As we touched on earlier this week, in exchange for releasing new content directly to your home sooner, Hollywood studios are seeking governmental permission to choose how that content will get to you. According to The Wall Street Journal, studios want the option to block video signals from reaching television sets that aren’t connected with digital cables or plugs that feature built-in copyright protection measures.
Hollywood’s move raises the question of how much control it should have over the distribution of its content. Studios want the protections in place to curb piracy before they’re ready to test out delivering movies via VOD in advance of those titles’ DVD release. But critics argue the move could cause customer confusion and would open the door for anti-competitive practices.
As we’ve recently learned, studios such as Warner Bros. are grappling with the day and date release issue. Earlier this year, WB said it would release all of its film titles on VOD on the same day as DVD, only to almost immediately backpedal from that stance and say only about 75 percent of its films would be released simultaneously on both media.
The FCC has asked for public comment on the issue, but it isn’t expected to act until later this year.