MPAA makes push for PPV-related waiver

Files brief with FCC regarding certain regulations

The MPAA on Wednesday filed a brief with the FCC backing its push for a waiver from certain regulations governing consumer electronics to allow use of new technology boosting security for pay-per-view movies.

Hollywood studios would be more inclined to release films simultaneously on PPV, sometimes called video-on-demand, if such transmissions to cable and satellite systems could be made more secure, the MPAA said.

The studio group filed its FCC waiver request in May 2008; the Public Knowledge consumer-advocacy group opposed it. If the waiver were granted, studios and consumer electronics companies could agree to implement selectable-output control technology to disable less-secure analog outputs on HDTV sets with secure digital inputs.

"Many of us love movies, but we just can't make it to the theater as often as we'd like," MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman said. "That is especially true for parents of young children, rural Americans who live far from the multiplex and people with disabilities that keep them close to home. Having the added option to enjoy movies in a more timely fashion at home would be a liberating new choice."

The MPAA waiver request has been considered a long shot to succeed, in part because of the advocacy group's opposition. In its latest filing, the MPAA said the group's concern is unwarranted.

"By Public Knowledge's odd reckoning ... no consumer-oriented technological breakthrough ever could be introduced to American homes unless and until every single American home had access to the same opportunity at the same moment in time," the MPAA said. "That is a recipe for holding every innovation hostage until the last consumer adopts a new technology."