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FCC considers "broadcast flag" and its requirements

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 16 Oct 2003 16:21 User comments (5)

FCC considers "broadcast flag" and its requirements Federal Communications Commission, an American government organization that controls much of the broadcasting and telephone rules in the United States, is condidering so-called "broadcast flag" to digital TV broadcasts and requirements for computers and consumer electronics to obey such flag.
Basically, entertainment industry wants to make it impossible to simply copy digital TV broadcasting material -- that is normally being sent in MPEG-2 format that can be transferred pretty much directly to DVDRs -- in high quality capture to PC and then distributed over the Net. Therefor, industry wants FCC to rule that broadcasters could set a "flag" to those shows that they don't allow being copied and that all electronics manufacturers would have to implement features to their products that would make them to obey this flag.

In real life, this would mean that next generation "Tivos" wouldn't be able to record shows or movies that broadcasters think is too valuable for them to allow users to time-shift or record -- even for personal purposes. Obviously, technology companies oppose this ruling and claim -- very reasonably, actually -- that if, or when, someone hacks the copy protection, FCC would then require them to change their products again to implement further copy protection methods, until those get cracked as well. Consumer groups oppose the idea as well, since it kinda kills the idea of digital VCR totally -- system can't determine whether user is going to store the movie/show only for watching it after his/her holiday or does the user have plans to distribute the recording over the P2P networks.

And to thwart the idea further, despite broadcast flag available or not, old analog recorders, such as current generation of "Tivos" and other PVR systems and good old VCRs could still record the shows -- only in current NTSC resolution, but it would still be possible.

Source: MSNBC

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5 user comments

117.10.2003 4:13

Visit the website below if you would like to send a letter to the FCC telling them not to allow a broadcast flag. I would urge anyone who cares about and values their fair use rights to do so.

217.10.2003 8:43

Twinke is right on. However you feel about this issue, SPEAK OUT.The EFF also has good information and a way to contact the FCC. The entertainment industry is lobbying hard to take away our rights. Since they conviently control the media, the general public is pretty much clueless about most of this stuff. Go figure...

We mustn't lower ourselves to the level of those we loathe, lest we become loathsome ourselves.

319.10.2003 12:13

Well we all have to start writing to our congress about this crap. I can't believe that the FCC is going to consider making this a mandentory obligation for these broadcasters. We need to get involved and stop sitting on our asses and hopeing it will all go away. This is something that will never go away untill people get smart.

420.10.2003 7:43

vudoo- It is the FCC that is in the process of deciding this issue right now, not congress. Either of the two links above will help you to send an e-mail or snail mail to the correct people at the FCC. If we collectivly do nothing, our right to record (digital) broadcast television WILL go away.

We mustn't lower ourselves to the level of those we loathe, lest we become loathsome ourselves.

522.10.2003 10:24

I agree. The users and the manufactures of VCR and PVR's need to fight a good hard fight. Its been legal for years to record from the TV like off of HBO or whatever. It should not be changed just because HDTV is comming out no matter if the Holleywood executives are super paranoid or not. We have the right to record so just add a extra cost to the device or blank media but DON'T TAKE THE RIGHT TO RECORD AWAY!! I can't believe we are actually all reading this to date. This is crap trying to reprogram our minds. Voodoohippie

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