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01.25.2004
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Uncertainty over content protection extends to CES

In the end, few at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) changed their minds about the complex knot of copyright issues facing the entertainment industry. But even for those whose job it is to determine the rules may be having a hard time sorting out policy from real-world use of their gadgets.

A parade of lawyers, lobbyists and advocates repeated their familiar positions on the issues at the CES event in Las Vegas. However, some manufacturers of consumer electronics equipment staked early positions on content protection by implementing their own features to prohibit users from sharing copied or downloaded digital media.

Semiconductor chipmaker Silicon Image, for example, told Wired News it was testing silicon for digital television sets and other digital media products that would limit the recording of certain programs. Portable media players from various companies are being built with a maze of consumer no-no’s built-in to the operating software. Presumably the consumer must buy the product before learning what it cannot do.

TiVo added “TiVo Guard” to its digital recording service to prohibit users from sending content from their TiVo recorders to other people’s homes. The guard also limits the viewing of a program to one machine at a time even within a single home.

For more information visit www.ce.org.

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