April 03, 2003
Digital TV and P2P

Reason.org has a piece on Digital TV, Prisoners of Digital Television, by Mike Godwin discussing the broadcast flag and government regulations, various economic solutions for digital TV distribution, and some solutions to these problems. In particular, the incredibly far reaching government regulations that would be necessary to institute the broadcast flag are discussed, including the changes to all of the obvious hardware, but also the non-obvious hardware like cell phones, medical scanners and astronomy equipment in order to control "what the content industry calls 'the analog hole' -- their unsightly term for analog devices' tendency to ignore or sidestep digitally based protections."

Hardware would have to be tamper-proof, operating systems regulation would affect the market, which might, if Linux were controlled, allow Microsoft to completely lock-in the market. And of course, he addresses the issue that computers and the Internet are fundamentally about making copies, and free flows of information, as well as looking at the spectrum, public policy, and consumer and broadcaster issues.

Godwin also mentions this interesting idea: "Nonsimultaneous delivery of premium content may constitute a new application for pure peer-to-peer distribution. (It would be a great irony if the Internet's peer-to-peer functionality, once regarded as an unmitigated problem, could be harnessed to enhance the delivery of commercial content in ways that financially benefit content producers even as they increase consumer choice.)"

Posted by Mary Hodder at April 03, 2003 06:55 AM
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