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December 13, 2004

Big Brother Creep

Filed under: — brendan @ 03:47 GMT

When VCRs hit the world, they gave you the ability to save your copy of MacGyver or Whiz Kids or Airwolf seemingly forever. You could take a break from cleaning your living room to watch that dusty tape with the General Hospital episode where Luke and Laura were married. TV executives didn’t seem too bothered by the idea.

With the aggressive eroding of privacy in all facets of our lives, the pull for power by some seems unstoppable. There are reports that at least one Time Warner exec wants to introduce a new rule: Transitional Fair Use. You may have recorded last night’s episode of Gilmore Girls on your MythTV box, but watch out: if this plan actually takes form, they’d effectively put a timer on the show. You’d have less than a week to watch what you recorded—when the next episode airs, you lose the right to watch the previous week’s recording. They wouldn’t make your box burst into flame or raid your home with a S.W.A.T. team, but they could still claim that you broke the rules.

You pirate, you.

There are folks who are noticing the effort and conversations abound. Hopefully this “possibility” won’t turn into a law buried in a bill about proper care of public grasslands or a quiet regulation from the FCC.

If we’re not careful the needs of the money may be fed by the needs of the few. Or the one.

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