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Broadcast Flag All But Approved 431

Are We Afraid writes "The FCC is about to approve the broadcast flag for HDTV, according to Reuters. The EFF has been vocal in its disapproval, but the suits appear to be pushing ahead anyway. We may soon need an updated dystopian parable: The Right to Watch."
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Broadcast Flag All But Approved

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  • by Max Romantschuk ( 132276 ) <> on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @07:54AM (#7279669) Homepage
    SPDIF (Sony Philips Digital InterFace) has a copyright bit which can be set for audio signals... has that been stopping people?

    Any wall a man can build can be torn down by another man... Is it really worth all the fuss?
    • by sl0ppy ( 454532 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:00AM (#7279693)
      i can tell you that as a musician, the copyright bit on the personal dat recorder i purchased did a pretty good job of stopping me.

      well, until i spent $1500 more on a professional dat recorder, that didn't contain it.

      it's ridiculous. i wasn't even allowed to copy my own recordings. it's not like dat is a hotbed of piracy, i only recall one riaa album *ever* released to dat.

      it's nice to see bogus legislature used to stop useful technology from taking hold, and the common man from being able to compete with those already in power.
      • by captaineo ( 87164 ) * on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:12AM (#7279742)
        The more I think about it the more I agree this is [i]exactly[/i] what the broadcast flag is about. It's not about stopping piracy*. It's about stopping low-budget Mac-wielding filmmakers from threatening Hollywood... Amazing consumer-level media tools do no good if they can't record anything. *I love how the article positions the broadcast flag as a "magic bullet" against internet piracy. As if one bit is going to stop anyone from doing anything...
        • That may be one reason the broadcasters want this piece of trash. Another reason would be the elimination of Tivo-type PVR devices, which allow the end user to avoid watching their commercials and other dreck.

      • At what point does an FPGA become a circumvention device?

        Certainly, current FPGA proto boards are much cheaper than $1500, and will strip any copy-protection bits from a serial bit stream just fine.

        • Thank you for your interesting comment.

          But, what exactly is a FPGA? Is it a Field-Programmable Grid Array? And how would this chip be related to the previous discussion?

          I'm not disputing your claim, I'm only trying to understand what you're referring to.

          On Slashdot, given the wide range of the audience, expanding acronyms and including a URL or two for some background info goes a long way.

          thank you,
      • > the copyright bit on the personal dat recorder i purchased did a pretty good job of stopping me

        Then you bought the wrong deck. Back when DAT still mattered many manufacturers made circumvention of copy restrictions quite easy, sometimes even deliberately so. I remember reading about various decks where disabling copy restrictions involved nothing more than cutting a simple wire or circuit board trace. This wasn't that surprising since copy restriction was seen as a market killer by the manufacturers a
  • by Azghoul ( 25786 )
    Everyone cries about the horror of the future where we'll only be spoon-fed what they want to feed us.

    What a crock. There has, and always will be, alternatives. While it's entirely appropriate for concerns to be raised now, to expect that we'll end up with some sort of "Evil Corporate Control" over what we can do with our lives is kind of paranoid, don't you think?

    I mean, we COULD actually just go outside, sit in a hammock and read a book, couldn't we? Television entertains me less and less as time goe
    • by Davak ( 526912 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:11AM (#7279741) Homepage
      Or, you could just attack this the American way... and bitch about it!

      Chairman Michael K. Powell:
      Commissioner Kathleen Q. Abernathy:
      Commissioner Michael J. Copps:
      Commissioner Kevin J. Martin:
      Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein:

      General information, inquiries & complaints:
      Freedom of Information Act requests:
      Comments on FCC Internet services:
      Elections & political candidate matters:

      1-888-225-5322 (1-888-CALL FCC) Voice: toll-free
      1-888-835-5322 (1-888-TELL FCC) TTY: toll-free
      (202) 418-2555 TTY: toll
      (202) 418-0710 FAX
      (202) 418-2830 FAX on Demand
      (202) 418-1440 Elections & political candidate matters
    • by agentk ( 74906 )

      Azghoul wrote:

      There has, and always will be, alternatives.

      True, but how accessible will the alternatives be?

