVo implementation of the broadcast flag. The broadcast flag does not inhibit copying, nor does it prevent redistribution of programming over a personal home network; it only restricts unauthorized redistribution of programming over the Internet and other digital networks.
That's right folks - it will only restrict copying on the WAN - copy to your hearts content on the local LAN. What's that you say? An ssh tunnel defeats that, so pretty much all copying would have to be banned? Perish the thought - the MPAA and Dan are out to help us. And it looks like we'll all suffer for our arrogant desire for fair use - the MPAA is just going to take it's ball and go home:
Our companies want to continue to show their movies and television shows to viewers who don't or can't subscribe to cable or satellite systems. But without the broadcast flag, that option will look less and less appealing. In the end, it will be the consumers who suffer the most if the broadcast flag is not mandated for the digital era.
He's right about who'll suffer - if twits like Glickman and the MPAA get their way, all of us will suffer. Fair Use? It'll be a distant memory.