June 15, 2024

Analog Hole Bill Would Impose a Secret Law

If you’ve been reading here lately, you know that I’m no fan of the Sensenbrenner/Conyers analog hole bill. The bill would require almost all analog video devices to implement two technologies called CGMS-A and VEIL. CGMS-A is reasonably well known, but the VEIL content protection technology is relatively new. I wanted to learn more about it.

So I emailed the company that sells VEIL and asked for a copy of the specification. I figured I would be able to get it. After all, the bill would make compliance with the VEIL spec mandatory – the spec would in effect be part of the law. Surely, I thought, they’re not proposing passing a secret law. Surely they’re not going to say that the citizenry isn’t allowed to know what’s in the law that Congress is considering. We’re talking about television here, not national security.

After some discussion, the company helpfully explained that I could get the spec, if I first signed their license agreement. The agreement requires me (a) to pay them $10,000, and (b) to promise not to talk to anybody about what is in the spec. In other words, I can know the contents of the bill Congress is debating, but only if I pay $10k to a private party, and only if I promise not to tell anybody what is in the bill or engage in public debate about it.

Worse yet, this license covers only half of the technology: the VEIL decoder, which detects VEIL signals. There is no way you or I can find out about the encoder technology that puts VEIL signals into video.

The details of this technology are important for evaluating this bill. How much would the proposed law increase the cost of televisions? How much would it limit the future development of TV technology? How likely is the technology to mistakenly block authorized copying? How adaptable is the technology to the future? All of these questions are important in debating the bill. And none of them can be answered if the technology part of the bill is secret.

Which brings us to the most interesting question of all: Are the members of Congress themselves, and their staffers, allowed to see the spec and talk about it openly? Are they allowed to consult experts for advice? Or are the full contents of this bill secret even from the lawmakers who are considering it?


  1. Raynae Bsker says

    I’m sorry i gave you the wrong e-mail address. Please see above address.
    THank you,
    Raiynae Baker

  2. Ron Paul would never allow this Bullsh!t.

  3. dkstoney says



  4. so i’m under the big top like y’all,but there seems to be more rents overhead,and were all getting soaked&theprogram won’t keep ya dry,&even the ciowns, who can’t fill their big shoes, just leave you shaking,& as , you rise to clap just to circulate blood, you think, what else could I fear,just as the bigtop shreds to expose a torrent of cold shower, ya think, lawmakers are poised to hand over the internet to an oligopoly & refuse to adopt network neutrality

  5. PPL there will always be a way whether joe sixpack understands the depth of the situation or not. One of the most valuable lessons learnt from Open source is the God given talent out there to do ‘ANYTHING’. I have had the pleasure of seeing one of the geniuses out there create a by-pass circuit for X-box so that it can play pirated X-box games.

    Now in light of all thats has been discussed here I know that it is small fish in comparison but where there is a will there is a way. The masses will prevail because ppl are not as ignorant as they used to be and the net will always unite the talent to do right by the public. Either way a loop will be found for the VEIL they create and I dont believe theres anything to worry about.

  6. If these people know what they’re doing and get their way, you can kiss your private ass good-bye and start practicing to kneel in front of your internet-enabled all-seeing all-knowing linked-to-your-tax-file-number big brother TV set.

    The remote control will be at the other end.

  7. If I had to guess what’s going on, I’d guess that somehow it will identify the viewer personally, because that would be so incredibly valuable to so many people, to finally know who’s watching what and when. VEIL, how convenient an acronym, i.e. veiling your true intentions perhaps?

    Also, I completely disagree with the way RIAA is handling licensing for music. They are trying to say that they are in charge of all music that’s recorded and broadcast, and that’s just not the case. Any individual can still broadcast music from their own website, because they own it. Eventually, content aggregators like my idea for “RSS feeds for music(tm)” will take advantage of this, and it will all be over.

