Analog Hole

Our senses are analog. So before you can see or hear any digital media it has to be converted to analog. Anything analog however can be converted back into digital form and copied. To Hollywood, this feature looks like a bug—one they call the "analog hole." But in an age of DRM and content restrictions on digital media, the analog hole is the last line of defense for fair use and more. And the analog hole has also allowed innovators trying to build new devices, taking your creative rights into the digital age.

Hollywood wants to change all that, enlisting federal bureaucrats to regulate technology companies and wreck anything that touches analog video outputs, including video cards, VCRs, DVRs, and much more. By government mandate, all analog-to-digital technologies would have to obey copyright holders' commands and have their hoods welded shut, cutting off user modifications and open-source developers.

Proposals to plug the analog hole won't do anything to stop "Internet piracy," but they will stifle innovation and restrict fair uses. You won't be able to use tools that, for example, send recorded TV shows to yourself over the Internet. If you want to record a TV show and excerpt it for a school report, too bad—copyright controls might not let you.

So far EFF has helped keep these misguided bills from becoming law. Learn more about them below.

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