February 22, 2005

EFF's HDTV-PVR Cookbook

In contrast to my Eeyore suit, some projects deserve a "Tigger": tiggerpic

EFF's "HDTV-PVR Cookbook", regarding how to build your own personal video recorder, deserves notice. This is important because it's a technical way to oppose the Broadcast Flag mandate. (see my much earlier "Broadcast Flag - fighting it with Open Source").

As EFF describes on our Digital Television Liberation page, recent regulations in the United States will ban the manufacture of DTV-receiving hardware described here after July 1, 2005. While we challenge these regulations in court, the clock is ticking, and it's safest to assume that it will be difficult to get unrestricted DTV receiving equipment in the future the way you can today. [...]

Now, more than ever, hobbyists have a chance to build useful, enjoyable "convergence boxes" that show the contrast between the restrictive technological world entertainment companies have in mind and the freedom and creativity that the programmable PC can unleash.

There's a political saying, "You can't beat somebody with nobody.". I've long felt the net equivalent is something like "You can't beat the copyright business with policy argument". There has to be something on the other side, something besides a position paper or a theoretical article. And it helps immensely if it's something practical, that people might actually want to use.

Now, this isn't a panacea. The instructions are still very hobbyist oriented, they aren't" for grandma". There's much refinement which could be done. But it's so refreshing to see something physical, instead of Yet Another Pontification That The Broadcast Flag Is Bad And Contrary To Innovation (not that those are wrong - but they very rapidly reach a point of diminishing returns in utility).

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in copyblight | on February 22, 2005 11:32 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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I am commenting on your Lawsuit Loan Funding posting awhile back. There are a handful of companies that will fund lawsuits in-progress. These lawsuit loan funding companies will look at all types of cases. Actually these are not loans because if the plaintiff loses the money does not have to be paid back. For more information please visit http://www.fredcoutts.com/indexlawsuit.htm

Posted by: Fred Coutts at March 2, 2005 01:15 PM

That's a good point about tangible devices beating policy arguments. The thing that really killed the old Clipper chip proposal wasn't arguments about privacy, it's that Matt Blaze showed how to extract key data from the chip! A simple (and probably correctable) technological flaw damaged the reputation of the whole program to the point that the government gave up on it. Similarly, if the conventional wisdom says that the Broadcast Flag doesn't work because anybody can build a device to easily circumvent it, that could have a big impact.

Posted by: Cypherpunk at March 2, 2005 02:37 PM