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Broadcast Flag Struck Down By Appeals Court

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Broadcast Flag Struck Down By Appeals Court

Broadcast Flag Struck Down By Appeals Court

On Friday the United States Court of Appeals ruled in favor of consumers in a hearing on Broadcast Flag. The Appeals Court ruled that the FCC does not have the authority to decide whether consumer electronics devices sold in the United States must support broadcast flag technology. ‘Broadcast Flag’ is a hot topic right now and their are many opinions on this ruling floating arond the Internet.

From Sync2Play : This is a big win for fair use advocates, specifically because broadcast flag would have limited what could be done with recordings made using Tivo and Windows Media Center type products. The idea behind Broadcast Flag is to make playback possible only from the device used to record the program. For example, if you recorded something with Tivo, you couldn’t play it back on your laptop. It’s still possible for this Broadcast Flag decision to be overturned by Congress, but not as likely considering Congress would in effect be deciding how citizens are allowed to use their televisions and other electronic devices for non-infringing activities.

Claw Marks opinion : The Court said the FCC had no right to adopt the regulations because the broadcast flag only affects programming after it has been transmitted. People buying the next generation of digital televisions will be able to record and then watch their favorite shows later, after all.

Now that’s a nice win – actual digital rights, for citizens (instead of the companies that want to control content, forever, even if their corporation vanishes). That’s real nice for folks in the United States. Meanwhile in Canada, citizens can’t legally buy or subscribe to XM or Sirius Satellite Radio. Why? Well basically because the CRTC says so, and that’s that, apparently. So roll over and do what we say, peons.

And from NotLost : Good riddance to the idiotic broadcast flag that the FCC mandated in their 2003 ruling, with the backing of the entertainment industry. A Federal Appeals Court struck down the ruling, saying that the FCC overreached its authority.

I dislike the Broadcast Flag idea for many reasons. First, it drives up the cost of digital TV receivers by requiring that each device enforce digital rights management. Second, it tramples on fair use by disallowing the kind of copying and space-shifting that is specifically permitted by the so-called “Betamax Case”. Finally, it doesn’t even work, because the TV signal itself is not encrypted, leaving the enforcement of DRM up to the honesty of the receiver. Enthusiasts with PC-based HDTV tuners will easily bypass the measure.

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Loren Baker

Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing ... [Read full bio]

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