Thursday, June 29, 2006

The next new Rio (aka endangered gadget)

Derek Slater is worried that Neuros MPEG4 Recorder 2 (the "R2") is the next endangered gadget likely to fall foul of proposed expansions to intellectual property law.

"Last week, Congress held yet another hearing about "plugging the analog hole." Why is Hollywood so bent on making all analog-to-digital technologies obey copyright holders' commands? Because in an age of DRM on digital media, the analog hole is often the last refuge for fair use and for innovators trying to build new gadgets to take your rights into the digital age.

Take the Neuros MPEG4 Recorder 2 (the "R2"), an endangered gizmo that digitizes analog video output and records it to a CF card or a memory stick in MPEG4 format. The video can then be put on your computer, burned to DVD, moved to your video iPod, or slotted right into your Sony PSP. You can also output video to a display device from the R2.

In turn, the R2 helps you make legitimate use of your media and lawfully escape DRM restrictions."

It's a clever way of getting round the anti-circumvention provisions of the EU copyright directive and the DMCA - making digital copies in drm free format of the analog output of audio or video files. No wonder the music & movie industries don't like it.

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