The analog hole is the rather pejorative term coined by the RIAA (or MPAA) to describe the fact that it is technologically possible to hook an analog VCR to the output of your DVR, which means that you can enforce your fair use rights to keep recorded programming, even if the PVR has been programmed to delete it without your consent after a given period (as the capability now exists to do in commercial PVR's -- MythTV does not respect such requests, and likely never will).
In this post, Ed Felten describes it thusly:
- Speaking of holes, and pointless exercises, last month Reps. Sensenbrenner and Conyers introduced a bill, the Digital Transition Content Security Act, also known as the Analog Hole Bill.
- “Analog hole” is an artfully chosen term, referring to the fact that audio and video can be readily converted back and forth between digital and analog formats. This is just a fact about the universe, but calling it a “hole” makes it sound like a problem that might possibly be solved. The last large-scale attack on the analog hole was the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) which went down in flames in 2002 after its technology was shown to be ineffective (and after SDMI famously threatened to sue researchers for analyzing the technology).
- The Analog Hole Bill would mandate that any devices that can translate certain types of video signals from analog to digital form must comply with a Byzantine set of design restrictions that talk about things like “certified digital content rights protection output technologies”.