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MIT Student Grills Valenti on Fair Use 1162

Posted by timothy
from the un-something-believable dept.
kcsduke writes "Following a recent speech at MIT on Movies in the Digital Age (streaming audio available), MPAA front man Jack Valenti sat down for a revealing interview with The Tech, MIT's student newspaper. In this entertaining read, Keith J. Winstein grills Valenti on fair use and the right to play DVDs under GNU/Linux. My favorite part is when Winstein shows a dumbfounded Valenti a six-line DVD descrambler he's designed, to which Valenti responds with language inappropriate for the Slashdot homepage. Throughout the interview, Valenti demonstrates his ignorance and misunderstanding of fair use."
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MIT Student Grills Valenti on Fair Use

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  • by ghettoboy22 (723339) * <scott.a.johnson@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:34PM (#8998154) Homepage
    [Winstein shows Valenti his six-line "qrpff" DVD descrambler.]

    The Tech: If you type that in, it'll let you watch movies.

    Jack Valenti: You designed this?

    The Tech: Yes.

    Jack Valenti: Un-fucking-believable.
    • by avalys (221114) * on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:39PM (#8998216)
      Winstein's exaggerating a little, though: I certainly would find it un-fucking-believable if someone developed six lines of Perl that perform all the work involved in decrypting the DVD, decompressing the MPEG, and displaying the movie onscreen (with audio).

      All qrpff does is remove the (relatively simple) CSS encryption. Saying "this'll let you watch movies" was a little disingenuous of Winstein.
    • by JonTurner (178845) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:41PM (#8998236) Journal
      I'm not sure what to make of Valenti's response; what does he mean by that? UFB that someone would write a decryptor, UFB that the author wrote the code himself, or UFB that six little lines of the code bypasses CSS?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:42PM (#8998258)
      Jack Valenti: Un-fucking-believable.
      Did you misunderstand? He's saying it's unbelievable that a DMCA violator would show him proof right to his face!
      • Agreed (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Hanna's Goblin Toys (635700) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:54PM (#8999256) Homepage Journal
        Owning, posessing, transmitting or thinking about those 6 lines of code is punishable by ten years in prison, by a law Jack wrote himself. He's saying "un-fucking-believable" because he realizes the kid he is talking to is a living circumvention device, and the only successful solution is to legalize killing such people.

        FYI, this is the man that wrote the law that Apple is using to persecute PlayFair to the cheers of everyone at Slashdot. So stop making fun of him.
        • Re:Agreed (Score:5, Insightful)

          by debrain (29228) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:48PM (#8999991) Journal
          My interpretation was that Valenti was miffed about how the out-sourced company came up with such a crappy system. There were many a million invested into this DVD protection scheme. To see a fellow write 6 lines of Perl to circumvent millions in copyright protection investment could well be 'un-fucking-believable' to the fellow vicariously footing the bill.
        • Re:Agreed (Score:5, Interesting)

          by forand (530402) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @05:23PM (#9001185) Homepage
          FYI, this is the man that wrote the law that Apple is using to persecute PlayFair to the cheers of everyone at Slashdot. So stop making fun of him.
          Why should this mean that he isn't still a "Bad" person? I mean if I go and feed people at a soup kitchen does that mean I can then go beat up kids for thier lunch money? The idea that just because he wrote a law that some people like doesn't mean he is beyond ridicule.
    • by basil montreal (714771) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:42PM (#8998262) Homepage
      Oh, I disagree. This is at least as funny:

      "JV: Well, I can't believe there's not any -- there must be a reason for... Let me find out about that. You bring up an interesting question -- I don't know the answer to that... Well, you're telling me a lot of things I don't know
      • by Have Blue (616) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:47PM (#8999160) Homepage
        At the risk of getting flamebait/troll all over my good karma, I think it was unfortunate that the interviewer chose to browbeat Valenti with technical questions and focus on a single side effect of the core issue that Valenti could not be expected to be an expert on (the DVD situation on Linux). Had he stuck to the more general issues, like the fact that the behavior of legally purchased hardware is not entirely under the owner's control, he might have obtained more coherent answers that reveal more about Valenti's position, rather than cheapen the anti-DMCA camp by appearing to indulge in personal attacks.
        • by monkeydo (173558) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:03PM (#8999392) Homepage
          Maybe it's just because I'm not a zealot, but I don't see how that interview makes Valenti look like an idiot. The interviewer doesn't even ask him about fair-use, or any other non-technical questions, he just wants to know why he can't watch DVD's under Linux. Valenti replies that he doesn't know why no one makes a licensed DVD player for Linux, but there must be a good reason. The simple fact is that he's right. Why don't all the bitchers and whiners go out and write a licensed DVD player for Linux and SELL it it? There's such a big market for it, and it should be trivial to write, right?

          1. Write licensed Linux DVD player
          2. Sell licensed Linux DVD player
          3. Profit!!!!
          • by Paradise Pete (33184) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:26PM (#8999699) Journal
            Why don't all the bitchers and whiners go out and write a licensed DVD player for Linux

            It's the licensing part, not the writing part, that's causing the problem. It's an expensive process and you have to jump through a lot of hoops.

          • by the_mad_poster (640772) <shattoc@adelphia.com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:27PM (#8999715) Homepage Journal

            Did you know people are stupid enough to buy bottled water when they have clean tap water? I'll bet you could double your profits with those dumb people by selling the bottle with a lock on it, then licensing out the schematic for the key and suing anyone you just broke the lock off.

            Some people are smart enough to realize they can just break the lock since they already bought the bottle. Other people are infinitely denser and suggest that the problem is that nobody is buying licenses to the lock and selling a key.

            But, don't worry... maybe that just means you travel at the speed of light.. or something... or maybe you just don't see the inherent problem in criminalizing the activity of using something the consumer already paid for.

        • by MikeJ9919 (48520) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:27PM (#8999712) Homepage
          Whoa, whoa, hang on. Weinstein is entirely correct. When he tried to make an argument about the broadcast flag, Valenti argued that the law had to be crafted to reflect the majority and that small segments of the population who had legitimate gripes would always exist (which isn't entirely true...law must reflect the will of the majority while protecting the rights of the minority.)

          Weinstein then made the point that Linux users were a not-insubstantial portion of the population. This much is true. In addition, he made the point that this rather large segment of the population could not legally view DVDs on their computer without buying a separate DVD player or another operating system. I don't view this as a terribly technical problem. If I buy a DVD drive, I expect to be able to watch DVDs, just like I would have expected to be able to listen to music CDs if I bought a CD drive.

