The Personal Video Recorder perversion

While news that Australia's copyright law will be updated is welcome -- so copying CDs onto a digital music player is no longer illegal -- there's still plenty to dislike about the proposed new regime.At first glance, by far the stupidest aspect of the proposal is the suggestion that recording programs -- onto a DVD recorder, a hard drive, or even an old-fashioned VHS tape -- will be legal, but people will only be able to watch such programs once.

While news that Australia's copyright law will be updated is welcome -- so copying CDs onto a digital music player is no longer illegal -- there's still plenty to dislike about the proposed new regime.

At first glance, by far the stupidest aspect of the proposal is the suggestion that recording programs -- onto a DVD recorder, a hard drive, or even an old-fashioned VHS tape -- will be legal, but people will only be able to watch such programs once.

Of course, there's no practical means of enforcing such a proposal -- existing products won't block multiple viewings, and even if technologies to achieve that goal could be developed, manufacturers are hardly going to produce Australia-only DVD recorders with view-once capabilities.

If they did, I doubt any of us would buy them.

It strikes me that one potential casualty of such a law would be Foxtel's IQ digital set top box. Hugh Jackman proudly proclaims "Imagine being able to pause and rewind live TV" in his ad campaign for Foxtel. However, under this law, that would be illegal if you did it more than once.

Of course, the odds of someone getting prosecuted for watching The Footy Show twice are slight -- if they're that stupid, let 'em, I say.

But having taken a pasting for the existing dumb copyright laws, you'd think the government might have learnt something.

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All