  8. I must say, this absolutely frightens me. I run an independant label in RI — you could say I’ve been fully enmeshed in the whole DRM process from a music standpoint. I’m really becoming quite concerned that we’ve already lost. I didn’t expect the hardware manufacturers to roll over like they did; even to the extent of Apple switching chips to help enable a unified DRM strategy.

    I can’t blame Bush; he’s no different than any of the other bastards who run things. There are plenty of folk in power now that I call “old thinkers”; I really can’t discriminate. Who would be better anyway; Gore loves DRM, and Kerry — jeez, at least Bush uses an iPod… Kerry had his cell phone taken away during his campaign by his staffers. I blame government in general, business in particular, the ignorance of the public, and the lack of ethics all around.

    We record every show we produce. We provide copies for the bands aftewards and we rebroadcast the shows. We don’t sell the music, as it is all for promotional purposes and downloadable. In the future, we will have to encode our audio with a certified watermarking technology in order to burn cds, distribute over a network, stream live, make a grilled cheese sandwich, anything the RIAA wants.

    But — it will also cost us to do so. Various people involved with the early RIAA lawsuits and the MPAA have stated that the creator of the content will have to purchase a watermark from a consortium. They compared it to the process of obtaining a bar code for retail sale, and stated publicly that they expected the price to be about the same — $300. Distribution licenses, I can imagine, will follow soon thereafter. (Wanna be able to have your music playable on AOL members computers? $200.)

    So artists will have to PAY ENCODE THIER OWN MUSIC. Something I find offensive on so many levels.

    I understand the lament about the six pack joe… and while I have hoped in the past that he would find these inconveniences enough to rise him to revolt… six pack joe also has an IQ of 60 when it comes to computers.

    When you add a song to itunes… where does it go? You and I know it gets hashed into a database, watermarked, and the file is renamed and moved. Average Joe doesn’t know that. All he knows is this doesn’t work anymore. He doesn’t know if it’s the computer, a virus, something, he did… the last thing he thinks is it’s a plan for global media domination.

    People on this site are more technically able I’m guessing; so we probably field hundreds of questions from folk each week about computers. People just shrug and move on. They file it away as one of “those things computers do that’s a mystery to me”.

    They will eventually give in and buy into the system, because it’ll be the only thing that works. We will all get a monthly music bill, and get used to the idea of “renting” music.

    I’ve just become cynical in the past few years, and I refuse to underestimate again the ability of the public to just roll over and shrug. By the time any of them is able to figure out what’s going on and what it will all mean, it will be far too late.

    chief ferret
    rattlehead records

  9. margaretstribling says

    i agree with the previous writers. spider jeruslaem’s comments are so the grist. see http://www.davidicke.com. the joe sixpack arguement’s real, but is totally of no interest to the power fight engoing amongst the world cartels fighting. ditto sony rootkit line of thot. those results are INTENDED. open your eyes!.

    as to the chaos this all so well expresses; ALL DEMOCRACIES END IN CHAOS, SUCH AS THIS.
    we were initially a constitutional republic, and reamin so for those free enuf to see.. see http://www.ottoskinner.com

    all this sounds like the happenings around the patsy-er-patriot act; secret, no one reads it , has a clue of its real effect…bs

    i think this is well-removed from the constitutional powers of the congress.


  10. el Bobolongo says

    This veil proposed law (to me) seems to have similiarities to the auto industry’s black box in some cars…? Anyone have thoughts on this?
    Also, again cars, has anyone ever lost the CHIP-Key to his car? Is this format a precursor to the VEIL technology?

  11. I think the key effort here should be to articulate the legal principle that we intuitively understand, but which the media corporations either don’t understand, won’t acknowledge, or are interested in obfuscating.

    We need to elect representatives who understand why it is wrong to create laws that contain black boxes.

    John Tinker

  12. veilwatcher,

    You are correct about VEIL screwing with the video quality. I remember those toy marketing cartoons, and the data encoding was very obvious in the picture.