      What if the law mandated that you needed a government license to publish books? How much choice would you have for your hammock reading material? (this is exactly how it worked in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries) Obviously a bit more extreme than the broadcast flag, but not unrelated.

      Personally, I don't care that much about TV, nevermind "HDTV". I think we need to really care whe

    • by 3terrabyte ( 693824 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @09:04AM (#7280047) Journal
      And what kind of education and job would you need to be able to spend your saturdays in a hammock in a yard & house that you bought?

      The story works well because it described the hoops you have to live with to make it through college to get the job you desire.

      I'm sure if on a different day someone told you that the Chinese shouldn't bitch about the propaganda the government puts on the radio, TV, and newspapers. Afterall, there are other alternatives, like farming some rice outside. Come on, use your imagination.

    • You have to keep the barrier to entry for small/indie startups in almost any industry as low as possible. For instance let us say you start an online video or audio site (inet radio for instance) that only uses truely independent non-signed talent and content, you should be able to operate such a biz without being constantly hasseled and legaly threatend by the current large incumbents in the field. This is very important if you want true capitalism with creative destruction and all that good stuff. So y
    • no (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ender Ryan ( 79406 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @09:24AM (#7280189) Journal
      I mean, we COULD actually just go outside, sit in a hammock and read a book, couldn't we?

      Not when all books are electronic, and you're only allowed one reading of a book.

      So, perhaps, you COULD go outside with your e-reader, if the wireless authentication mechanism works, and read an e-book in your hammock.

      Of course, we (the people) could create all our own entertainment, if all the tools for doing so aren't considered "copyright circumvention devices." Want to write a book? You'll need an e-reader writing license, and all the authorship slots are currently full. Paper is illegal, because it allows easy recording of potentially infringing information.

      That may sound insane, but my point is that our rights are being eroded on multiple fronts, specifically, corporate control and legislation.

      Honestly, I don't think it will be as bad as some people think, but I imagine it will get Pretty Bad(TM).

  • Incorrect (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Klerck ( 213193 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @07:56AM (#7279678) Homepage
    I think "Right to Watch" would be a bit of a misnomer. It's much more like the "Right to Record". Nothing is going to stop anyone from watching something when it's broadcast.
    • by WIAKywbfatw ( 307557 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:09AM (#7279733) Journal
      The last Slashdot article on this topic had a post that contained the various lengths of time within which you could view a HDTV recording. After "forever" the next longest length of time was "one week".

      One measly week.

      Well, one week might be fine if you record something becasue you know you're going out for the night, but what the hell do you do if you're going away on a two-week vacation? What choice do you have except to miss out?

      Can you imagine missing the last two weeks of 24, The West Wing, ER or whatever you're hooked on because some silly timestamped restriction is set to one week (or less)?

      How do you tell your young kids that the show that you promised they could watch when they got back home from a long car journey to visit the grandparents can't be watched anymore because you exceeded the time limit? Ever tried explaining silly things like that to a screaming three year old?

      Let's face it, for a lot of people, life is more hectic now than it was ten years ago. Ten years from now, it'll probably be more hectic still. What good is a timeshifting device like a VCR or a PVR if you can't timeshift with it?
      • "Can you imagine missing the last two weeks of 24, The West Wing, ER or whatever you're hooked on because some silly timestamped restriction is set to one week (or less)?"

        If that's what you're worried about when you go on vacation, you should probably take a longer vacation.

        "How do you tell your young kids that the show that you promised they could watch when they got back home from a long car journey to visit the grandparents can't be watched anymore because you exceeded the time limit?"

        You should

  • the bottom line (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    But consumer advocates warn that it would make obsolete 50 million DVD players already in Americans' homes.
  • by EinarH ( 583836 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:00AM (#7279694) Journal
    I think this will help the companies and boost demand for HDTV.


    • My thoughts exactly. I look forward to seeing the salesman's face when I refuse to purchase anything that doesn't work with my TiVO.

      The quality may be great, etc, but using a TiVO is more important to me than quality--I already sacrifice quality on the TiVO, actually.

      And if shows broadcast in HD only? Well, there's 4 other channels with 24x7 programming on them. I guess I'll just switch channels.

