[Politech] FCC's "broadcast flag" proposal starts to get attention [ip]

From: Declan McCullagh (declan@private)
Date: Thu Oct 16 2003 - 06:29:32 PDT

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    Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 07:39:38 -0400
    To: Declan McCullagh <declan@private>
    From: mnemonic <mnemonic@private>
    Subject: Broadcast Flag in the Post
    Cc: mnemonic@private
    The FCC's plans to change how we watch television, and to restrict the kinds
    of copies we make of broadcast TV programming, have finally begun to surface
    in the mainstream press -- at least in a way that begins to make clear what
    we're about to lose: not just TV copying but open-architecture computer 
    design as well.
    FCC Targets Copying of Digital TV
    Hollywood Backs Rule That May Irk Viewers
    By Jonathan Krim
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Thursday, October 16, 2003; Page E01
    The federal government is preparing for the first time to require that
    personal computers and other consumer electronics devices contain technology
    to help block Internet piracy of digital entertainment.
    A rule being considered by the Federal Communications Commission is one of a
    series of proposals pushed by the entertainment industry to help thwart
    copying and online trading of movies and television shows that increasingly
    are being broadcast in digital form with high-quality picture and sound.
    But the new rule also would force consumers to purchase new equipment if
    they wanted to record enhanced digital-quality television programs and
    replay them on other machines.
    Opponents of the proposed rule, including many technology companies and
    consumer groups, say it won't work. They are especially concerned that the
    plan might lead to government regulation of how personal computers and other
    devices are built, particularly if hackers crack the system and further
    changes are deemed necessary.
    Officials at the FCC, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said they
    expect the agency to settle on details of the "broadcast flag" rule by the
    end of the month. The broadcast flag takes its name from the bit of computer
    code that would be embedded in digital television signals and would be read
    by "compliant" devices such as a television set or a digital video recorder.
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