          Further proof that this is neither a small nor an especially technical problem is the fact that Valenti himself has addressed it before. He has banked on the promise of DVD software soon being available for Linux, but that has yet to materialize. However, it has not and, but for the DMCA, United States copyright law would have no qualms about me finding some way to watch the content that I own. That is what's wrong.
        • by Ironica (124657) <[pixel] [at] [boondock.org]> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:28PM (#8999717) Journal
          I think it was unfortunate that the interviewer chose to browbeat Valenti with technical questions and focus on a single side effect of the core issue that Valenti could not be expected to be an expert on (the DVD situation on Linux). Had he stuck to the more general issues, like the fact that the behavior of legally purchased hardware is not entirely under the owner's control, he might have obtained more coherent answers that reveal more about Valenti's position...

          But Valenti has many forums in which to reveal his position, if he's really interested in doing so. Personally, I think it's wonderful that the interviewer chose to take Valenti onto unfamiliar ground, to show the Jackass how much he truly doesn't know about his job.

          The legislation Valenti and the MPAA have pushed through has serious and real consequences for technology. It's not all right for them to ignore or dismiss those consequences. It's time someone called them on how much they don't know about what they're doing.
          • by Ageless (10680) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:54PM (#9000065) Homepage
            I think it's wonderful that the interviewer chose to take Valenti onto unfamiliar ground, to show the Jackass how much he truly doesn't know about his job.

            It's not Jack Valenti's job to make sure there are legal DVD players for Linux. It's his job to make sure that there are NOT illegal DVD players for Linux. His point is perfectly valid. It's possible today for someone to license the technology needed to make a legal DVD player for Linux, but everyone in the position to do so knows that the Linux users will just use the illegal players for free rather than pay for the legal ones.

            Linux users do not have a God or country given right to watch American Wedding on their Linux box. Just like when DVDs started to get popular people had to replace their VCRs with DVD players, Linux users need to give up their technology that doesn't work correctly and use that which does.

            P.S. I define "correctly" in this context as what is legal. So settle down cowboy.
            • by squiggleslash (241428) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:20PM (#9000352) Homepage Journal
              It's not Jack Valenti's job to make sure there are legal DVD players for Linux. It's his job to make sure that there are NOT illegal DVD players for Linux.
              Actually, no, it isn't his job. He's not a policeman. Indeed, the former example is more his job than the latter.

              It is Jack Valenti's job to look after the best interests of the movie industry, or at least that part formed of movie producers that are members of the MPAA.

              It most certainly is in the best interests of the members of the MPAA that there be ways of viewing DVDs on Linux. It may not be a terribly urgent thing, there may "only" be two million people affected by this, but it certainly helps the members of the MPAA if as many of their potential customers as possible can view their products. Because those who can't view them will not buy them.

              Jack would best serve the members of the MPAA by lobbying the DVD-CCA to issue a class license, right now, that counts all DVD players as authorized as long as they follow certain guidelines. The DVD-CCA will not do that, because the DVD-CCA has forced DVD set-top manufacturers to fork over vast dollops of cash for the same rights, and they'll make themselves immensely unpopular by suddenly giving them away for free, but that's the DVD-CCA's problem, not the MPAA's.

            • by RedWizzard (192002) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:33PM (#9000541)
              Linux users do not have a God or country given right to watch American Wedding on their Linux box.
              The point is that they should. A purchaser of a DVD should be able to do whatever they like with the DVD and it's content provided they don't break any copyright laws. They should be able to access the content however they like, they should be able to transfer that content between devices and media they own, they should be able to edit it for private viewing, and they should be able to quote small parts of it as fair use permits. You are allowed to do all these things with other media such as books and CDs, there is no reason you shouldn't be able to do the same with DVDs (or TV broadcasts). Prior to the DCMA you could, but the DCMA removes all of these rights in an underhanded way. The DCMA removed the country given right that Linux users used to have to watch American Wedding on their Linux box. That is why we hate it.
            • by sketerpot (454020) <sketerpot@gmail . c om> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @05:01PM (#9000896)
              Linux users do not have a God or country given right to watch American Wedding on their Linux box.

              And the movie companies do have a God or country given right to force us not to?

      • by 403Forbidden (610018) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:04PM (#8999417)
        What ever happened to the idea of "majority rule, minority rights" This entire interview brands users that aren't of the majority as invalid- and a law that restricts a morally unobjectionable use by a minority should have never been made.
    • by ameoba (173803) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:42PM (#8998263)
      That's actually a very common reaction to seeing your first Perl code & being told that it is not only human readable but actually performs a useful function.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:58PM (#8998509)
      Valenti asks "why would people object to it?"

      TT: I'll tell you, because I'm an engineer, I'm an engineering student, and this year I built a high-definition television, from scratch. But because of the broadcast flag, if I wanted to do that again after July 2005, that would be illegal.

      JV: How many people in the United States build their own sets?

      TT: Well, I'm talking about engineers.

      JV: Let's say there are a thousand. But there are 284 million people in this country. You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way.

      Okay. The simple clear response for Congress -- and maybe even JV can understand -- is that those thousand engineers represent the technological future progress of the USA.

      And you don't want to keep them from playing in their natural turf. Sure most people don't want to build their own sets. But you let those who do, do so; that is, unless you want a dumbed-down, incompetent populace... down to the very last potential engineer.

      In that case, pretty soon, the un-fucking-believable innovations are going to come from other places, that favor freedom.

      Get it, Jack?

      More to the point, get it, Congress?

      Okay, can somebody put this in politer, more persuasive language...?
      • by Wah (30840) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:10PM (#8998690) Homepage Journal
        "In fact, many or most inventions were developed by people driven by curiosity or by a love of tinkering, in the absense of any initial demand for the product they had in mind."
      • by ruzel (216220) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:32PM (#8998958) Homepage
        I think it's even a little more clear than the parent post states since this is a rights issue. The United States is a democratic republic whose objective is to rule by the majority while protecting the rights of minorities. Political Science 101. Since copyright is about rights it should be clear that this is a prime example of where the majority (The Corporate States of America) are trampling on the rights of a minority (apparently any intelligent people in the US who want to DIY)

        In every instance of copyright vs technology, real innovation (innovation by individuals) is being hampered by corporations depserate to hang on to their profits. Congress should just come clean and pass a law stating that coporations in the US have a right to profits.

        Worse than that, perhaps, is that Valenti gets the rights issue wrong! He talks about stealing something from someone. Copyright is just that, the right to copy. He and no one else *owns* the art (movie, picture, photo, etc). As a copyright holder you have the right to copy the presentation of the idea -- it does not mean you own the idea. Copyright is not a property right! It is a right to copy. Valenti just muddles the whole debate.
        ________________________________
      • by baxissimo (135512) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:49PM (#8999196)
        JV: Let's say there are a thousand. But there are 284 million people in this country. You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way.

