What? You actually thought it was safe to buy a new Disney DVD to play on your Mac? You invited some neighbors to watch?
Well, watch out. That might be illegal in the future as along comes the watchdogs of the motion picture industry to just say no.
The Motion Picture Association of America, the MPAA, the voice of “Cry havoc, and let loose the dogs of war” are declaring war on your living room.
That is, of course, your living room theater. You don’t have a living room theater? Yes, you do. At least, according to the MPAA.
What’s a home theater? Any home with a television larger than 29-inches, with stereo sound, and at least two comfortable chairs. Look around. Does that describe your living room?
According to Scott Small, of BBspot, the MPAA wants a new law that would make such unauthorized home theaters illegal. All such theaters need to be sanctioned, licensed, and pay the freight—whether they’re commercial theaters or a theater in your home.
Details in the proposed law would require DVD player hardware to contain technology that reports back to the MPAA. What would it report? What movie is being shown, and specific details of the audience (using cool new motion sensor and biometric technology).
I know what you’re thinking. That’ll never happen. It’s a law that will never see the light of day. I mentioned this to a neighbor who didn’t scoff at the idea at all.
He said, “Hmmm. It’s plausible. Remember, Congress passes laws and votes on all kinds of things that are ridiculous. Can you say WMDs?” That put a damper on my faith in the government to protect us from the forces of evil.
Dan Glickman, head of the MPAA is quoted as saying the obvious. Big Brother is alive and well and hiding in your next DVD player.
Wait a minute. Is that for real? Did April Fool’s Day sneak up on me while I was breast feeding my daughter? Apparently not. These folks are serious.
They’ve got to be talking about a different kind of home theater than the home theater in our home, right? All we have is a 42-inch widescreen TV (with stereo), a sofa, a matching love seat, a matching chair, a dining room set with more chairs, and a DVD player and TiVo.
That doesn’t count, does it? Oh, I forgot to mention the dozen or so friends who visit once a week for our family moviefest. And there’s the Kayhill Family Disneython of DVDs on Sunday afternoons.
That doesn’t make our home a true blue Bijou theater, does it? Does it?
Apparently the Kayhills would have to cough up money to retrofit our “home theater” with the soul snatching and counting technology if we want to have the neighbors in to watch a DVD on our TV screen.
Why? The bill seems to say that existing home theaters would be required to retrofit the technology. And inform the MPAA and get approval before playing the movie.
What’s next? Will they want a cut of the proceeds of the popcorn I serve while watching Finding Nemo for the 17th time?
Maybe I’m the only one who thinks this, but I think both the recording industry and the motion picture industry are going waaaaaay too far with this copyright ownership dream crapola. Are not these the same people whose TV commercials entice me to “own” the latest Spiderman and Superman and Cars DVDs?
If I own them, they’re mine. If I can fit 50 people into my living room to watch it, it’ll happen. The movie is free to view but I’m charging for the popcorn. After all, I’ll probably have fines and attorney fees to pay.
Whew! Doesn’t that sort of serious fiction make you wonder about watching a DVD using Front Row on your new Mac? Could the RIAA and MPAA ever go this far? Even as fiction, it’s a scary notion that has a ring of fear to it.