What is a good idea to tell Joe Schmoe computer/audio/video electronics buyer about copy control (CSS, CPRM, etc.) before they go out to buy the copy-controlled crap? I'm thinking of handing out and taping down flyers outside the stores!

This is my idea for a flyer for CPRM products:

Before you go shopping for a new (insert entertainment device type here), read this:

The movie and music industry in Hollywood are pushing their idea of "technology" to your computer. Their new idea called Content Protection for Recordable Media is a technology that controls your right to do whatever you can do with your information in your computer. This technology will be used on portable music players, portable storage devices, and ultimately your computer.

What will this mean for the regular user?

If you're using some kind of CPRM-compliant portable music player and you want to move your music collection to your computer, you have to keep track of what is capable of being moved around and what can't. If you want to move your favorite portable-only song to a computer, you'll have to pay for it. The companies inside the RIAA are really interested in charging you every time to listen to new albums, and the MPAA wants to do the same if they want to see online movies made. The MPAA and RIAA as a whole were sore losers after internet services like Napster became popular, and they want to make sure you (the artist and the listener) have to pay only to them as much as possible.

What will this mean for the high-end computer and entertainment system users?

In the case of computers: if you want to add a CPRM-compliant hard drive, you have to replace the hard drive controller and possibly the software to make everything as compatible as possible. Even Microsoft is complaining about the difficulties of computer makers using such hardware while mass-installing software into new computers. If CPRM is going to make software setup hard for big computer makers, it can be even more so for people who want to move computer data around to backups and everything else. In the present day, DVD players are a dime-a-dozen, but DVD player software for computers is hard to find, especially for anything else that is outside the realm of Microsoft Windows-compatible software.

In the case of entertainment hardware: Don't be surprised if future movie and music technologies (replacing CDs and DVDs) will require more money and licenses to use. That will lead to higher prices for new media technologies, and less competition and diversity for stuff playing future CPRM-compliant media formats.

"While Microsoft would surely integrate the necessary code into its products, how do you add such a feature to an open-source operating system? And if you can't, does that mean non-Windows operating systems could not play new music?"

--Brad Templeton, chairman of the board for the EFF from a CNN news report (http://www.cnn.com/2001/TECH/computing/01/10/hard.drive.copy.protection.idg/index.html)

What can you do now?

As you go shopping for your new computer or entertainment hardware, ask the salespeople if what you're buying is CPRM-compliant. For the sake of your privacy, don't take it.

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