EFF describes a joint comment in response to the call for suggestions by the US IP Enforcement Coordinator, Victoria Espinel. The comment came from the MPAA, RIAA and others. This validates my concerns about what may come next if measures like ACTA and the Digital Economy Act fail.
- “Anti-infringement” software for home computers
- Pervasive copyright filtering
- Intimidate and propagandize travelers at the border
- Bully countries that have tech-friendly policies
- Federal agents working on Hollywood’s clock
Sadly, most of these are already being implemented to different degrees already. That first one, asking consumers to install police ware on their own computers is terrifying. For the most part, I think practicalities will prevent it from ever being attempted. This is clearly the furthest stretch on their list.
But what if we take into account computer-like consumption devices that are entirely or nearly totally closed? Home media devices already bear the fruit of Hollywood’s bullying–every late model HD-capable playback device that uses HDMI also carries the Image Constraint Token. This is the extraneous bit of the connector standard that let’s big content prevent playback on unapproved devices.
Is it that much further of a stretch to see the iPad and other such closed appliances targeted even more aggressively than home media components? I don’t see general purpose computers being bogged down with anything much worse than the DRM we face today but I could easily see a centrally controlled device being susceptible to threats to implement such an active policing system.
Such consumption peripherals are beholden to content providers since they have foregone the other legitimate uses to which a computer can be put that also generates significant value for the maker and the end user. Apple, with its continued use of DRM of books and movies has shown it is plenty willing to show its belly to the entertainment industries threats.