Saturday, May 21, 2005
Just because you can do it: Wired News reported earlier this week that a UCLA professor is working on what it accurately calls "an extremely restrictive form of digital rights management to protect DVD movies."
I've criticized the Federal Communications Commission and the movie industry before for their efforts to curtail the principle of "fair use" by promoting the over-the-top, restrictive "broadcast flag."
Engineering professor Rajit Gadh's technology makes the broadcast flag look quaint.
At the store, someone buying a new DVD would have to provide a password or some kind of biometric data, like a fingerprint or iris scan, which would be added to the DVD's RFID tag.
Then, when the DVD was popped into a specially equipped DVD player, the viewer would be required to re-enter his or her password or fingerprint. The system would require consumers to buy new DVD players with RFID readers.
Gadh said his research group is trying to address the problem of piracy for the movie industry.
So, you want to buy a Disney DVD for your neice or nephew? Forget it, they can't play it in their DVD player unless you're around to give the DVD player your fingerprint. (I suppose you could always pull a Wendy's chili-finger and have your finger cut off, but that seems a little drastic.)
Forget about loaning a friend a DVD. Forget about going out for the night and leaving the kids with to watch some DVDs -- if your eyeball isn't there for an iris scan, they'll be stuck watching "What's Happening?" reruns.
Free advice to the movie industry: Don't even think about it.