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Broadcast Flag down

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Broadcast Flag down2005-05-06 21:09
by Flemming Funch

The U.S. FCC (Federal Communications Commission) had decreed that from July 1st all equipment in any way connected with over-the-air TV broadcasts would have to be manufactured with a so-called Broadcast Flag. Which essentially means you couldn't do anything with the received program other than what its "owner" wanted you to do. I.e. you wouldn't be able to copy it, put it on a DVD, watch it on your computer, take a screenshot, or anything else that might be convenient and meaningful to you. All your equipment would be crippled, solely in the interest of protecting the broadcasters' business model. Or, rather, the way things worked a couple of decades ago. The movie, recording and broadcasting industry can unfortunately easily find corrupt politicians and public officials who will try to do their bidding.

But, luckily, this time it seems it didn't work. Today a U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that the FCC has absolutely no authority to regulate what people do with their electronic devices at home, other than when it comes to the actual transmission through radio waves.

Somebody in the U.S. Congress might well decide to make such a scheme law anyway. But until then it seems that the plan is dead. Lots of other schemes are still in action, that try to limit the natural movement of information, and put all the controls in the hands of a few large companies, but at least this seems like good news.

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