        Yeh, that's a good point. Here's another -- how many people are in wheelchairs out there? It's not *that* many. In fact I don't know anyone in a wheelchair. So why should we have public policy aimed specifically at those people when there are multi-multi-millions of us who aren't crippled? It's another case, just like Skippy Valenti said, where You can't do it that way. To hell with the ADA. Those folks in wheel chairs should go buy their own damn ramps if they want to get into buildings. And tell 'em Jack sent ya!
      • by schon (31600) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:04PM (#8999414)
        You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way.

        So what he's saying is that it's OK to take away part of a constitutionally-guaranteed right (freedom of expression), because only a small fraction of the population actually uses it.

        Un-fucking-believeable
    • by santos_douglas (633335) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:14PM (#8998739) Journal
      TT: I'll tell you, because I'm an engineer, I'm an engineering student, and this year I built a high-definition television, from scratch. But because of the broadcast flag, if I wanted to do that again after July 2005, that would be illegal.

      JV: How many people in the United States build their own sets?

      TT: Well, I'm talking about engineers.

      JV: Let's say there are a thousand. But there are 284 million people in this country. You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way.

      Get's my vote for most significant, because actually, by the original intent of IP law, advancement of arts and science is (not advancement of commerce) the root justification. This also goes to the minority vs majority rule argument, but someone else already made that one.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:35PM (#8998167)
    Cause it's spelled right?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:37PM (#8998191)
    Valenti is 82 years old. I have a hard time believing he said "un-fucking-believable." More likely he called Keith a "good for nothing whippersnapper" and then hurled his cane at him.
  • by joelparker (586428) <joel@school.net> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:38PM (#8998196) Homepage
    He's a smart guy-- no one gets to his level
    without substantial skills and experience.
    And the MPAA is leagues ahead of the RIAA...
    • by shadowmatter (734276) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:53PM (#8998406)
      But still, no one takes them seriously.

      If you've been to the theater recently you might have seen before these short interviews before the movie with a stuntman, camera operator, or some "behind the scenes" guy explaining what he or she does in every film, and how it's their work of art. And how if you trade a movie online, or "download it with a click," you're taking that art for granted and not appreciating its beauty, which should be paid for.

      First, that person should never have called all movies art. He or she obviously never saw "Ecks vs. Sever."

      Second, whenever one of those trailers plays in a theater with several hundred college students inside, everyone's gut response is laughter. I think the first time I saw one of those interviews was right before Spiderman, and the whole theater was balling.

      Also, as an interesting note, the original versions of those short interviews were with big-league directors and actors -- not the small guys on the set. For obvious reasons their pleas not to download movies and avoid paying for them weren't too effective on the test audience...

      Also, one thing I noticed from the article:

      JV: I don't want to get into the definition of morality.

      So apprently, we can't get into the definition of morality, but nonetheless we're going to legislate it?

      - sm
      • by Spazholio (314843) <slashdot@noSpam.lexal.net> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:01PM (#8998539) Homepage
        Second, whenever one of those trailers plays in a theater with several hundred college students inside, everyone's gut response is laughter. I think the first time I saw one of those interviews was right before Spiderman, and the whole theater was balling. (emphasis mine)

        Errrr....I think you mean bawling, as balling is usually illegal in a theater, and it's unusual to see an entire theatre doing it at once...
      • by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:10PM (#8998678) Homepage
        These people are remarkably crude considering what their business is. You don't persuade people by hitting them over the head with an idea and whinning to them. You want your audience to come to the desired conclusion thinking that it was all their doing. Don't whine at the audience, just point their minds in the right direction.

        The part of this that I find the most hilarious is this "why do they pirate" question is followed by several minutes of TV commercial style SPAM.

        These spots should have been nothing more than sympathetic profiles with no references to their actual intent.
      • I always point out one of two key facts to the people sitting near me when I see those little propagandlets:

        A) The guy on screen was most likely paid up front for his work, he's not getting a percentage of the box office take, so "piracy" doesn't affect him. (unless you belive Hollywood is gonna pack up their toys and go home, *and* that nobody will step up to replace them)

        2) The people being forced to sit through this shit are the ones that just *paid* to see the damn movie.
    • by kfg (145172) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:56PM (#8998463)
      Yes, but it's often one gets to that level by having substantial skills and experience at rising up through the levels.

      This has nothing to do with any other sort of skill, experience or intelligence. Some otherwise rather dull and ignorant people are rather good at it.

      In fact, I was just yesterday reading that observation about Idi Amin. A crude, unintelligent man, with obviously no skills at leadership, but with a certain animal cunning that allowed him to rise up through the ranks, and even remain a free, and in certain circles, even respected man, who died at an old age, in bed.

      Simply having achieved some sort of lofty status says little to nothing about a man, and might simply say he's a right bastard.

      KFG
  • Wasted (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sweet cunny muffin (771671) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:38PM (#8998204)
    I'm surprised that they got him to be so open and reasonable to questions, but disappointed that they got some hot head amateur to do the interviewing. Showing off his own stuff with no rhetoric behind it isn't informative and doesn't get anything interesting from the interviewee.
    • Re:Wasted (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lukewarmfusion (726141) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:43PM (#8998273) Homepage Journal
      I think the intent (from the MPAA) was to give the "hot head amateur" a chance to make a fool of himself. Valenti is a very polished, very smooth character that knows how to argue and can be quite persuasive.

      The downside of this interview is that the kid fails to really achieve anything substantial, other than showing Valenti to be out-of-touch.

      The "bypass copy protection" law is directly contradictory to copyright and fair use laws. Valenti doesn't acknowledge that, which is frustrating. I understand his point, but it doesn't make him any less wrong.
      • Re:Wasted (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Tackhead (54550) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:55PM (#8998450)
        > Valenti is a very polished, very smooth character that knows how to argue and can be quite persuasive.

        One of these things is not like the other.
        One of these things does not belong.

        Polished, smooth, persuasive. Check.
        Knows how to argue. Negative.

        Valenti: "I never believe in hostile debates. That's not my style. I believe that we ought to talk objectively about it."

        Because, after all, Valenti is being objective, therefore anyone who opposes him must be irrational. Why would you pay attention to someone irrational?

        Valenti: "But I try to make things simple and clear as I can,"

        And the simplest position is to say "Well, this guy says he's being objective, and therefore he must be right."

        Valenti: "But you can do everything you're doing right now -- you'll never know there's a broadcast flag. Well, why would people object to it?"

        Because everything you're doing is obviously the same as what Mr. Objective thinks "everyone" is doing. And why would anyone object to Mr. Objective?