    It used to be that live (analog) video from a football or NASCAR race was of such high quality, I was taught to use such video (if available) for adjusting color and contrast if appropriate test equipment was not available. But over the last couple of years such live digital broadcasts show severe aliasing and digital motion artifacts in the analog TV signal.

    This talk about VEIL makes me wonder if the aliasing I’m seeing is not being caused by this VEIL crap. I had figured it was just poorly designd down sampling equipment being used.

    The aliasing is so bad, I have wanted to go down to the HDTV shop and see how much aliasing shows in the signal on a true HD set.


  13. J. E. Schmidt says

    I’ve posted this in another thread, but believe it fits quite well in this one too.

    ***** The “Joe Sixpack” Analogy *****

    I believe that everyone here has forgotten about “Joe Sixpack.” Who’s he? He’s the end-user — the guy that goes to the store and buys something and takes it home, such as a music system or a digital video recorder.

    Joe Sixpack has no representation in Congress any more, as neither do any of the rest of us in this era of “The New Corporate Government of America.” However…..

    He’s not going to read the manual, he’s just going to plug in the speakers, connect to the AC-power wall outlet and then stick in his CD, and then discovers this product he’s paid $300 for won’t play his CD [due to some variant of DRM.] Joe Sixpack’s going to take it back to the store and say “This thing doesn’t work, I WANT MY MONEY BACK!

    When he finds out his new DVR won’t record the TV show he wants to keep for a while and watch later, he’s going to take the DVR back. If he buys a VCR (and yes, there are still being made) and it won’t work for what he wants, like the older ones do, he’s going to take the VCR back.

    We’ve already seen the Sony rootkit fiasco, which will cost Sony many millions of $$ in settlements, plus the cost of reissuing CDs without DRM to all their customers, plus future losses from all the consumers who are so mad they say “I’ll never buy another Sony product again.” This incident has already cost Sony many times more than it could ever gain in profits from DRM. Regardless… will the executives give up on DRM? Not likely, they are too stupid.

    And many of Joe Sixpack’s cousins may already have wisely decided not to buy any CD containing DRM, all of which adds up to more lost sales.

    Thusly, for whatever reason, it is the marketplace which may finally settle the DRM issue. When the Joe Sixpacks nation-wide begin taking the stuff back to the store and demanding their money back, it will not be economically feasible for manufacturers to produce this crippled merchandise, even though Hollywood has paid off Congress to buy the laws it wants.

    As to music, there are alternative sources other than buying Cds from the labels. And I will never part with my two Otari reel-to-reel analog recorders nor any of my other analog equipment. I still run on Windows-98SE and carefully archive all the “legacy software,” knowing full well that “upgrades” these days may lead to “unhappiness.”

  14. veilwatcher says

    A number of years ago VEIL coded data by raising the brightness slightly on one field of video and lowering it on another, intermittently, creating a data stream. This may be the same system proposed today. It is VISIBLE when shown on a good display (especially with good contrast). That’s right, it screws up the picture quality! The lines look like they are pairing and shifting. Some content out there has VEIL on it for other purposes. Find it and capture for all to see the VISIBLE characteristics of VEIL.

  15. Is there any guarantees that license price is max 10k$/person after the law has been pass?

  16. WTF ,
    id rather pay some crackers the 10k for hacking it then for them so i can look at their specs ,

    bunch of greedy pigs

  17. Anon, there is no “digital requirement” for VCRs, DVD recorders, PVRs, video capture cards, etc. Such devices will continue to be sold with analog inputs for years if not decades.

    When DRM was applied to all digital outputs (HDCP), they said “you can always use analog if you don’t like it”. But now they propose to take away even that option.

  18. Gunboat Willie says

    really is anyone surprised by this.?
    The US has done nothing but try to curb the popularity and the effect of the internet because as a nation it was built on the premise of step on the little guy to become the big rich guy. The Freedom Americans speak of is a total illusion.
    America was built by corporations that have only an interest in making gobs of money and nothing else and they will not under any circumstance allow their riches to be taken away.
    Just wait till the new OS Vista comes out and you will truly understand just how much control over nothing you really have.

