Japanese consumers not saluting newly introduced broadcast flag

An interesting article in yesterday’s Japan Times Online: Viewers upset over digital TV taping restrictions. It says:

On April 5, NHK and the National Association of Commercial Broadcasters in Japan began airing their programs with a special transmission signal that allows only a single copy of the program to be made.


In the week after the measure was implemented, NHK and the grouping of private broadcasters received more than 15,000 inquiries and complaints about the scheme.

And further:

The duplication controls have been adopted to protect broadcast copyrights, an NHK official said, adding, “Easy violation of copyright would make movie and music copyright holders reluctant to provide their works and prompt actors and singers to refuse to appear on TV.”

A strange way of reasoning, as the success of actors and singers is often linked to the hype surrounding them. I don’t see how sharing television programs could harm them and take away the incentive to appear on TV.

Cory Doctorow gets it right:

‘Course, the broadcast flag doesn’t really stop you from capturing analog signals and putting their programming online; no, this is a measure that is 100% ineffective at stopping “piracy” and 100% effective at stopping new tech like VCRs from being invented without the permission of the movie studios.

An analysis that comes very close to Ernest Miller’s recent explanation about why DRM is valuable for the content industries; DRM puts them in a better position to negotiate how technology will be permitted to develop.

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  1. […] “[…] aiming to improve viewer convenience […]”: finally &— people have been complaining about the broadcast flag since it was introduced in April 2004. […]

    » chosaq » Copy-once soon to be retired? on July 31st, 2006 at 17:44