        Valenti: "But there are 284 million people in this country. You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way. "

        No, he's not saying that public policy should be geared towards the 284,000,000 people instead of 100,000 movie industry employees. He's saying "fuck 100,000 engineers over instead"

        Because even though a few thousand movie industry employees can somehow create value for 284,000,000 Americans... it wouldn't be objective to assume that a few thousand engineers might be able to do something similar.

        You get the point. The gaps in Valenti's logic are big enough to drive a galactic supercluster through. He couldn't argue his way out of a paper bag.

        But he is indeed very polished, very smooth, and can be quite persuasive to anyone who has no capacity for rational thought, but a great admiration for polishedness, smoothness, and persuasiveness: Your Congressman.

        I loathe Valenti's vision of the world - but I have to give him credit. He's perfect for the job. And he's won.

    • Wasted? I disagree (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:04PM (#8998579) Journal
      From the article:
      JV: Well, I can't believe there's not any -- there must be a reason for... Let me find out about that. You bring up an interesting question -- I don't know the answer to that... Well, you're telling me a lot of things I don't know.

      TT: Okay. Well, how can we have this dialogue?

      JV: Well, we're having it right now. I want to try to find out the point you make on why are there no Linux licensed players. There must be a reason -- there has to be a reason. I don't know.

      Sounds like progress to me. Mr Valenti sounded like he was willing to listen and do something about this.
  • by sulli (195030) * on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:38PM (#8998205) Journal
    Valenti responds with language inappropriate for the Slashdot homepage.

    Valenti replies with ascii-art pr0n? Cool!

  • by JeanBaptiste (537955) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:39PM (#8998210)
    thats truly amazing how Jack Valenti has no clue about the position he is taking.

    none whatsoever.

    scary.

    maybe I should get into the MPAA. im pretty clueless most of the time also, i'd fit right in.
    • by RayBender (525745) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:50PM (#8998372) Homepage
      thats truly amazing how Jack Valenti has no clue about the position he is taking.


      Not at all. He just doesn't care about the consequences to engineers/tinkerers. This illustrates his attitude rather well: "Let's say there are a thousand. But there are 284 million people in this country. You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way."



      Of course, he's set up a false dichotomy (100,000 engineers vs. 284 million Americans, when it really should be 100,000 engineers vs. ~100 major stockholders).

    • I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rufus88 (748752) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:59PM (#8998513)
      I keep seeing people say this, but I don't get it. I read the interview, and it seems to me that he was neither clueless nor unreasonable. He was surprised to find out how simple the decryption code is, but he's not clueless about his position. His position was basically that it isn't immoral for you to watch DVDs on Linux, but it's wrong to circumvent an encryption without a license for the decryption software, since if you do it for benign reasons, anyone else can do it for copyright infringement. Now, you may disagree with him, but in what way is he clueless about his own position? The only cluelessness I saw was on the part of the interviewer who didn't know about the Linspire licensed DVD playback software.
  • by Famatra (669740) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:39PM (#8998212) Journal

    [Winstein shows Valenti his six-line "qrpff" DVD descrambler.]

    The Tech: If you type that in, it'll let you watch movies.

    Jack Valenti: You designed this?

    The Tech: Yes.

    Jack Valenti: Un-fucking-believable.


    The Tech: And look at this thing called Freenet [sourceforge.net], it allows you to publish movies without fear of being caught.

    Jack Valenti: Oh my fucking heart, stop! <dies>

  • by realmolo (574068) * on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:40PM (#8998227)
    Look, Valenti is a fucker. No doubt about that.

    But jumping on him because there's no licensed DVD player for Linux? How is that his fault?

    Yes, it sucks that to play DVDs, you have to buy a license. But...so?

    There are no licensed DVD players for Linux because no one wants to (or needs to, or would) pay for one. End of story.

    Jesus. Someone finally gets a chance to grill Valenti and they blow it.
    • by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:50PM (#8998363) Homepage
      It wasn't too bad. It was a nice start.

      However, the interviewer should have brought up the point that engineers make products for the REST OF US. If engineers can't do something, then than will kill innovation and restrict what the other 299 million people can do.

      That's the big hole in Valenti's "make policy for the majority" argument.

      As far as jumping down his throat for the lack of a Linux DVD player: Yes he's to blame for that. He set's the policy that the rest of his licensed toadies have to follow. He creates the cartel environment that prevents individual companies from acting truely independently.

      There could have been a shareware DVD player by now if not for this cartel BS.

      This cartel environment is also something that's "bad in principle". He's also essentially conspiring with Microsoft to help prevent small, innovative software companies from competing on a level playing field. It's one thing for device drivers to be non-existent due to lack of interest and it's another for key multimedia apps to be non-existent due to gratuitous legal entanglements.

      This is all due to the fact that DVD is not a genuine open standard.

    • by Draknor (745036) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:53PM (#8998409) Homepage
      I actually have to agree with the parent - the interview didn't focus on "fair rights", it focused on a very narrow point - particularly, playing DVDs under Linux. I think the DMCA is over-reaching and I don't agree with it, but its not the fault of the MPAA that no company has produced a licensed DVD player for linux (ie MPAA, to my knowledge, has not prevented a company from doing so) - that's a market forces decision. Obviously no company thinks such a program is a viable commercial offering, so no one produces it.

      I think the interview actually made Valenti look like a good guy - he had consistent, intelligent responses. The interviewer bordered on whining with his "I rented a DVD at Blockbuster, why is it illegal for me to play it with my 6-line Linux DVD program on my homebuilt HDTV?" argument, repeated ad nauseum.
    • by Spoing (152917) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @05:03PM (#9000922) Homepage
      1. Yes, it sucks that to play DVDs, you have to buy a license. But...so?

      If it's only a licence, I've got that. I actually have a few spares. Every DVD drive I've bought was bundled with Windows DVD playing software. A few system boards too.

      I'd like to see this legal proceeding;

      1. Judge: So, why didn't you use a licenced player?
      2. Defendant: I had one, but it didn't run under Linux.

        Judge: But you could have used that player.

        Defendant: It would be unreasonable your honor.

        Judge: Is that a fact?

        Defendant: Using the same machine, I would have to purchase an operating system from a third party ... install it ... and use the software for DVD playing, right?

        Judge: Continue.

        Defendant: The licence has been paid once, why burden myself and others to go out of our way to pay it yet a second time or to go through special steps that bear an additional cost. The proscution has already recieved payment. Forcing the use of a third party product would benifit no one represented in this case. The prosecution is not under any obligation to provide software. They in fact don't provide any software at all, only the licence. They are obligated to live up to the already paid for licence, though. Does the The prosecution does not refute that the licence has been paid for in full already.

        Judge: Isn't the licence tied to the software, and the software does not run under Linux?

