05.11.10

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Hollywood: Your Software Freedom Stops Here

Posted in Apple, DRM, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 6:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hollywood sign

Summary: Richard Stallman recommends reduced exposure to Hollywood’s so-called ‘premium content’, which increasingly excludes or punishes users of Free software like GNU/Linux

WE HAVE already written to explain how the copyright cartel controls the current government (as it did predecessors) and gone through the trouble of explaining why Hollywood is close to Apple and to Microsoft. Hollywood uses them to police so-called ‘consumers’ of so-called ‘content’. This is part of the reason that we cover copyright issues on a daily basis, not just software; those subjects are inseparable because of the parallels and the correlations between software and information.

BoingBoing argues that the “FCC hands Hollywood the keys to your PC, home theater and future”:

The FCC has given Hollywood permission to activate the “Selective Output Control” technologies in your set-top box. These are hidden flags that allow the MPAA to deactivate parts of your home theater depending on what you’re watching. And it sucks. As Dan Gillmor notes, “Fans of old TV science fiction will remember the Outer Limits. Given Hollywood’s victory today at the FCC — they’ll be able to reach over the lines and disable functions on your TV — the intro to the show takes on modern relevance.”

The FCC says that they’re doing this because they believe that if they do so, the MPAA will start releasing first-run movies (the ones that are still in theaters) for TV. They say that Hollywood won’t make these movies available unless they get Selectable Output Control because SOC will stop piracy.

This is ridiculous.

“Holywood [sic] attacks your freedom,” wrote Richard Stallman about it and explained:

Dan Gillmor: FCC hands Hollywood the keys to your PC, home theater and future.

The Free World will increasingly need to reject computers designed to be controlled by Hollywood, and use computers which were not designed to restrict their users. But these are unusual computers, and that is a problem for people who want to install a free operating system on a machine that was not chosen with freedom in mind. They find that the devices in the machine won’t run without proprietary software. Often this is because Hollywood has demanded it.

This problem contributes to the popularity of nonfree GNU/Linux distros that include the nonfree drivers and firmware for those machines, distros that weaken our community by corrupting many of its members.

The Hollywood movie companies base their arguments on a false premise: that they deserve to be able to profit. Since they have attacked our freedom, what they deserve is to lose everything and cease to exist.

Think of this, next time someone suggests you pay to watch a Hollywood movie. It’s feeding your enemies. If your children are going to watch, it is bad for them too.

This is an interesting insight which encourages the use of alternative sources such as the Web Archive, Wikipedia, and news blogs. Those who want greater control typically abuse publications and alter the tools used to access information so as to disempower the audience. Apple’s hypePad takes it to new extremes.

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