March 13, 2007 | By Derek Slater

American Studios' Secret Plan to Lock Down European TV Devices

Hollywood's desire to force DRM on TV fans doesn't stop at the U.S. border -- an international consortium of television and technology companies is devising draconian anti-consumer restrictions for the next generation of TVs in Europe and beyond, at the behest of American entertainment giants.

EFF is the only public interest group to have gained entrance into the secretive meetings of the Digital Video Broadcasting Project (DVB), a group that creates the television and video specifications used in Europe, Australia, and much of Asia and Africa. In a report released today, we show how U.S. movie and television companies have convinced DVB to create new technical specifications that would build digital rights management technologies into televisions. These specifications are designed to give content providers a veto over innovation and take away consumers' rights to make legitimate uses of lawfully acquired digital television content.

Consumers would never choose this future, so Hollywood will try to force it on them by regulatory fiat. In the US, the studios have wielded the DMCA against innovators and fans, worked to foist DRM into pay TV systems, and lobbied hard for a broadcast flag mandate for over-the-air TV. Hollywood's strategy overseas is patterned after its work here in the US, and DVB is now developing technical standards that are intended to serve as the basis for legal regulations that will force device manufacturers to use DRM.

As a condition of participation, DVB imposed restrictions on our ability to report on these meetings. Now, after key parts of DVB's new DRM specification have been sent to the European standards body and may soon be provided to other EU regulators, we are releasing this briefing paper to summarize and expose Hollywood's plan.

Read our analysis here.


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