        Defendant: The software was sold as a bundle with my DVD drive. As such, it is already tied to the same hardware -- if Linux is running or some other operating system. That said, if it were purchased without hardware, it would still be one licence paid for the device in question.

        Judge: It actually is not, because you aren't using the licenced software under Linux.

        Defendant: If two different licenced software players for two different DVD drives were used as the manufacturer recommends...but the two players were switched on each machine...would there be a violation? They are not using the right operating system or hardware, Linux or not, yet the licence has been paid in both cases.

        Judge: Yet, you can't use Linux and this licenced software.

        Defendant: True, your honor, and for that we do not ask for a remedy from the prosecution. It is a technical issue; the licence has been undisputedly paid. It was tied to the hardware, so any method to make use of the paid for licence would be reasonable and have no impact on both the licensee and the licensor.

        Judge: Hmmm....

  • by Sanity (1431) * on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:40PM (#8998230) Homepage Journal
    Throughout the interview, Valenti demonstrates his ignorance and misunderstanding of fair use.
    You can be sure that Valenti understands fair use at least as well as most of the slashdot crowd - the point is that his job is not to explain the truth to people, it is to explain the MPAA's truth to them, and this definitely does not involve explaining to people what their fair use rights are.

    People like Valenti are paid to have certain beliefs, and they have no incentive to change those beliefs just because they happen to be wrong, moreover, expect Valenti to use every rhetorical technique in the book to obfuscate the real issues.

    The value of this type of debate is to point out the inconsistencies in the MPAA position, but you can argue until hell freezes over, Valenti will never (publicly) agree with our position on fair use.

  • My favorite exchange (Score:4, Interesting)

    by amichalo (132545) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:41PM (#8998237)


    JV: There's lots of machines you can play it on.

    TT: None under Linux. There's no licensed player under Linux.

    JV: But you're trying to set your own standards.

    TT: No, you said four years ago that people under Linux should use one of these licensed players that would be available soon. They're still not available -- it's been four years.

    JV: Well why aren't they available? I don't know, because I don't make Linux machines.

    Let me put it in my simple terms. If you take something that doesn't belong to you, that's wrong. Number two, if you design your own machine, you can't fuss at people, because you're one of just a few. How many Linux users are there?

    TT: About two million.

    JV: Well, I can't believe there's not any -- there must be a reason for... Let me find out about that. You bring up an interesting question -- I don't know the answer to that... Well, you're telling me a lot of things I don't know.
  • Whatever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stratjakt (596332) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:41PM (#8998238) Journal
    So the gist of this interview is some nerd stickin it to Valenti about there being no legal way to watch DVDs on Linux.

    Meanwhile, 6 or 7 articles before this one, was there not an article about Turbolinux shipping with a licensed DVD player, and WMP licenses?

    Oh, there's not a "Free as in gimme gimme i deserve it" DVD player for linux.

    Lies and horseshit won't help the 'cause'.
    • Re:Whatever (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mahdi13 (660205) <icarus.lnx@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:57PM (#8998466) Journal
      Meanwhile, 6 or 7 articles before this one, was there not an article about Turbolinux shipping with a licensed DVD player, and WMP licenses?
      Someone needs to learn to read dates...
      This interview was from April 16, 2004
      TurboLinux made the announcement yesterday and on top of that it mentions the player, but CyberLink does not have a listing for the product [gocyberlink.com]

      How is anyone suppose to be able to use a product that does not exist yet?
    • Re:Whatever (Score:5, Insightful)

      by IWannaBeAnAC (653701) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:57PM (#8998489)
      I think the point is, the algorithm for breaking CSS is so widely known and has been refined to the point that it is simply a few lines of perl, but these few lines of perl are illegal. Not a trade secret, not copyright infringement, not a patent infringement, but illegal under a new law called the DMCA that makes it illegal to break encryption, no matter now flawed or trivial that encryption may be, and no exceptions for fair use.

      This will probably be applied to books soon. I can imagine how it will work: the text will be printed as a mirror image. This probably satisfies the legal defintion of "effective encryption". The fact that the algorithm for breaking the encyption (ie. using a mirror) is public domain is irrelevant, it is still illegal. The only way to legally read such a book would be to buy a special 'licensed' mirror, which comes with all sorts of additional restrictions.

      Now do you see the issue here?

  • Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by AceCaseOR (594637) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <esac.rednaxela>> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:41PM (#8998244) Homepage Journal
    Valenti responds with language inappropriate for the Slashdot homepage

    There's langauage inappropriate for Slashdot? News for me.

  • by molo (94384) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:43PM (#8998274) Journal
    qrpff.pl (beware slashdot's line wraping)
    $_='while(read+STDIN,$_,2048){$a=29;$c=142;if((@a= unx"C*",$_)[20]&48){$h=5;
    $_=unxb24,join"",@b=map {xB8,unxb8,chr($_^$a[--$h+84])}@ARGV;s/...$/1$&/;$ d=
    unxV,xb25,$_;$b=73;$e=256|(ord$b[4])<<9|ord$b[ 3];$d=$d>>8^($f=($t=255)&($d
    >>12^$d>>4^$d^$d/8)) <<17,$e=$e>>8^($t&($g=($q=$e>>14&7^$e)^$q*8^$q<<6) )<<9
    ,$_=(map{$_%16or$t^=$c^=($m=(11,10,116,100,1 1,122,20,100)[$_/16%8])&110;$t
    ^=(72,@z=(64,72,$a ^=12*($_%16-2?0:$m&17)),$b^=$_%64?12:0,@z)[$_%8]}( 16..271))
    [$_]^(($h>>=8)+=$f+(~$g&$t))for@a[128.. $#a]}print+x"C*",@a}';s/x/pack+/g;eval
    A discussion of this obfuscated perl program is here: qrpff Explained [plover.com].
  • by Lord Kano (13027) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:45PM (#8998292) Homepage Journal
    Jack Valenti keeps saying that he's not talking about morality. He's trying to sidestep the issue because he knows he can't win on it. In America, or the rest of the free world for that matter, people aren't going to buy into the argument that you shouldn't be allowed to do something with your own property. It would be the equivalent of GM trying to make it illegal for you to use a Fram oil filter on your car instead of an AC Delco.

    Jack keeps arguing in circles. It is illegal to watch DVDs on an unlicensed player because it's illegal.

    How can one seriously respect that line of thinking?

    LK
  • by DoorFrame (22108) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:45PM (#8998301) Homepage
    Valenti actually seemed to understand the issues pretty well, and he gave pretty cogent answers to the interviewers questions. The only thing that seemed to stump/baffle him, was the fact that there are currently no Linux DVD players on the market. Otherwise, every question was answered in a straightforward manner, pretty much always coming back to: "If you don't have permission to watch a copyrighted work, then it's not ok to make digital copies to circumvent the encryption and watch that work. You'll have to find a legal and authorized means to view the content." I don't agree with him, but it's hard to say that he didn't understand the issue.

