FCC accepting comments about MPAA proposal
This Slashdot story details a proposal the Motion Picture Association of America has submitted to the FCC. The proposal would allow the MPAA to use Selectable Output Control (SOC) on the distribution of high-definition films, which would prevent consumers from saving them to (e.g.) a DVR. The MPAA claims their proposal would benefit consumers because it would allow them to distribute these films on cable and satellite networks before they are released on DVD, and because it would provide consumers an “incentive” to buy and HDTV before the digital transition.
Here are the comments I sent the FCC:
I am strongly opposed to the measure proposed by the MPAA to allow
Selectable Output Control to be used on the distribution of
high-definition films to consumer devices.
I do not believe that there is an argument to be made for “consumer
benefit” from the use of Selectable Output Control. As a consumer,
the most important reason I prefer watching a film at home is the
freedom it affords me to watch it under whatever circumstances I
choose. I exchange the quality of seeing a film in theaters for the
ability to pause it when I get up, or to move it from my living room
player to my bedroom player, or to stop the film from playing entirely
and resume it on another date. As a consumer, I am not alone in my
willingness to wait to see a film until it is available on DVD because
it affords me these freedoms, so seeing a film earlier in its release
cycle is of no benefit to me if I am prevented from viewing it under
the circumstances I choose. Films distributed to me using SOC
therefore do not benefit me in any way.
Furthermore, the MPAA’s suggestion that their proposal benefits
consumers by providing them with an “incentive” to purchase an HDTV is
insulting at best. I fail to see how having an additional reason to
purchase an expensive device is of benefit to me, particularly if I
have already chosen not to purchase one. Perhaps the MPAA could argue
they were benefiting consumers if they decided to give each of us a
free HDTV in exchange for their use of SOC — perhaps. But they
aren’t. Instead, they are claiming that their attempt to change my
personal habits in a way that will increase their profits is of
benefit to me. Incentives are not benefits, and the MPAA’s proposal
I would regard the enactment of this proposal as another in a long
series of regulations which in fact benefit the companies the
FCC is supposed to be regulating at the expense of consumers. Please
do not allow the MPAA yet another foothold for controlling our
behavior inside our own homes!
You can submit your own comments here. The Proceeding number (for the first field on the form) is 08-82.