Endangered Gizmos – Only You Can Prevent Extinction
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Who says that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) doesn’t have a sense of humour! Anybody who does will be handily proven wrong by a look at their new “Endangered Gizmos” list, over which anybody should get a chuckle (not to mention an education) no matter where you fall along the technopolitical divide.

The list is divided into groups of “extinct”, “endangered” and even “saved” gizmos. The “extinct” list includes the Replay TV 4000 (“Why it’s extinct: Former Turner Broadcasting CEO Jamie Kellner called skipping commercials “theft” — and evidently the major motion picture studios agree. They sued the manufacturers of ReplayTV out of existence, and the company that purchased it buckled under and removed the contested features.”), and DVD X-Copy, which the site explains allowed you to create backup copies of your DVDs as well as to rrecord fair-use excerpts of movies from DVD”, and which is extinct because “Hollywood sued the company that made DVD X-Copy out of existence, successfully arguing that it violated the highly controversial “anti-circumvention” clause in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).”


Gizmos on the “endangered” list includes iPods, Morpheus, and D/A and A/D converters (which the site explains are “at the core of modern multimedia recorders and players like the iPod. They convert between the analog signals of the real world and the 1s and 0s of digital”)

Devices on the “saved” list include the Sony Betamax, and almost inexplicably the Skylink automatic garage door opener, because, as the EFF site explains, “Chamberlain, manufacturer of the Security+ line of garage door openers, wasn’t keen on having to compete with Skylink. The company sued, claiming that Skylink’s universal opener violated the DMCA’s “anti-circumvention” clause because it “circumvented” Chamberlain’s rolling-code security mechanism.”

All in all a very interesting and educational read, even if you take the self-promoting grains of salt out. Check it out at the EFF’s [Page no longer available – we have linked to the archive.org version instead] list.

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No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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