    Also, I'd imagine that next time he'll have done a little bit more research and have something of an answer for the Linux DVD player question.

    Other than that, I think it's a little bit unfair to say that he doesn't understand the issues. Remember, disagreeing is not the same as not understanding.
    • by marcop (205587) <marcopNO@SPAMslashdot.org> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:25PM (#8998880) Homepage
      In addition to the Linux DVD player problem. I would like to see someone ask Valenti about the morality of circumventing region codes to watch legally purchased DVDs from other countries.

      For example, I researched and purchased an off-brand DVD player for my father that could play Italian (region 2) DVDs in the US. When he travels to Italy he likes to bring back some DVDs so he can watch them in his native language. Subtitles don't cut it for him. Technically speaking he is breaking the law when he watches one of these movies.

      I want to hear it from Valenti's mouth whether or not this type of thing should be allowed.
  • Many and Few? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lavaforge (245529) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:46PM (#8998313)
    TT: I'll tell you, because I'm an engineer, I'm an engineering student, and this year I built a high-definition television, from scratch. But because of the broadcast flag, if I wanted to do that again after July 2005, that would be illegal.

    JV: How many people in the United States build their own sets?

    TT: Well, I'm talking about engineers.

    JV: Let's say there are a thousand. But there are 284 million people in this country. You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way.


    It's been a while since my civics class, but isn't our entire country founded on the idea that people have certain inalienable rights, even in the face of a majority that wishes to take away those rights?
  • by Dragonfly (5975) <jddaigle@ m a c.com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:47PM (#8998322) Homepage
    That's what Valenti said when the interviewer asked him why he can't (legally) play back a DVD on a computer running Linux. I think that captures the issue very well.

    Valenti and those sharing his views on copyright believe that we (the consumers) should only be able to view works on devices that they approve, at a time and place allowed by them, and how ever many times they want us to.

    However, fair use standards CLEARLY state that consumers are allowed to view copyrighted work however they please, as long as they have paid for it. There is no law or statute that allows copyright holders to force consumers to view their work only on certain devices. The DMCA's anti-circumvention provision has this effect, but it would be a blatant anti-trust violation to allow copyright holders to tell consumers they could only view their works on certain devices.

    Another notable quote from Valenti is that he is a "great persuader". We need people advocating for consumer's rights who are just as smooth and soothing to technophobe politicians and Valenti is. We need a Good Old Boy to evangelize to the Good Old Boys. Even if Valenti found qrpff "un-fucking-believable", he still left the interview with the opinion that such tools should not be legal. A dialog is most successful when each side can identify with the other on a personal level.
  • Well spoken. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by t1nman33 (248342) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:47PM (#8998326) Homepage
    I don't like the MPAA any more than anybody else does, but it was a good interview. I think he expressed his side of the argument pretty succinctly: allowing encryption circumvention, for any reason, opens a can of worms. Much easier to avoid any kind of a slippery slope by saying, "If you want to watch this, get a licensed watching mechanism."

    So, really, what is being said is, when you buy a DVD, you are not buying a physical product. What you are buying the right to view some content in a prescribed manner on an authorized device.

    That's really the crux of the argument. We are geeks. We like to take things apart and use them in ways the original designers did not intend. That screws with ideas of the establishment.

    What WE are saying is, "I got this free Cue-Cat scanner, and it belongs to me, and if I want to take the pieces apart and grind them into confetti or build a moon laser or whatever, I can do that, because it belongs to me."

    What THEY are saying is, "You do not actually own that physical Cue-Cat scanner, you have a license to use that device in the manner we have declared, in the same way that you cannot use your cable TV box to get channels you haven't paid for."
    • Re:Well spoken. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kwil (53679) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:58PM (#8998494)
      What they aren't saying, however, is if what I've purchased is a license:

      1. Where are the terms?
      2. Where's my signature?
      3. Where's my replacement if my current media breaks or is damaged in some way?

    • Re:Well spoken. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by red floyd (220712) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:58PM (#8998495)
      I'd really like someone to go after the studios for false advertising.

      They advertise DVDs as "[INSERT MOVIE NAME HERE]: Buy it today!!!" or "[INSERT MOVIE NAME HERE]: Own it today!!!"

      Yet, the MPAA (and the studios) claim that you're not buying it, but licensing it! Has to be a false advertising claim in there somewhere....

      Somehow I think "[INSERT MOVIE NAME HERE]: License it today!!!" wouldn't sell so well...
    • by Drunken_Jackass (325938) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:36PM (#8999009) Homepage
      I get your point, and it annoys me that it the MPAA is saying that I'm only licensed to view the video in it's prescribed manner, on an authorized device.

      But I have a question - isn't this a bit like the label on a can of spray paint - you know the one - it's unlawful to use this product in any manner other than its intended use (I'm paraphrasing). If I buy a can of silver spray paint from Walmart and then huff it in my living room for 30 minutes, I'm breaking the law. Not because i don't own the paint in the can, but because i'm using the paint in a manner that isn't in line with its intended use.

      Now, if I buy a DVD, what am i buying - the video, right (it's not like i'm buying a game, which is in fact only a license to play the game, really)? Does it say anywhere on that DVD that I can only use it in a manner prescribed by the manufacturer? I mean - there's a FBI warning about not copying it, but i'm pretty sure I have to actually watch it to see that warning. But to my knowledge, it doesn't state anywhere that I've only purchased the right to view the video on prescribed hardware under a specific license agreement.

      Does it?

  • input please (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beatbyte (163694) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:47PM (#8998334) Homepage
    JV: Let's say there are a thousand. But there are 284 million people in this country. You can't have public policy that is aimed at 100,000 people when the other multi-multi-millions are also involved. You can't do it that way.

    Has ANYONE heard of your rights end where mine begin?

    Taking away someone else's rights is NOT your right.

    It sucks that pirates use stuff to copy their overpriced pieces of round plastic... but I have the right to play a DVD in linux, build an HDTV, etc. as long as I don't steal content. They shouldn't be able to take that away from me just because its a convenient and easy way for them to fight to protect RIAA/MPAA materials.
  • Broadcast Flag (Score:5, Interesting)

    by -tji (139690) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:55PM (#8998442) Journal
    Valenti's comments on the Broadcast Flag are a bit misleading:

    The broadcast flag -- if you are in your home, then you can copy anything that's on over-the-air television to your heart's content. The only time that you will know there's a broadcast flag is if you try to take one of those copies and redistribute it on the Internet. Then, the flag says, 'No, you can't redistribute it.' But you can do everything you're doing right now -- you'll never know there's a broadcast flag. Well, why would people object to it?