      Not exactly the effect they were hoping for, I don't imagine? I think this just killed HD dead.
  • by Hanashi ( 93356 ) * on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:02AM (#7279705) Homepage
    [This is the text of the letter I faxed to the FCC yesterday. Please feel free to copy it and send it yourself if you like, or visit the EFF's Action Center [] and use their spiffy online form. They haven't voted yet; it's not too late!]

    Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein
    Federal Communications Commission
    445 12th Street, NW
    Washington, D.C. 20554

    Dear Jonathan Adelstein,

    Commissioner Kevin J. Martin
    Federal Communications Commission
    445 12th Street, NW
    Washington, D.C. 20554

    Dear Kevin Martin,

    Commissioner Michael J. Copps
    Federal Communications Commission
    445 12th Street, NW
    Washington, D.C. 20554

    Dear Michael Copps,

    Commissioner Kathleen Q. Abernathy
    Federal Communications Commission
    445 12th Street, NW
    Washington, D.C. 20554

    Dear Kathleen Abernathy,

    Chairman Michael K. Powell
    Federal Communications Commission
    445 12th Street, NW
    Washington, D.C. 20554

    Dear Michael Powell,

    Please allow me to take a few moments of your time in order to express my opposition to the proposed adoption of the "broadcast flag" for digital televisions. I strongly believe that this misuse of technology will do little but stifle legitimate innovation (including slowing the adoption of digital television) and infringe on the consumer's fair-use rights.

    One of the most serious problems with the "broadcast flag" proposal is that it places control over marketplace innovation in the hands of the MPAA, an organization with no vested interest in innovation. In fact, the MPAA can be viewed as having more of an interest in the LACK of innovation, in that they are rooted firmly in the current technology and content distribution model. Allowing the MPAA to veto new features in digital television equipment is like giving organized crime the power to veto new wiretap laws. As a business organization, the MPAA will always act in the interest of it's members, and not the public. The result is that marketplace innovation will suffer, and consumers will have to make do with fewer features and no way to exercise their legally protected fair-use rights.

    In conclusion, I urge to you avoid "broadcast flag" technology at all costs. It is a system tailor-made to appeal to the Hollywood content providers, striving to protect their distribution-based business model in the face of new technologies. Rather than adapt to the realities of the current situation, they choose to adapt the current situation to that which they desire to be reality. This situation is unworkable, in that it places unreasonable restrictions on both consumer electronics manufacturers and the consumers themselves. Please do not adopt the "broadcast flag" technology. It benefits only the MPAA, and abridges the rights of consumers.

    Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.


    • Got a fax number to send it too? I know I know its on the site someplace, I wanna help, complain and be lazy OK.

    • by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @09:39AM (#7280279) Homepage Journal
      Dear Mr. Hanashi,

      We at the FCC are not interested in this 'innovation' that you speak of. My job description clearly states that I'm here to help businesses make more money! In fact, why you thought it purposeful to write this letter to me I don't quite know. Why would I go against my duties as chairman of the FCC, especially when this chip implant the MPAA gave me makes everything so much better. Yeesss... that's right... come to daddy, endorphins... ahhhh.

      Yours sincerely,
      Michael Powell
  • by tds67 ( 670584 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:03AM (#7279706)
    "Why should anyone in the world buy if it's on the Internet," said Andrew Setos, president of engineering at News Corp.'s Fox Entertainment Group.

    Why should anyone in the world buy bottled water for $1.00 each if they can get water for pennies at home?

  • Next Up (Score:4, Interesting)

    by killmenow ( 184444 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:04AM (#7279710)
  • by t4b00 ( 715501 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:07AM (#7279726)
    What if Ford Motor company suddenly decided to include a clause in the contract that stipulates, something like: "if you purchase a Ford vehicle, you agree to purchase all accessory and or replacement parts from Ford Directly" ? I think you would see allot more Chevy's running arround town. let the FCC pass all the regulations they want. I for one will be sticking to Regular Tv/DVD combo, At least untill the FCC decides to make THAT illegal too.
    • What if Ford Motor company suddenly decided to include a clause in the contract that stipulates, something like: "if you purchase a Ford vehicle, you agree to purchase all accessory and or replacement parts from Ford Directly" ? I think you would see allot more Chevy's running arround town.