  19. So companies are gonna have to spend thousands of dollars so that their analog equipment conforms to VEIL, then throw all that away when the “digital requirement” goes into effect?

  20. Spider Jerusalem says

    My brain records analog signals. My vocal cords generate them.
    My fingers, at this very moment, are creating digital content.
    License me! Barcode my spine! V-chip my thoughts!
    We can start with RF transmitters in, say, passports…

  21. I must say that in any type of business arrangement there must be a certain level of give and take. Anyone in business knows that. You can’t charge for a service that noone knows exists. Banking off the idea that the masses are addicted to the tube(s) means that natural selection will occur. I guess that is what they are afraid of. Or of a technology that hasn’t come out yet.

  22. I think we’re missing a key point here (and the clear basis for arguement against this legislation in Congress)…. this plugs the analog hole in the US ONLY. It does nothing to hamper, say, Germany or Taiwan or Korea from making an open source (or closed source, for that matter)device that completely ignores any DRM or VEIL stuck on it. It just means that in order for companies to sell their products in the US, they have to have these technologies. Companies could easily create a VEIL TV set and a non-VEIL TV set for sale elsewhere in the world. Which means you can get your “illegal” download from somewhere else in the world. The net effect is that there is little actual useful copyright protection and real, effective innovation hampering in the US only. We’re just putting ourselves behind in the global electronics market for next to no positive effect.

  23. This VEIL is nothing else than EVIL plan.

    Like some one allready said,

    # Anonymous Says:
    January 24th, 2006 at 7:58 pm

    Funn with annagramms


  24. Ciro Faienza says

    Does anyone know if there’s a current FOIA request for this info, or one underway?

  25. Anony-mouse says

    Hmmm… well I guess that the analog signal will probably end up at the speakers so a wire-tap on them, or earlier in the audio stage, will still get you tthe analog signal. It just means opening the box up and soldering in some wires to a jack and then onto your soundcard.

  26. Aren’t 2.4-2.5 also wireless phones and internet?

  27. Pushlington wrote “Anyone who wants to transmit radio in the ISM (industrial-scientific-medical) band (around 200-350MHz in many countries) has to buy the copyrighted spec”
    Wrong. You may need to pay money to get access to a paticular standard bu htere is nothing to stop you making your own transmitters and receivers that work together using whatever type of modulation and protocol you like.

    Also there are a number of ISM bands, the most commonly used being the 13.52MHz and 2.4-2.5GHZ bands.

  28. Well.. This article has cast yet more light on the downfall of this nation. As Ralph said, the only ones we had to fear was ourselves, and our own lack of motivation to provoke change.

    I am a constituant in Mr Conyers territory, and have sent an open letter to him, as well as Sensenbrenner asking for comments on wether they actually have access to the information they are proposing, and what steps they took to actually consider sponsoring such a bill in the case of either not having access, or on the flip side, even if they do have access. I’ll follow up and post the question laiden letter, as well as the Congressional responses to boot once they are received.

  29. Don’t waste your time complaining about Republicans Democrats or the goverment PERIOD.
    The simple fact is The United States is now OWNED we are too.
    How much in manditory insurances, loan interest, fees and taxes not destined to help your state or elderly care, education of your children do you pay a year?
    Stand back see the facts and understand, it has been for some time out of our control.
    It’s sad but we let it happen. If you reallywant change then YOU the consumer, all your friends and family need to stop consuming the things you really don’t need and support your own community. Look for ways to effect the corperate machine and perhaps they will stop laughing at us.

  30. Remember the 90’s, When people had riots? Physical action unavoidable by the media, as opposed to blog-esque rantings completly unkown by the general publiuc? Can we really sit by and wait for someone to notice, or should we take action and make them notice? Yes, I am aware of both the irony and hypocrisy in this post, but I feel it’s in part necessary.

