Friday, May 06, 2005

Congress does not hide elephants in mouse holes

Remember my rants (here and here) about the FCC's broadcast flag rule that would take effect this July? Well, the DC Cir. Court of Appeals just told the FCC to shove it in Am. Library Assoc. v. FCC.

Can't remember what I'm talking about? Here's a recap of what the broadcast flag was intended to do (from the court opinion):

The broadcast flag, or
Redistribution Control Descriptor, is a digital code embedded in
a digital broadcasting stream, which prevents digital television
reception equipment from redistributing digital broadcast
content. See id. at 16,027. The effectiveness of the broadcast
flag regime is dependent on programming being flagged and on
devices capable of receiving broadcast DTV signals
(collectively "demodulator products") being able to recognize
and give effect to the flag. Under the rule, new demodulator
products (e.g., televisions, computers, etc.) must include flag-
recognition technology. This technology, in combination with
broadcasters’ use of the flag, would prevent redistribution of
broadcast programming. The broadcast flag does not have any
impact on a DTV broadcast transmission. The flag’s only effect
is to limit the capacity of receiver apparatus to redistribute
broadcast content after a broadcast transmission is complete.

That means, no home recording of digital television.

Well, the Appeals Court rightly saw that this rule would be a huge expansion of the FCC's powers, and told the MPAA they would have to go to Congress for such a law.

Cory Doctorow of the EFF's reaction over at boing boing:

The fact is, elected lawmakers are not suicidal enough to break their constituents' televisions. Watch and see: over the next year, we're all going to roast any lawmaker who so much as breathes the words "Broadcast Flag" in a favorable tone.



Blogger Crapartist said...

True, but they do like to slip lots of mice through elephant holes.

1:20 AM  

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