      Actually, this is more like Ford and Chevy getting together to lobby the NTSB and Congress to forbid third-party aftermarket accessories or replacement parts. Your choice isn't Ford or Chevy, your choice is a used car

    • Well maybe (maybe!) they won't make the old DVD players illegal. But I'd be more worried about it becoming obsolete.

      After all, all they need to do is start making DVD's with a different CESS that won't work on the old players. They lie and say it's because it has nifty new "bit" features.

      Anyway, what I really want to say was the old DVD player could be like the old 8-track tape player.

    • by jkovach ( 1036 ) <> on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @10:26AM (#7280672) Homepage
      I for one will be sticking to Regular Tv/DVD combo, At least untill the FCC decides to make THAT illegal too.

      There are no plans in the works to make your NTSC TV and TiVo illegal per se, but there are plans to make it useless. The FCC's ultimate goal is to shift all broadcast TV stations over to digital and discontinue analog broadcasts by the end of 2006 (assuming enough people are able to receive the digital broadcasts.) Their motivation is that digital TV uses less spectrum than analog TV, so they will be able to repurpose the old analog TV spectrum for other uses and no doubt make a pretty penny by auctioning the licenses. Broadcasters have been rather slow to switch over, and it makes sense that the FCC would give them stuff like the broadcast flag to encourage them to switch over faster. So in a few years, if the FCC gets their way, you won't have a choice other than digital TV with the broadcast flag.

      Of course, this ignores some pretty tough facts: something like 98-99% of Americans have a television. More Americans have a TV than have telephone service at home. A sizable number of these folks probably don't have the money to just run out to Best Buy and buy a new television because the FCC says they have to. I expect to see a bunch of noise made in the news about this once the deadline approaches, followed by lots of Congressional campaigns running on the "The big bad federal government wants to take away your TV... over my dead body!" platform. This will likely lead to the analog/digital cutover deadline being pushed back significantly.
  • by e40 ( 448424 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:09AM (#7279734) Journal
    Look, we know Hollywood hates TiVo. OK, more like terrified of it. Seems like this will be one way to kill a TiVo (or other similar device) foray into HDTV.

    Since I have DirecTV, I'm not too worried, seeing as I got the TiVo from them... but things change...

    • I think it's more likely to kill HD. For me, at least. Neither HD nor TiVo has achieved anything like "broad market penetration" so it's tough to determine who will win that battle. Essentially, it's a decision between convenience vs. quality--but the TiVo works with things out now, whereas HD requires new gear.

      My bet's on TiVo.
  • As a veteran timeshifter (we still have programs recorded from 10 years ago that we have not watched yet), I am appalled at the notion that I might be forced to watch in realtime. I guess I'll still be using my trusty old analog VCR (or maybe older gen DVR) for some years to come. Hmmm... I wonder if broadcaster's video storage equipment will ignore this odious bit and let me record HDTV?
    • Kind of makes you wonder if such things would affect ratings for those shows marked with such, and therefore advertising bottom line, though I would imagine they would for the most part be movies broadcast rather than the average sitcom.

      I'm not sure how many ratings are compiled with people who timeshift in mind, but I know that most of my friends rarely watch their favorite shows at the time when they're actually on these days.
      • I don't think Nielsen looks at timeshifting in its viewership stats, but I know that TiVo collects data on it. Timeshifting does mess with advertisers because even if the timeshifter watches the ads, they may be inappropriate. We are always amused to see "will there be snow" ads for the late night news when we watch a old recorded show in the middle of summer. Likewise, ads for long-past sales at local and national retailers fall on dead ears if they are watched past their intended broadcast date. Brand
  • pathetic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by retards ( 320893 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:11AM (#7279740) Journal
    News like this will be very funny in 20 years. Incredible fuss over something as boring as simple push-entertainment.

    Wake up! TV is dead. Or will be quite soon. I don't give a damn if I can watch sit-coms in high definition in 5 years and not record. I want to kill people online in high-res. I want to walk on other planets and meet interesting people in high-res.

    Guess what? I already can! So good luck to broadcast technology (the name kinda says it all). A "don't copy" flag will not save you.

    • "Wake up! TV is dead."

