Friday, May 05, 2006

The Broadcast Flags Ride again

The RIAA and MPAA efforts to breathe life into their broadcast flag idea have come to fruition again.

"The story so far: the broadcast flags, both video and audio, have been wandering the halls of Congress, looking to smuggle themselves into law, like tramps looking for an empty boxcar. For nearly a year, neither the MPAA and RIAA have been able to find them a ride. The MPAA failed to introduce the broadcast flag language into an appropriations bill, or the reconciliation bill, nor could they sneak it into last year's urgent digital television transition bills. The RIAA's audio flag has been rebuffed at every turn.

But early this week, Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) introduced a long awaited 125-page draft reform of the Communications Act to the Senate Commerce Committee last week, and both flags found their lift. With telecom reform likely, it's critical that you take action now to stop these dangerous proposals from coming along for the ride...

Senator Stevens, who earlier this year seemed to understand the everyday difficulties caused by DRM, has nevertheless introduced the flag language as an attempt:

to strike a balance between the needs of broadcasters and the desires of the consumer electronics industry not to have the federal government pick technology winners and losers.

Mandating DRM on all future TVs, radios, and every device that can record, transmit, or display them is not "striking a balance." It's a betrayal of tomorrow's innovators and the public that would otherwise stand to benefit from their efforts."

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