A-Holes Gone Wild: Hollywood Edition

I don’t want to be a hater. I always tell people not to be haters. Just last night while I was watching a basketball game on TV, my wife came in and asked me to feed the dog. I looked at her and said gently “don’t be a hater.”

But every time I think I have my hatred of the MPAA and its other brother the RIAA under control, something like this happens.

A-Hole Number 1

Determined to take away all of our digital media rights, the MPAA now wants to force, via Congressional mandate, manufacturers of devices that can convert analog signals to digital ones (like camcorders, some handheld devices and computers) to include some sort of proprietary watermarking technology called VEIL (someone accidently switched the V and the E, so I will refer to it by its correct name). As best we can tell, the way it would work is that the recording device would seek out the EVIL watermark and respect any do not record instructions contained in the EVIL watermark.

A-Hole Number 2

A Princeton professor called the company that makes EVIL for the MPAA and asked if they would show him how EVIL works. Get a load of the response (as quoted in the Boing Boing story linked above):

[O]nly if he pays them $10,000 and signs a non-disclosure agreement. And they’ll only tell him how the decoder works — there’s no price you can pay to find out how [EV]IL encoding works.

As Cory and the Professor point out, that should end the discussion right there. But you can be sure the MPAA will continue lobbing bombs at media rights until someone makes them stop.

You Want a Bill, Here’s a Bill

How about a Congressional bill outlawing any attempt to restrict the fair use doctrine? Huh? How about a bill like that?

A-Hole Number 3

In the birds of a feather work together category, check out Cory Doctorow’s encounter with Brad Hunt, the guy leading the charge for the MPAA, as quoted by Thomas Hawk:

This Hunt’s an interesting character. I once was at a meeting with him where we had no Internet access, so I went and got the conference center to turn on an Ethernet jack. Before I could get hooked up to it and turn on a WiFi service for the room, Hunt grabbed it and hogged it for the rest of the afternoon, refusing to turn on connection sharing so that a room full of TV, electronics, and film people could get online too.

This little encounter says a lot about the MPAA’s views on both cooperation and the rights of other parties.

If we aren’t careful, the MPAA and the RIAA are going to completely destroy the fair use doctrine and take away all of our media rights.

I really don’t like those people.

Now I have to go meditate.