      "I want to kill people online "

      Yes sonny , but those of us OVER the age of 15 actually LIKE watching TV now and then and arn't
      all that interested in playing online baby games.
    • LOL! This is the funniest post I've read all month. Thanks for showing me the way!
  • Now HDTV will enjoy the popularity and success in the marketplace previously reserved for SDMI! Bottom line--if "Joe Sixpack" figures out that the shiny new TV won't let him do what he does now, he won't buy it. So get out there and let him know.
    • you want an example of what it will do?

      look at DAT tape.

      it had a great future, until they forced content control... and then it dies a horrible and hideous death.

      NOBODY bought DAT because of that one "feature"
  • Here's my idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rhadamanthus ( 200665 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:15AM (#7279759)

    Heck, don't watch TV, movies, etc too. If you cannot get what you want out of it (i.e., fair use) don't buy it. Tell everyone in Hollywood to go f*ck themselves.

    --rhad, who is sick of this shit

  • Just say no. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DaveV1.0 ( 203135 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:20AM (#7279783) Journal
    These broadcast flags may be a Bad Thing. But, if we all watch less TV, the world may be a better place.

    More time to learn, to play, to volunteer, to socialise.

    Maybe, parents will actually raise their children, take care of their households, and improve the lives of their loved-ones.

    People will have the time to learn about the things their government is doing, how the politicians who represent them are acting, what the issues really are, and how to change things for the better.

    Or not. I could just be dreaming.

    • "These broadcast flags may be a Bad Thing. But, if we all watch less TV, the world may be a better place."

      I'm with you, but I'm also going to enjoy Jack Valenti spinning in tighter and tighter circles when he realises that sales are down after the bit is set and blames pirates.

      Hopefully he'll end up being cared for by kind people while seeing pirates climbing out of the walls.

  • I imagine that by the time this takes off, people will have replaced their VHS equipment with DVD recorders.

    For years, people have been trying to replace the CD with something else for various reasons. Nothing has replaced it because for most people it is "good enough".

  • Why should anyone in the world buy if it's on the Internet

    That exact same sentiment was expressed here recently in response to the Windows iTunes launch: (paraphrasing) "I'm not going to buy something when I can get it for free!"

    Frankly, the honor system doesn't work, and the cheaters spoil it for all the honest 'fair use' folks, but that's the way it's always been. In the home theatre you buy a ticket, you see the movie. It's that simple. The system of 'here's the movie, suggested donation is $4' just w
  • The music industry has been plagued over the last few years with consumers illegally sharing and copying songs over the Internet, which has led the recording industry to sue music downloaders for damages up to $150,000 per song

    Gee, If they can make $150,000 on each pirated song, then why would the content providers want to close this source of revenue?

  • by Masem ( 1171 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:34AM (#7279854)
    HDTV is NOT the same as digital television. HDTV is High Definition TV, which is where your ultra-large plasma TV will display in all it's beauty and can be recieved with standard over-the-air signals without the need of digital TV, as it's already there now (While I think the FCC is interesting in promoting HDTV, it's not a mandate yet). DTV is digital TV, and that's the transferring of everything, including the mandated shutdown of analog-out from broadcast towers, by 2006, though most likely this will go even later. And if you read carefully, and look at older issues, you will be able to make at least one copy for personal use of any non-premium/PPV show on the network, at least, with unlimited duplication of standard over-the-air broadcasts. This has been voted by the FCC back in July/August at some point.
  • by Effugas ( 2378 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @08:44AM (#7279905) Homepage
    Analog transmission stops in 2006.

    Anything that lets VCRs work will have to respect the broadcast flag (i.e. will have to fail).

    Nothing will air with the broadcast flag disabled. This includes news.

    Ergo, it seems perfectly reasonable to claim VCR's are being effectively banned between the next two presidential elections.


    • Analog transmission stops in 2006.

      Analog over the airwaves transmission stops in 2006 - as of right now. Your cable company is free to send as much analog signal into your home as they like; it's their cable, after all. And if you get satellite, they can do the same. So unless your cable company sees some compelling reason to switch to all digital, your VCR will be safe with them.

    • "Analog transmission stops in 2006."

      No. Analog transmission is scheduled to stop in 2006, but with such a heavy level of investment in analog technology--both at the transmitter (content provider) and receiver (content consumer) ends, I highly doubt the cut-over to all digital will occur on schedule.

