Sony DTC-2000ES DAT recorder SCMS Scams
Sidebar 2: SCMS Scams
What really pisses me off about SCMS is that it wasn't even necessary. The CD standard already included a provision for placing a marker flag that would prevent any digital copying, but for whatever reason, it seems no CD manufacturer ever used it. (This may have had something to do with a Supreme Court ruling that consumers have the legal right to duplicate copyrighted stuff for their own private use.) But that CD anti-copy flag could be used to invoke a modified SCMS that would limit duplication of copyrighted material to a single generation, but would still allow unrestricted duping of uncopyrighted material.
Here's how it would work: Instead of getting flagged by just any ol' digital signal, a DAT machine could look for the CD's anti-copy flag and use that to set its own flag, which would then prevent any further copying. But if the digital original didn't contain the CD-protect flag, it wouldn't kick in the SCMS, so any number of generations could be copied from that copy. Unfortunately, this great idea will probably never be implemented, because it takes an act of Congress to get a dumb law changed, and Congress never does anything sensible without being bludgeoned about the head. So SCMS will probably be with us indefinitely. Sigh.J. Gordon Holt