Image Processing Reference
however, there are mechanisms for scrambling the content so it cannot be decrypted with-
out the necessary permission. That permission is often embodied in a card that is inserted
into the front of the receiver.
In practice, these schemes are compromised by people buying cards within the legit-
imate territory and using them outside of it or by nefarious activity that leads to the cards
being hacked and distributed illegally.
In the United States, content owners are pressing the broadcasters to adopt the “broadcast
flag,” an embedded signal that recording equipment must obey. This functionality is part of
the Advanced Access Content System (AACS). It is being promoted as a means to allow
consumers free and fair use but will prohibit onward distribution of the content.
There is an insidious move toward the ultimate goal of having total control of the
consumers playback system. In due course the broadcast flag will no doubt be extended
to prevent recording of any kind. It is the thin end of the wedge to handing control of your
playback experience to a company who will build a revenue stream out of granting you
permission to play content that you have already purchased. When we have bought con-
tent in the past, the contract implied or implicit is that we have purchased a right to play
that material in perpetuity. Handing control to the content owner like this seems to con-
tradict those fair-use rights, especially if there is a possibility that they will deny access
after a certain time or a limited number of plays.
The broadcaster must ensure that the customer get the rights they think they are pay-
ing for. If I think I am purchasing perpetual rights and later find that I was actually only
renting a limited permit to access, then I will be a very unhappy customer.
Implications for Video Libraries
This is a variant on the rented-movies scenario. The charging model is different for video
libraries, but it deals with media that is ephemeral and duplicated as needed from a mas-
ter copy. There is no need to return the assets like there would be in a physical library but
there are also zero production costs.
This is potentially useful on a streamed delivery system as well. Is it possible to
prevent people from capturing and recording the streams? I doubt it. Do you need to?
Why would you want to? If a library is publishing some archival footage and it is never
planning to take it offline, and the footage is going to be freely available in perpetuity, is
there any reason to bother trying to protect it? Before buying and implementing a
sophisticated and complex DRM system, you need to think about whether you actually
need one at all.
Advanced Access Content System: http://www.aacsla.com/