      I mean, seriously, when it the last time you saw a technical conversion of this size and scope actually occur on schedule?

      I also expect that when Joe Six-Packs T.V. stops working, the general populace
      • by pommiekiwifruit ( 570416 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @10:16AM (#7280586)
        In Sweden, when they recently changed from driving on the left to driving on the right (a sort of delayed reaction to germany being invaded by napoleon), they converted over all on the same day!

        No doubt in the UK or USA it would have taken years for everyone to change over to the new side.

        After all, the US tax department starts its year in April, thinking that that Julius Caesar bloke's reforms to the calender would never catch on.

        • No doubt in the UK or USA it would have taken years for everyone to change over to the new side.

          No: I'm pretty sure that once the change started, attrition would leave all the survivors driving on the same side of the road within days.
    • by CyberGarp ( 242942 ) <<Shawn> <at> <>> on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @09:37AM (#7280266) Homepage

      Analog transmission stops in 2006.

      The US's metric conversion act of 1975 stated that the US would be fully converted to metric by 1992. Right.

  • When analog broadcasting ends, so will my time spent watching television. It's not that I don't embrace new technology - it's that using a digital television will likely be in violation of my (albeit only percieved now) fair-use rights.

    Anywho, the quality of television is low. I may end up shunning it completely well before the 2006 mandate.

  • Will the broadcast bit also be part of VCRs or DVD-Rs? I use my TV as a dumb monitor only for my VCR which has the channels tuned and is set up so I can record my TV for later viewing if necessary.

    I can't see the technology taking off if Joe Sixpack can't buy his new HDTV VCR and continue to operate as he has done for the last twenty years.

    I predict this tech being dead in the water around six months after it is introduced.
  • Over the air only? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bert33 ( 655799 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @09:00AM (#7280024)
    When the first article about this was posted it mentionned that the flag would be used for over the air broadcasts only because "people already paid for cable" or something. I don't see this in the current article. If this affects only HD over-the-air broadcasts I doubt many people will notice the difference. However, if it affects all cable, dish and OtA digital broadcasts it will definitely hurt HD adoption. Finally, my HDTV accepts only DVI and component inputs and uses an external decoder. If the info has to be sent to my TV unencoded how hard can it be to intercept that signal?
  • "It will simply prevent consumers from illegal piracy, from mass distribution over the Internet, which is the problem with the music file sharing"

    Personally I don't think I need "protecting" from piracy. What do these marketroids think we're on? Anyway, there's another promising technology killed by The Man.

  • "the right to record" or "the right to time shift"?
  • by mbbac ( 568880 )
    And they think this is going to help further the adoption of HDTV? I already have an HDTV set. I'm damn sure not going to buy a new one thats compliant with this Digital Restrictions Management and I'm sure there are many more in the same boat.
  • by Halo- ( 175936 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @09:13AM (#7280117)
    What I don't understand is why the industry thinks it can "broadcast" a signal through the public airwaves and maintain this level of control. If I get a permit and hold a parade down a residential street, don't the people in the houses along the route have the right to record the sights and sounds which can be seen and heard from their own property? Certainly they don't have the right to sell sheet music derivied from listening to the performance, but by the virtue of the performance being "public" some rights should be lost.

    I don't have an issue with a "flag" on a signal sent over a privately owned and funded cable, but the airwaves are different. If they won't let me do what I wish with a signal with enters my property, why can't I tell them not to trespass? (I sound like a militia member here....)

    The broadcasting industry wants the right to send a signal into people's property without consent and then they want to place restrictions on what can be done with it?

  • So? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Sebby ( 238625 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @09:15AM (#7280128)
    I mean, really, TV has become such crap that I barely watch 3hrs of it per week, usually mostly news.

    They didn't need to stuff this down my throat to get me to stop watching it, but it certainly won't make me take a second lood at it either now.

    So I say let them piss off their own customers; in the end they'll just become irrelevant that much faster.

    • by dpilot ( 134227 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @10:25AM (#7280660) Homepage Journal
      We keep talking about Joe SixPak and what HE cares about, and the fact that he DOESN'T care about geek issues.

