September 18, 2020

Report from Agenda 2003

Dan Gillmor notes my posting on almost-general-purpose computers, and says

Felten would have been rolling his eyes yesterday at the Agenda 2003 conference, where three members of the Hollywood establishment proved their absolute cluelessness about technology while confirming the prevailing Washington “wisdom” – the notion that we can somehow stop one kind of copying without preventing all kinds of legitimate uses of computers.

Gillmor isn’t allowed to quote any conference attendees, but he points to John Patrick’s account of the proceedings, which says:

Next was a panel from the entertainment and publishing industry leaders discussed digital media. The hole in the protection scheme is that most of the content is still analog. A DVD starts out as digital but the output of a DVD player is analog and therefore can be easily copied. Once everything is digital, then watermarking can be easily used to protect the content. There was a good debate about “fair use”. The panelists and audience questioners could not even agree on what the scope of “fair use” is. Listening to the debate makes it clear that this issue is going to take a long time to resolve. I have written about this subject in Net Attitude but based on what I heard today, I plan to write more about the subject. The basic issue is that many consumers expect that when they buy a CD or DVD that they should have the right to make a backup copy of it and also place a copy on personally owned portable players and PCs. The industry representatives claimed they want to offer many choices but that the more choice you want the more you should have to pay. I think most of the audience believes that the industry is out of touch.