  31. Awesome! Nobody will buy TVs any more, broadcasting companies will go bankrupt and the future of hyperdistribution can begin!
    (see http://www.mindjack.com/feature/piracy051305.html)

  32. At this rate our country is finished. It will have to be rebuilt on the ashes of what these fools have destroyed. Apparently we did not need a Communist or Fascist revolution to take down the United States of America. All along we had sufficient idiot power in the Republican Party to smash the state, so to speak, spontaneously.

  33. opensecrets.org lists TV/Movies/Music as a sginificant percentage of PAC contributions for both these Congressmen. How ironic.

  34. The saddest part to me: 6094228 references Patent 3,728,480.

    Assuming, of course, this is one of the VEIL patents (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_Encoded_Invisible_Light suggests so), Ralph “I thought of video games and Simon first!!1” Baer ought to sue those bastards on the grounds of True Lunacy.

  35. Has anyone notified the newspapers or majorly affected companys in the districts of Sensenbrenner/Conyers and informed them of the idiocy they are pushing on the citizenry of the US.
    Isn’t Conyers the same idiot who wanted government forced racist reparations to make all white people pay African-Americans money?
    If so, how could that idiot come up with this?
    Its too complex.
    Has anyone looked at his donation trails?

  36. silly humans, how will the global empire implement the telescreens without sectret laws? “stay the course” (to fascism) — Bush. C’mon you might get one of those cool brown shirts. What’s this silly brain for thinking? Nah.

  37. Funn with annagramms


  38. Butane_bob: The big problem is not with purely analog devices, but rather with devices–including digital ones–that are capable of accepting input from analog sources.

    Analog to digital convertors are pretty cheap hardware, and requiring DRM garbage at the hardware level would not only increase hardware costs but create new hazards as well. How would you like to have an MRI and then discover a fuzzy spot appeared on the image because one of the ADC chips mistook the strange waveforms it was seeing for a DRM signature and decided to fuzzify the results?

    I don’t know EXACTLY what the legislators here are seeking to require stuff to do, but I don’t like it one bit.

  39. Butane_bob says

    I’m not bothering to dig to deep into this unless Congress actually lets it pass, which is possible… But the entire idea sounds like a pointless waste. What analog media are they targeting here? Radio? Tape? Vinyl? Film? What analog media is still being mass produced and distributed? Consumer media is almost all digital now, especially in developed countries. I don’t see why they bother ramming UFIAs in every possible hole they can find.

  40. Peter da Silva says

    Pushlington: the difference between building any physical object (like a car or even a radio) and writing software is significant. If you could “write a car” or “write a radio” and give it out for free, as many copies as there were people who wanted it, then you could make that analogy. Right now the only marginal cost for software is the cost of copying it, and the unit price is no more than what the author wants to impose. The public benefit of free software is immense. Every company in the world, including the ones behind this bill, benefits from it. Every consumer operating system incorporates it. The Internet wouldn’t exist in anything like its current form without it.

    A bill that makes it impossible to write and distribute a whole class of software, without paying a fee and keeping the source closed, changes the whole model of the computer industry for the worse.

  41. Pushlington says

    Two comments:

    1. Anyone who wants to transmit radio in the ISM (industrial-scientific-medical) band (around 200-350MHz in many countries) has to buy the copyrighted spec from the appropriate org such as IEEE, CIE, ISO, EIA in order to design the equipment to obey the law. This isn’t too difficult from the building codes deal… unless registered builders get a lower price.

    2. Wonder how much it costs to find out the requirements to get a car model approved for public sale?

  42. Bill to plug the "analog hole" involves a secret law….

    Princeton Professor Ed Felten has an entry on his blog about how the new law Congress is considering to try and plug the analog hole to prevent digital piracy involves technology that is effectively kept secret. It has to do with the content protection…

  43. Is it possible that digital cameras could be affected by this legislation? They record analog signals (light) and digitize them.

