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July 15, 2004

The Reg on Mobile Phone DRM [8:31 am]

Guilty until proven innocent - DRM the mobile phone way

Digital Rights Management on mobile phones hasn’t so far been much of an issue, but with highly capable multimedia devices and mobile music download services starting to appear, that is going to change. And the bad news for the consumer is that the phone industry appears to have learned from the PC business, where DRM can still be resisted because you still have a choice. Handset manufacturers and mobile phone networks, on the other hand, have a power beyond Microsoft’s wildest dreams, because they really can outlaw non-DRM compliant devices. Up to a point.

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New Acronym on the Radar: CPTWG [7:58 am]

These article of the past day on the subject of DVD copying and new alliances are based upon this group: Copy Protection Technical Working Group, who are not that new, but have been operating on several issues in the past (see the ADRG writeup from March 2003; also see the posting on the Broadcast Protection Discussion Group). Wired News has some background on what may prove to be an unholy alliance: Can Odd Alliance Beat Pirates?

IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Disney and Warner Bros. will work to develop the Advanced Access Content System, or AACS, standard for upcoming high-definition video recorders, players and displays. It’s the first time Hollywood and technology companies have agreed to work on such a project. In the past, tech companies have accused Hollywood of trying to impose too-restrictive copy-protection technologies through legal and legislative moves, stifling development.

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Profile of the New MPAA Head [7:34 am]

Although it’s just one article, it looks like the MPAA got exactly what they wanted: Mr. Glickman goes to Hollywood [pdf]

But movie buff or not, how can someone who spent much of his career preoccupied with farm policy now make the transition to showbiz? Glickman deadpans: “Culture is the biggest part of agriculture.” Playing along, a questioner asks: How, exactly? His reply: “Well, for one thing, it’s got the most letters.”

But then he gets serious and ticks off several plausible-sounding reasons that his background has amply prepared him for the MPAA presidency. The farm industry and the movie industry each occupy a large place in the national psyche and in the national economy, each industry relies heavily on its exports, and each considers itself beset by debilitating economic threats.

In the case of the movie industry, that threat is film piracy, in which movies are illegally filmed in theaters by camcorders, copied, and distributed around the world on the Internet or via home video. Finding ways to crack down on that practice, which costs Hollywood an estimated $3 billion a year, will be one of Glickman’s top priorities.

Several bills dealing with film piracy are pending on Capitol Hill. Although he resists the term “lobbyist,” Glickman concedes that he expects to “use the good will” he has built up in Congress to “have some access” to lawmakers on legislation affecting piracy and other issues.

Grove, of Hollywood Reporter.com, says Glickman has “obviously got a lot to learn about the business of filmed entertainment, but what Hollywood was clearly looking for was someone plugged in to the Washington circuit. They want a Beltway insider, because Hollywood perceives its major problems as coming from Washington.”

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