posted Jan 09, 2001

Coalition makes concession on anti-piracy technology Misc.1/9/2001; 2:36:30 PM 'After an outcry from privacy advocates, a group of leading computer hardware makers has agreed to give consumers the right to turn off a controversial new copy-protection feature on computer hard drives.'The technology, developed by an IBM-lead consortium called 4C, would prevent consumers from making copies of music or movies without the permission of the record label or studio that holds the rights. The copy-protection feature could start appearing as early as this spring in portable devices, such as MP3 players, digital cameras and handheld organizers. But fears that it would reach computer hard drives prompted fierce backlash -- and an agreement Thursday from the consortium to set curbs on the technology....'Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said the furor over the 4C copy-protection plan reveals a basic misunderstanding of the technology. It is intended solely for removable storage, such as flash and compact memory cards that can be swapped from device to device. The technology effectively locks a music track or video clip to the memory card, preventing the consumer from making duplicates or from uploading it to the Internet.'Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy's comments reveal a basic misunderstanding about why people were upset. First, why should we be less upset that only our removable media is being bastardized that way? And second, we can hardly be expected to complacently believe any large company's promises about what it will or will not do in the future. The "outcry" was fully justified, and it's completely reasonable to assume that once the technology was deployed in removable media, some interests would have wanted to have it deployed on static media as well.


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