  44. Can we stop using their terminology and stop calling it an “Analog Hole”? Holes are something we naturally want to plug. There is no hole here. It’s more of a wall they’re trying to throw up. And nobody likes a wall.

  45. Maybe instead of fighting it you should just let them win. And then give up watching T.V. I haven’t watched any T.V. for more then a year and it gives me plenty of time to do other usefull stuff.

    If people want their content to be protected so bad, let them. Let them keep it ALL to themselves. You get treated like crap over and over, but instead of giving up the source, you just take it, and take it.

    At least sheep have a reason to act they way they do……

  46. Peter,

    Yes, it would outlaw open source digital recording technology. It would outlaw other useful things too. I’m planning a future post on what exactly would be ruled out.

  47. Peter da Silva says

    Let me get this right. This bill would make open source digital recording software illegal?

  48. Kevin Kenny says

    @Ed Felten, Pat Maupin:

    Except for a few details of the laws being applied (copyright vs. trade secret), the cases of VEIL and the Texas building codes have considerable parallels. In the Texas case, the local legislature was prohibited from publishing the code that was incorporated by reference – instead, referring inquiries to the publisher of the model code, which charged a four-figure amount for a copy (and may have restricted distribution to licensed contractors; that part of the case history is not clear).

    Except for the fact that VEIL is protected as a trade secret, rather than by copyright, we see the same general pattern that the Fifth Circuit condemned – outsourcing the development of a law to a third party, which then claims that its IP rights trump the due-process right of the citizens to know the laws to which they are bound.

    I would wonder whether the Fifth Circuit would consider the same arguments as applying to laws to which our representatives propose to bind us. Any Texans, Louisianans, or Mississippians want to try to find out? (Sorry, Ed, I wouldn’t dare try this one in the Second Circuit – that Circuit’s position on IP law has been almost as incomprehensible as the Sixth’s.)

  49. You will find some similarities with this case.

    Breathalyzer company refuses to turn over source code

    What’s really the difference in the last few years between say, living in Peoples Republic China and Russia. Sure you can speak against the government and laws in the US, but does it really make a difference if everyone follows the herd and just votes for a democrat or republican? Few would ever vote for someone who did something stupid like holdup a convenience store with their finger in a bag, but if after serving their debt they haven’t even had a speeding ticket in 10 years; why not. Well the republican and democratic propaganda machine will not let you because they will convince you on something irrelevant such as they don’t have any political experience or they will screw you; based on their character (the past).

    So, then it takes experience to know how to take bribes from lobbyist (All politicians take bribes from lobbyist or don’t you know that) and even more experience on screwing you over. That same person couldn’t get a job as a janitor in a school and neither could someone with a past DUI 10+ years ago. So if that’s the standard then why was Bush reading to kids in a school on 9-11. Don’t they realize the danger that the man poses to little children because he was once an alcoholic with a DUI? All of you suck up the same kind of hypocrisy from both sides.

    So go ahead you can all complain about bad laws and the government, but I have a feeling most people that do all this complaining didn’t vote for someone off the wall like Nader (I don’t agree with him on a lot). The point is anyone else as long as they are not a republican or a democrat I don’t care what their lips say (remember that one) because they are all bought and paid for. So if you see some weirdo with a clipboard-telling people he/she is running for some office don’t complain later because you didn’t stop to bother.

    So, all you little boys and girls out there vote for the one that has been smeared the most or be ready to bend over one more time.

    Are you insulted or offended in any way?
    Are you like a communist and will prevent me from posting this?

    If no, good I’m glad 🙂 and if yes, good I’m really glad 🙂 🙂

  50. VEIL == EVIL
    Just transpose two letters and what you get is the real driving force behind the technology.
    Isn’t this odd?