      Guess what? Right now DRM, broadcast flags, and the like are geek issues. Pretty soon they're going to become Joe SixPak issues, about the time he finds out that he can't do the things he used to be able to do.

      Our challenge is to be prepared, and guide Joe into pushing for the Right Things as he gets incensed at his legislators. No doubt the Dark Side will also have some proposals to attempt to placate Joe and maintain Profit. If we're thoughtful and lucky, we can guide the course of events, soon.
  • Easy Way to Comment (Score:5, Informative)

    by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @09:19AM (#7280154) Homepage Journal
    The Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF) Action Center has a very easy to use form [] for sending a letter to the appropriate folks.

    Please take a minute to fill out the form and submit. If you're a member, you need only enter your e-mail address, another great reason to join [] the EFF.
  • I'm all for technology that will make broadcasters and copyright holders allow more, higher quality programming out over the airwaves. And the arguement that it's ok to make people buy new DVD players, because that happens when new technology comes out, is not too hard to swallow when I spent less than $100 on my last DVD player, and expect to replace it soon with one that has more features.

    However, in the article they talk about TV's that will read the new copy protection bit. Now I buy about 2 or 3 CARS
  • Sports? Vacuous comedies? Insipid crime shows? Reality TV? Network news that's not even "long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to be interesting."
  • by Brad Lucier ( 547713 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @09:39AM (#7280280)

    This is what I sent the FCC last January.

    The proposed Broadcast Flag Mandate would allocate to a few corporations a valuable government monopoly to produce and manipulate digital media. This is a vast theft from the American people and I strongly oppose its adoption.

    I already see the affects of similar government mandates in the area of book publishing. I own a small company that produces electronic texts distributed over the internet. The Bowker company has a government-granted monopoly to sell and distribute ISBN numbers. Bowker in turn has developed policies that greatly favor large companies over small startups; for example, they sell 10,000 ISBN numbers for $3,000 ($.30 per ISBN), while requiring $800 for 100 ISBN numbers ($8.00 per ISBN).

    Similarly, the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress, which has a government monopoly on copyright registration and assignment of catalog information for the Library of Congress, has a list of priorities for books that it will catalog for its collections. At the top of the list are books published by large publishers, which get their books cataloged through the Catalog in Publication program even before the books are published. Officially, as a small publisher, books I send to the copyright office have the lowest priority for cataloging.

    This is relevant because I can compete with large publishers with a computer and free software for designing, typesetting, and distributing digital media in the form of electronic books. If the Broadcast Flag Mandate goes into effect, I will be legally prevented from acquiring or developing hardware and free software to compete with large corporations in other areas of digital media. This would encourage anti-competitive activities and monopolies, while discouraging innovation and free development of new products.

  • by cs668 ( 89484 ) <> on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @10:54AM (#7280919)
    Because most of the HDTV televisions out there do not have their own tunners they use an external tunner.

    This can be connected in multiple ways.

    Many of the current TV/Monitors use component input to display 1080I. Since that can not be protected, but DVI can expect the component outputs of your HDTV reciever to start only sending a downconverted 480I signal for any content with the Broadcast flag set.

    This will make a large protion of the current HTDV displays, that you paid good $$$ for, incapable of displaying 1080I.

    My question is what liability do the manufactureres have that sold us those HDTV displays that no longer display any HDTV content?
  • WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cinematique ( 167333 ) * on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @01:45PM (#7282423)
    Time-shifting is legal in the United States. The Supreme Court said so back in 1984. Wouldn't a Copy-Prohibition Bit go completely against that?

    Oh... I get it... every new medium that comes along should have a new set of laws surrounding it, right? No. Fair-use should mean fair-use... regardless of the medium.

    On the other hand... why would anyone want to go to the trouble of recording a movie that's aired on TV? I mean seriously... they're gonna have commercials and be edited to hell. Go rent the DVD if you want to watch it... or borrow it from a friend.

    I can understand why there's so much outcry against the copy-control bit, but honestly, if applied to cable TV, do you think networks like Comedy Central are going to use the bit to prohibit people from TiVo-ing stuff like South Park? Fuck no. The only practical application this thing has is for the movie channels (HBO, et cetera) and personally, you're better off renting the flick. Get NetFlix or something.

Loose bits sink chips.