Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

TV Limits Copies

Filed under

Aiming to prevent mass piracy of digital TV programs, especially over the Internet, the Federal Communications Commission has mandated a new copy-protection scheme called the "broadcast flag." The FCC's ruling, which goes into effect this July, lets you make a backup copy of flagged shows, but no further copies.

The flag will be attached to "over the air" digital content--both network and local station programs, such as movies or prime-time series on NBC. Any device with a digital TV tuner can grab that content, whether it comes over an antenna or through a cable or satellite set-top box. The flag, basically a piece of code, will travel with any show that the broadcaster wants to protect.

In July, new consumer electronics devices--including tuner cards for computers--that receive digital TV signals must ship with the ability to recognize the flag and to respect its copy restrictions.

Without the flag's protection, television networks argue, Hollywood won't license its blockbusters to them as broadcasts go digital. Unlike copies made on analog media, a digital copy retains the quality of the original, whether it's a first-generation copy or a thousandth-; digital copies are also simpler to make and far easier to distribute, as peer-to-peer networks have shown.

Media companies hope the flag will help alleviate the content piracy problem, which costs the industry about $3.5 billion each year, according to the Motion Picture Association of America's calculations.

A legacy clause will let current products continue to work as usual, ignoring the flag. But questions about how future DVD technologies will allow you to make copies of shows and whether these technologies will interoperate remain unsettled.

At press time, several consumer groups were attempting to block the FCC plan in court (see "Fighting FCC's Copy Controls.") Nevertheless, broadcast flag-compliant devices are rolling off production lines now.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: Software

  • Rblpapi 0.3.5
    A new release of Rblpapi is now on CRAN. Rblpapi provides a direct interface between R and the Bloomberg Terminal via the C++ API provided by Bloomberg Labs (but note that a valid Bloomberg license and installation is required).
  • Flatpak 0.6.13
    These used to take an application id and an optional branch name as two arguments. This meant you could not specify multiple apps to install in a single command. So, instead of having the branch as a separate argument we now support partial references. If you only specify an id we try to match the rest as best we can depending on what is installed/available, but if this matches multiple things you have to specify more details.
  • New features on Hosted Weblate
    Today, new version has been deployed on Hosted Weblate. It brings many long requested features and enhancements.
  • A Wild Desktop Reddit App for Linux Appears
    Reddit is …Well it’s Reddit: there’s little else like it on the internet. Thos of us who use Reddit probably do so a tab, in a browser, because that’s how the site works best. Many desktop Reddit apps exist, but few translate the unique experience of using the service to the desktop in a way that really works.
  • Opera 41 Browser Brings Performance Improvements
    For those still using the Opera web-browser, Opera 41 is now available as the latest stable release and seems primarily focused on performance improvements.
  • Faster and better browsing – Welcome Opera 41
    We all know the feeling. You want to check out your favorite website, but when you open your laptop or turn on your computer, you realize the browser is closed. You click on the browser icon and then have to wait while the browser opens all your previously opened sites… We have a solution for you that makes your browsing faster: Opera 41 includes a new, smarter startup sequence that cuts away almost all the wait time, no matter how many tabs you open on startup.

today's howtos

Security News

  • Tuesday's security updates
  • We Got Phished
    She logged into her account but couldn’t find the document and, with other more urgent emails to deal with, she quickly moved on and put this brief event out of mind. This staff member will henceforth be known as PZ, or “patient zero.” The login page wasn’t really a login page. It was a decoy webpage, designed to look legitimate in order to trick unsuspecting recipients into typing in their private login credentials. Having fallen for the ruse, PZ had effectively handed over her email username and password to an unknown party outside the Exploratorium. This type of attack is known as “phishing.” Much like putting a lure into a lake and waiting to see what bites, a phishing attack puts out phony prompts, such as a fake login page, hoping that unwitting recipients can be manipulated into giving up personal information.
  • DDoS attacks against Dyn the work of 'script kiddies'
    Last week's distributed denial of service attack in the US against domain name services provider Dynamic Network Services are more likely to have been the work of "script kiddies", and not state actors. Security researchers at threat intelligence firm Flashpoint dismissed reports that linked the attack to WikiLeaks, the Russian government or the New World Hackers group. Instead, Flashpoint said, it was "moderately confident" that the Hackforums community was behind the attack which led to well-known sites like Twitter, Spotify, Netflix and Paypal being inaccessible on 21 October (US time).
  • How one rent-a-botnet army of cameras, DVRs caused Internet chaos
    Welcome to the Internet of Evil Things. The attack that disrupted much of the Internet on October 21 is still being teased apart by investigators, but evidence thus far points to multiple "botnets" of Internet-connected gadgets being responsible for blocking access to the Domain Name Service (DNS) infrastructure at DNS provider Dyn. Most of these botnets—coordinated armies of compromised devices that sent malicious network traffic to their targets—were controlled by Mirai, a self-spreading malware for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. in a blog post on the attack, Dyn reported "tens of millions" of devices were involved in the attack But other systems not matching the signature of Mirai were also involved in the coordinated attack on Dyn. "We believe that there might be one or more additional botnets involved in these attacks," Dale Drew, CSO of Level 3 Communications, told Ars. "This could mean that they are 'renting' several different botnets to launch an attack against a specific victim, in which multiple other sites have been impacted." The motive may have been blackmail, since the attacker sought a payout by Dyn to stop. But Drew warned that the huge disruption caused by the attack "could result in large copycat attacks, and [a] higher [number of] victim payouts [so] as to not be impacted in the same way. It could also be a signal that the bad guy is using multiple botnets in order to better avoid detection since they are not orchestrating the attack from a single botnet source."
  • ARM builds up security in the tiniest Internet of Things chips
    IoT is making devices smaller, smarter, and – we hope – safer. It’s not easy to make all those things happen at once, but chips that can help are starting to emerge. On Tuesday at ARM TechCon in Silicon Valley, ARM will introduce processors that are just a fraction of a millimeter across and incorporate the company’s TrustZone technology. TrustZone is hardware-based security built into SoC (system on chip) processors to establish a root of trust. It’s designed to prevent devices from being hacked and taken over by intruders, a danger that’s been in the news since the discovery of the Mirai botnet, which recently took over thousands of IP cameras to mount denial-of-service attacks.
  • Antique Kernel Flaw Opens Door to New Dirty Cow Exploit

Red Hat Open Tech to Run UKCloud’s Enterprise Platform; Radhesh Balakrishnan Comments

Red Hat and public cloud provider UKCloud have forged a partnership to develop an infrastructure-as-a-service cloud platform for the U.K. government’s work to deliver digital services to the public. UKCloud has standardized on Red Hat OpenStack Platform with Red Hat Ceph Storage to handle citizen web applications and government systems in behalf of public sector organizations across industries such as healthcare, defense and police and justice, Red Hat said Monday. Read more