I’m a staunch advocate for electronic freedom: no company should be able to tell me what I can and can’t do with my electronics and data, provided I don’t break other laws. (Constructing a death-ray is probably out of the question.) It should be evident that the broadcast flag irks me.

The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has a pretty good description of what the broadcast flag means to the average user. Even better, the EFF provides a step-by-step guide for beating the impending DRM: EFF’s HDTV-PVR Cookbook. The article describes everything you need to buy, build, and set up a homemade PVR with HD capability.

My computer parts are in the mail… I will be sure to post on how it all goes. Let this serve as an important reminder: the more companies try to restrain the rights of fair use, ingenious ways will be found to circumvent them.

We’re moving towards a world where you license music that can be played only on certain equipment, under certain conditions. The sound quality may be altered if it could be captured by a recording device. If the trend continues, I can see pay-per-play licensing, not unlike pay toilets. Most people are not criminals; they simply want to enjoy the media they’ve paid good money for. These arguments mean nothing when large monopolies are facing a shrinking bottom line.

That’s why I have no sympathy for the MPAA or RIAA. Get with the times and embrace the new content distribution model. Provide all the albums, movies, and TV people want, at reasonable cost and in a variety of re-usable formats. Recognize that high-fidelity recording equipment (like an HD PVR) can be used for things other than piracy. The customer is always right—unless the company funds the passage of laws to strip the customer of “rights”. Presuming criminal intent just for possessing tools capable of reading and recording a pure TV signal—what kind of freedom is that?