  51. Edward Kuns says

    Hmm, how does this tie into “Ignorance of the law is no excuse” when to become non-ignorant of the law requires a non-trivial amount of cash plus binding legal agreements. This law, if passed, seems that it will certainly prevent hobby creation of certain kinds of devices, as hobbiests won’t have access to $10k. (And, of course, will these companies give a copy of this standard to ANYONE with the moeny, or do they pick and choose in the way that the DVD association does with CSS.)

  52. Ed:

    I think you’re missing Kevin Kenny’s point — in this case, a third party bought the copyrighted document, and put it up on his website. NOT just a discussion of the document, but the actual document. The court basically ruled that — if it’s the law, all citizens have a right to see it, copyright or no. (The case was about building codes, which are often developed in private by builder’s associations.)

    Although this case is not binding on the other circuit courts, if anybody else brings a similar suit, they might expect similar results. Also, I would think that a suit over this sort of “nondisclosure” arrangement would bring similar results, at least in the same circuit, because the decision was about public access to pertinent government regulations.

    However, I wouldn’t BEGIN to think about disclosing this until it was actually signed into law, in a way where you HAD to use it. Even then, I would have to consider the difference between the actual LAW being secret, and the law REFERENCING secret documents (which is a distinction the court might make).

    Pat Maupin

  53. Wes Felter says

    Isn’t there already a law that mandates Macrovision in certain devices? I read that Macrovision Inc. now will not sell you a license just to the classic Macrovision system, but only a bundled license/contract that forces your devices to implement CGMS/A as well. And doesn’t the FCC require certain companies to implement the trade-secret OpenCable “standard” whose license terms can be similarly revised at any time? A VEIL technology mandate opens the door for lots of similar future license trickery.

  54. If I get the story right: The proposed bill takes some trade secret, patented technology for remote cotrol of toys and promotes that to the “national standard video watermarking technology”. The first question that arises here is: “Is VEIL a strong watermark when its secrets are unveiled?” (Sorry, the pun is too good!) VEIL was not designed as a watermark. I’ld like to see an analysis of the VEIL watermark by people like DVD-Jon or Ed Felten.
    It looks like Congress is asked in this bill to force the adoption of a technology with unknown effectivity upon the public. It is clear that VCP and KISI will gain substantially from this deal (patent licensing). How much “Hollywood” will gain is unclear, but home-taping can’t cause them a huge loss. In the end it will be the general public that will have to pay VCP and KISI’s monopoly price.

  55. Valdis Kletnieks says

    Hmm… It’s actually tempting to let this one become law, and *also* allow the “customary historic use” provision mentioned over at http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/004340.php to become law.

    Then somebody just has to point out that listening to VEIL-protected music isn’t a customary historic use, and is thus illegal…. 😉

  56. Matt,

    Thanks for pointing out that patent. There are several patents relating to VEIL, but they don’t tell us all of the details we need to know about the specific system that would be mandated.

    We’re planning a future post dissecting the VEIL patents.

  57. Kevin,

    This is much worse than a claim of copyright. Copyright doesn’t stop you from talking about what is in the document, or from rephrasing it in your own words. A copyrighted law can at least be debated. Here, they’re claiming the (proposed) law is a trade secret and cannot be discussed at all.

  58. matt perkins says

    Do a search at http://www.uspto.gov for patent number 6094228. It might not be the exact implementation referred to in the leg. draft, but it’s a start.

    (Number referenced is taken from: http://www.veilinteractive.com/pr_newpatent.html)

  59. Kevin Kenny says

    Oops. Three States. My apologies to Mississippians – I had forgotten that Mississippi was also in the Fifth Circuit.

  60. Kevin Kenny says

    Applying contractual nondisclosure agreements to public law is not new with this bill – it’s now a hotly debated issue in localities that outsource the writing of their building codes. In two States, it’s been held (http://www.constructionweblinks.com/Resources/Industry_Reports__Newsletters/May_17_2004/supreme.html) that public access to the law trumps copyright; apparently, however, it’s perfectly acceptable for the law to be private intellectual property in the other forty-eight.

    The US – where we have the very best government that money can buy!