That's Naveen Andrews of "Lost," a hit show that many of you love. But as I will explain in this post, if a bill just introduces in Congress becomes law, you may be lost if you spread "Lost" love.
After reading Comments to some of my posts about TiVo and BitTorrent, I am convinced that many of you readers aren't taking the copywrong - err, I meant copyright industry's fanatical fear of the digital world all that seriously.
You think that aided by technology, the people will rise above. But you got to understand, the folks that want to charge you for every pixel, frame and byte of entertainment that comes to your computer or PC screen - well, they've got the lawyers, Washington hired guns, and money. And Congress.
As my Washington, D.C.-based colleague Declan McCullagh reports, the Digital Transition Content Security Act, a Congressional bill set for hearings early next year will outlaw the manufacture or sale of electronic devices that convert analog video signals into digital ones unless those encoders are equipped with an anticopying plan designed to restrict redistribution.
Digital video recorders with analog inputs would only be allowed to record copy-prohibited shows for 90 minutes. After that, the recording would be disabled. That sounds to me like a restriction against, say, a home user recording a two-hour movie aired on say, Showtime or HBO, and then making a copy of their copy.
Even within the 90-minute allotment, analog video output would be allowed as long as it was to a VGA resolution of no more than 720 by 480 pixels.
If you try and circumvent this law, you could be fined as much as $2,500. If you are a developer and design a workaround, that's the jail door you've heard slam. See ya in five years, buddy.
Well, maybe you say that 720x480 doesn't sound too bad. But ain't much, people. That res is so analog. It is pretty close to the current analog tv NTSC (National Television Standards Committee) res of 720x486 pixels. This resolution is way short of HDTV ranges of 1280x720 or 1920x1080.
And film? Don't go there, man. Digital film is 2048 x 1536.
So in this future world that the Digital Transition Content Security Act envisions, let's say it is 2007. You download a hack to get around this system, or buy a device on the sly that does the same, and then you convert, say, the latest eppy of "Lost" to a high-res format. Maybe you distribute it to friends via, say BitTorrent. Or maybe you just throw a party in your home theater entertainment room and show those episodes to your neighbors.
Well, you've just "Lost." To be exact, you've lost $2,500.