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February 22, 2005

Broadcast Flag Opponents

Via TVPredictions.com, there is a good article in the International Hearld Tribune that discusses the upcoming broadcast flag. It's a good overview and discusses some of the arguments of Public Knowledge, a digital rights advocacy group in Washington. Their argument in this debate:

"This is about whether the FCC is going to become the Federal Computer Commission and the Federal Copyright Commission," said Gigi Sohn, the co-founder and president of Public Knowledge. "The FCC does not have the power to tell technology manufacturers how to build their machines"

According to the article:

Staunch opponents of the broadcast flag rule see it as an unprecedented regulatory sledgehammer.

In only a few limited circumstances has the commission issued design regulations for the manufacture of consumer electronics - and in those cases, only after a statutory mandate from Congress.

Copyright law has always been about the balance of protecting copyright holders versus innovation and the greater good. I'm all for keeping an incentive for artists to make creative works, but I question whether putting in the broadcast flag, which undoubtedly stifles innovation of valid and legal copyright uses such as DVRs and VCRS, is helping keep the balance intact. At a minimum, you'd at least like to see our elective representatives weigh in on this one.

Posted on February 22, 2005

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