    The unspoken assumption here is that you have scrapped all of your existing hardware, and bought new hardware that has support for all of the DRM copy protection. So, the chipset will honor the flags, all the hardware will support the encryption, and the signal will never be available on the system while decrypted.

    My current system does a fine job of HDTV recording and playback. So, it's not just a cpu power upgrade requirement. It's a purely manufactured requirement that I need to use their encryption, and have a computer that obeys their commands, not mine.

    Also, the interviewer does not do a good job of making the point. He brings up some bullshit point about making his own HDTV, which Valenti easily skewers as being irrelevant to 99.999% of people. He should have made the much more valid point of the millions of TV tuner cards out there today will not be available in the digital TV world without people buying MPAA approved hardware.

    (As an aside, WTF was the kid yalking about reqarding his HDTV? I'm pretty sure he didn't create his own CRT or other display device, and all supporting electronics.. that's very difficult from a manufacturing perspective. I would guess that he "made" a HDTV decoder system by plugging in a PCI card from pchdtv.com)
  • by Jerk City Troll (661616) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:57PM (#8998475) Homepage
    I do not believe that you have the right to override an encryption. Because if you have the right to do it, everybody can do it.

    This struck me as being at the heart of Valenti's misunderstanding of the issues important to us. The whole purpose of encryption is to guard the data whether or not it is in a hostile environment. The Nazis didn't go running around screaming "you can't do that, it's not your right" when British intelligence cracked Enigma. Instead, they responded with a stronger cypher.

    If your encryption can be cracked, it's not a matter of rights or privileges. It's matter of technology. Your encryption is weak and you need to make it stronger. Then you don't need social laws to prevent people from cracking it. The laws of mathematics do that for you, and do a much better job.

    Of course, I cannot speculate on how that would change the dynamics of the situation. It may improve because it might eliminate their motivation to push for bad laws to prop up their weak system. Solving technological problems with technology is better than solving them with legality.

  • When I saw this, I was looking forward to a decent intellectual discussion about fair-use and the Movie Industry's abuse of our rights, but IMHO the author simply manages to take a few pot-shots at a guy he dislikes. He doesn't ask a single question that would enlighten us as to how the MPAA thinks or what it's future strategy might be. He just asks loaded questions like:
    TT: Indeed, but are you doing that when you rent a movie from Blockbuster and you watch it at home? ... I run Linux on my computer. There's no product I can buy that's licensed to watch [DVDs]. If I go to Blockbuster and rent a movie and watch it, am I a bad person? Is that bad?
    He's lucky Valenti didn't ask him if he thought people would buy such a product if it existed or if people would continue to "break the law". Why not address the issue head-on and discuss the main premise, that government and corporations cannot trod on the rights of consumers because of a priori concerns about piracy?

    Probably Valenti tells this same story to his buddies to illustrate how difficult it is to have a dialog with fair-use advocates.

  • Missing a fact (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tube013 (309846) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:10PM (#8998683) Journal
    Every Computer I have bought with a dvd drive, and every dvd drive I have bought for myself to put in a computer includes software to play back encrypted dvds (windvd etc). Point is if you buy the drive and it has the software, then you should have the right to use the drive to play dvds. Just because you aren't using the software, doesn't mean that the oem didn't have to give their $.10 to the MPAA to bundle it with the drive/computer. This is a fact that is ignored way too much.
  • by mgpeter (132079) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:18PM (#8998795) Homepage
    Why did the interviewer stop and only harp on the one question of viewing movies under Linux ?

    What about:

    What is the use of the Region Codes, especially on old DVDs, (and how can the MPAA create their own copyright laws like this - totally bypassing the current laws) ?

    How did the movie industry become what it is today, especially knowing it was founded by people frustrated by the control of Thomas Edison and decided to create an organization to fight that control ?

    How exactly does the MPAA view copyright, is your definition include total control of anything you create, not just redistribution ? What about fair use ? Or better yet what about unregulated uses, such as me watching a DVD I bought on a toaster if I wanted to ?

  • by gearmonger (672422) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:20PM (#8998817)
    If you care about this issue enough to follow any of the links above, you should read Lessig's "Free Culture" [free-culture.org] -- hell, you don't even have to pay for it (available as a free download). It's an excellent read that clearly outlines both sides of the issue (including de-FUDding many of Valenti's statements).
  • My situation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jackjumper (307961) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:23PM (#8998849)
    Here's my situation, and I think it's illegal, but I'll be damned if I don't. I'm sure Jack would think it's illegal:

    My son is in Kindergarden. His class is putting on a play based on the book 'Click Clack Moo, Cows that Type' (it's a good book - check it out if you have small kids). Last year the school did 'The very quiet cricket'.

    I'm assuming that the school purchased a license or has some sort of comprehensive license to put on plays based on copywritten material.

    So the question is: Can I videotape my son's perfomance?

    I asked my Senator (Patrick Leahy) this, since he's a big DMCA booster (but is good in most other ways).

    What do you think?
  • Valenti's point (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cranx (456394) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:24PM (#8998866)
    First of all, grilling Valenti on why there are no licensed DVD players capable of running under Linux is disingenuous. That's something that's driven by the market, not politics. Linux is not inherently more capable than Windows of pirating a movie. In fact, I find converting a DVD to a DIVX file much easier to do in Windows. Valenti wouldn't have the answer to "why there are no licensed players for Linux." Sony, Pioneer, JVD, etc. would have the answer to that. If they wanted to support a DVD player on Linux, they're not barred from doing that.

    Too many of you are so fanatically blinded by your ambitions that you don't see some fundamental points Valenti made. If a distributor wants to release content in a restricted manner, tough shit for you; it's their content, deal. It's wrong to try and end-run someone's encryption, no matter how easy it is to do. Ease does not make it right. It's easy to pick fruit from a neighbors tree if their yard has no fence; that doesn't make the fruit yours. If you spend money on content, know what you're getting. You don't get to dictate what the rules are to content owners; you have to play by them.

    Stop trying to drive this politically...you're going to lose and cry yourself dry wondering why the world doesn't work the way you want it to.

    Shut the fuck up and spend your money on content that ISN'T restricted. Dry up the RIAA's money. Convince your friends and neighbors to purchase only content that doesn't put money in the coffers of those distributors whose methods you don't approve.
  • by Robotech_Master (14247) * on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:52PM (#8999234) Homepage Journal
    ...Sigma Designs has a Linux DVD player, for use with its Netstream 2000 mpeg decoder card. I've used it. It's still in beta, could be better, but it works.
  • by Cecil (37810) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:19PM (#8999596) Homepage
    They produce the movies, it's their call. If they don't want you to be able to do thing 'x' with it, then you can't, it's that simple. If they require you to use a particular piece of hardware to view their movies, then that's that.

