FC: Hollywood wants to plug "analog hole," regulate A-D conve rters

Trei, Peter ptrei at rsasecurity.com
Fri May 31 10:40:47 EDT 2002

> ----------
> From: 	Nomen Nescio[SMTP:nobody at dizum.com]
> Sent: 	Thursday, May 30, 2002 12:20 AM
> To: 	cryptography at wasabisystems.com; cypherpunks at lne.com
> Subject: 	Re: FC: Hollywood wants to plug "analog hole," regulate A-D
> converters
> Peter Trei writes:
> > My mind has been boggled, my flabbers have been ghasted.
> >
> > In the name of protecting their business model, the MPAA
> > proposes that every analog/digital (A/D) converter - one of
> > the most basic of chips - be required to check for US
> > government mandated copyright flags. Quite aside from
> > increasing the cost and complexity of the devices many,
> > manyfold, it eliminates the ability of the US to compete
> > in the world electronics market.
> This is absurd.  In all the commentary on this issue, no one has made
> the obvious point that the MPAA has no interest or intention in putting
> watermark detectors into every ADC chip!  They don't care about the ADC
> chip in a digital thermometer or even a cell phone.  All they care about
> are things like PC video capture cards, which are high fidelty consumer
> devices capable of digitizing copyright protected content.
> Their white paper is a brief summary of their goals and intentions and
> does not go into full technical detail.  But let's use a little common
> sense here, folks.
This is the actual paragraph that people are refering to:
[from http://judiciary.senate.gov/special/content_protection.pdf]
- start quote -
The primary means to address this issue, dubbed the "analog hole", is 
via embedded watermarks (which have additional applications as will 
be discussed below). In order to help plug the hole, watermark detectors 
would be required in all devices that perform analog to digital conversions.

In such devices (e.g., PC video capture cards), the role of the watermark 
detector would be to detect the watermark and ensure that the device 
responds appropriately.
- end quote -

Note that is refers to "all devices that perform analog to digital
I agree that compromising all a/d chip is probably not what the MPAA had
in mind (their example is a video capture card, a much more complex beast),
but overbroad language has gotten into too many laws for me to have any
that it can't happen again. What's going to happen when someone publishes
plans to remove the restrictions from a compromised vidcap card, and
how to mail order standard DACs? Will trafficing in DAC chips become a DMCA

> It's pointless to try to shoot down this proposal by raising all these
> horror stories about ADC chips in industrial and technical devices
> being crippled by a watermark detector which will never be activated.
> If you waste time developing this line of argument, you will be left
> with nothing to say when the actual bill focuses only on the specific
> devices that the content holders are worried about.

> Please, let's use some common sense and not go overboard with an obviously
> mistaken interpretation of the MPAA's intentions.  That wastes everyone's
> time.
I agree that the MPAA's reccomendation is laughable, but stupidity has never
stopped politicians from passing laws. 

Peter Trei

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