Saturday, May 07, 2005


Good news for people who feel that copyright protection has got too tight: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed a Federal Communications Commission order that would have required people making digital TV equipment to make their machines recognise a "broadcast flag" in signals that would limit what people could do with copyrighted material. The flag, in effect, would prevent viewers from making up the 21st century equivalent of tapes of their favourite bits of programmes, or lending last night's 24 to a mate who missed it, unless the copyright holder gave them explicit permission to do so. The appeals court, though, pointed out that the FCC had no powers to insist manufacturers do so, because the flag device was activated only after a signal had been communicated - in other words, after the FCC's jurisdiction had been left.

Of course, they'll just find some senator or congressman and pump cash into his pocketbook until they change the law. Apparently, it's important, to protect the American way:

On Friday, broadcasters vowed to take their fight to Congress and push for broadcast-flag legislation that "preserves the uniquely American system of free, local television," said Edward Fritts, president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters.

We know that ITV's regional news programmes aren't what they were, but in what way is local free to air TV "uniquely American"? And how exactly does breaking people's TV sets defend that anyway?

1 comment:

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