    I really don't see any moral, ethical, or legal way around the fact. They own the copyright on the movies. If you want to see them, then they have every right to tell you to view them, or not view them, in whatever way they want. You may find it distasteful or discriminatory but it's not your call, it's theirs.

    If you don't like the way they're telling you to do things, then god damn, please stick up for yourself and say "Alright, fine, I'm not buying any more of your shit." If you really want things to change, that's the *only* way you're going to do it. Vote With Your Wallet. End of story. That's right: No Matrix for you; No Lord of the Rings for you. You'll live. At the very least cut down on the movies you watch and go watch some live theater, go to hear an orchestra play, support the very things that the movie industry is currently destroying. The only alternative is to accept the way they want to do it. So, make a decision. Do you actually like movies more than you hate the way they're treating you?
  • Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PincheGab (640283) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:32PM (#8999776)
    I see why Valenti is so persuasive. Looking at the interview from the point of view of a non-technologist, non-Linux user, the man seems pretty level-headed.

    Here is what i got from it:

    1) He really believes in his side of the story. It just makes sense to him, and he explains it in a way that makes sense.

    2) His argument is simple: Don't copy what you don't have permission to copy.

    3) The interviewer was an absolute idiot for approaching his questions from the Linux point of view. Why should Valenti or the RIAA or anyone else assure that there is fucking DVD viewer for Linux???? Why try to put the man on the spot because market forces have not created a Linux DVD player? DUUHHHH! How about asking Valenti about the "fair use" aspect where you cannot make any copies that right now fall under "fair use"?

    4) Showing Valenti that anyone can easily make an "illegal" Linux DVD player only makes the man more resolute, and gives ammo to the RIAA. Can you see Valenti saying to some congressmen I know for a fact anyone, and I mean anyone can make a DVD copier! You must erode freedoms now for the sake of our economy!? He could then provide a printout of the interview with the MIT fool who made the wrong point.

    Well, I'm sure we got closer to an accord with Valenti by letting him know that MIT nerds building their own HDTVs and DVD players need the freedom to do so... But of course, he's worried about the other 300 million people in the USA and the other 4 billion people in the world.

    What an awful interview!

  • by Asprin (545477) <gsarnold AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:36PM (#8999826) Homepage Journal

    ==========
    JV: ...[omitted stuff about the broadcast flag]... Well, why would people object to it?

    TT: I'll tell you, because I'm an engineer, I'm an engineering student, and this year I built a high-definition television, from scratch. But because of the broadcast flag, if I wanted to do that again after July 2005, that would be illegal.

    JV: How many people in the United States build their own sets?

    TT: Well, I'm talking about engineers.
    ==========


    The interviewer blew it right there in his last response.

    The CORRECT response should have been "Why does that matter? Do I not have the right to build stuff for myself?"

    Because that's the crux of the misunderstanding. They do not believe we have the right to build anything for ourselves. We only have the right to choose which overinflated strong-arm corporate overlord we're the least pissed off at today.

    What the internet is changing is not copyright infringement, but publication and distribution. We used to be consumers because we had no choice. Now we are producers becuase the option is available. That's the meat of the thing!

    Anyone who's been to homestarrunner.com knows that Disney does not have to be involved for your entertainment to be hilarious, (very nearly) family-appropriate and extrodinarily well-written.
  • by mikers (137971) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:20PM (#9000348)
    Of hearing about 'unfairness' and lack of reverse engineering ability. SO WHAT. There is bad law and it happens to suck for me and probably many others here on /.

    I'm going to talk about three things here: Reverse engineering provisions (getting around the DMCA) ,fair use provisions that have been trampled on, and copyright infringement. In particular, the DMCA and Copyright are currently bad law, and only sufficient urging of law makers will change anything.

    Read the article. GIves hard time to Jack Valenti RE: Can't play movie on linux, can't reverse engineer.

    Some posters here are correct in that this is about control and money. Give up the control, harder to get money. Thanks to convergence we are looking at a head-to-head fight with the MPAA. We want freedom with digital media, the MPAA wants to take the freedom away to support their artificial scarcity model. Nothing to see here, move along.

    Jack has been responsible for lobbying for DMCA, etc. to limit our freedoms. Congress buys in because: copyright extension and DMCA provisions limiting digital freedom/fair use is seen as "GOOD" for an entire industry. Why? Because Jack, Hillary and Cary have convinced law makers that it is "GOOD" and it supports artists, etc.

    Since the public buys into the sales pitch of DVDs (with their encryption) congress sees very little complaining or problems, and having already bought into the arguments once sees fit to ignore a few complaining (slashdot, Lessig, EFF) parties.

    There are several ways to fix this, but "dialogs" or "discussions" with Jack or whoever with angry geeks are going to do NOTHING. DDOSing the RIAA website will do NOTHING. Saying things like "I only download mp3s to try out and then I buy the CD" does NOTHING. Continuing to download/upload stupidly MP3s, movies,etc. in this age of lawsuits by RIAA does NOTHING (though I agree with it, and in this case support civil disobediance in the face of bad law). Suing the RIAA to get judgements from the supreme court on constitutionality, or right to reverse-engineer does NOTHING (see Aimster, Felten vs. RIAA).

    So, to move forward and DO SOMETHING:
    (a) The EFF, DigitalConsumer.org, Creative Commons people... Need to get lobbying congress to get some provisions for fair use. Namely all the ones that have been taken away. What we need is 1 line in the copyright act(s) that makes okay a WIDE RANGE of fair use. No amount of whining or complaining will change an ACT of congress. Getting in the face of congressmen REPEATEDLY has a chance. They are the law makers and we have bad law here.
    (b) Engineers, COMPSCI, IEEE... Should get lobbying congress to allow for reverse engineering in this digital world. We have associations and societies, why the heck aren't they doing something? Why isn't industry lobbying for fewer restrictions on hardware? It only lowers their costs.
    (c) Quit complaining to JACK, MPAA, RIAA... Quit whining on slashdot, DOn't assume that if you just keep ripping, downloading from Kazaa things will get better. The language in the laws (DMCA, Copyright) MUST CHANGE. And the LAW MAKERS MUST CHANGE IT AT URGING FROM LOBBYISTS REPRESENTING US!
    (d) Quit buying into the crap that the MPAA and RIAA (and companies represented) put out! Their cash flow will have to suffer far more to sufficiently weaken their fight. Start caring about supporting troublesome companies like Sony and their ilk. Its a question of knowing what you want instead of being sold on by 'marketting' and advertising gimicks.

As far as we know, our computer has never had an undetected error. -- Weisert

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