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MPAA Giving Up on Broadcast Flag... For Now? 186

YetAnotherName writes "The MPAA, which has worked hard to get a broadcast flag into US digital television, is unlikely to push for it, according to the EFF. Previously, the US Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC didn't have the authority to mandate the flag, and the MPAA began to strike back. Naturally, the fight isn't over yet."
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MPAA Giving Up on Broadcast Flag... For Now?

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  • So which is it? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Enigma_Man ( 756516 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @03:59PM (#12697730) Homepage
    Are they "unlikely to push" or "striking back"? The summary is confusing.

    • Hey, its like those Starwars sequels .. "A New Hope" "The MPAA Strikes Back" "Return of the Broadcast Flag" .... hmmmmm .. I wonder ..
    • Re:So which is it? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rei ( 128717 )
      They already struck back after the court gave us a new hope. Now we can expect to see the return of the fair use concept, followed much later by some poorly done backgrounders on the whole situation.
    • Are they "unlikely to push" or "striking back"? The summary is confusing.

      Why TF is this flamebait? This is an honest question. The summary has two distinctly contradictory statements about the MPAA. One statement says that they are unlikely to push, while the other says they are striking back (indicating that they are pushing for it) I was just asking for clarification, you douchebags.

    • by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @04:55PM (#12698274)
      The summary isn't confusing. It's outright deceiving. It's like *gasp* the editor on duty didn't even read the linked articles before posting it.

      The article clearly states that the MPAA is giving up on getting a broadcast flag mandate in the current bill mandating DTV by 2008 because the bill's sponsor objects to doing so. It then immediately goes onto say that the MPAA is pursuing other means of convincing Congress to mandate the flag. They are backing off on one single bill, not on their entire quest as the title of this article suggests.
    • Are they "unlikely to push" or "striking back"? The summary is confusing.

      I thought the same thing. If past history is any guide, they'll publicly do the former and quitely behind the scenes do the latter. In the cameras, they will lay lower on this issue. In the offices of senators and representatives in Washington, they will jawbone to get their way.

      The fat lady ain't sung yet. The RIAA lawyers threatened her and the MPAA anti-piracy thugs bound and gagged her and tossed her into a closet. We need to
      • Re:So which is it? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by BlogPope ( 886961 )
        The fat lady ain't sung yet.

        But the longer the opera goes on, the less likely any of these "Burden the consumer" options will succeed. The MPAA and TV industries have delayed the whole HDTV thing by making everyone afraid the early solution woul dbe incompatible with the "final" solution, but the failure to resolve the issue means that the existing tech has gained a foothold. Soon it will be like trying to get a broadcast flag added to the VCR...

  • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @03:59PM (#12697742) Homepage Journal
    Sorry, but I don't see where the EFF would be the definitive authority on what the MPAA is up to. They're going to see what they want to see, and how they want to see it. Yes, a certain representative may currently be opposed to the provision, but that won't take away any incentive from the MPAA to continue to push Congress for whatever they can get.
    • RTFA: Extraordinarily good news from Communications Daily (behind a pay wall, unfortunately):

      This isn't EFF opinion, but an excerpt from another source.


      • I read TFA. They simply claimed the MPAA was backing down because the MPAA hadn't purchased Barton's vote yet. And I don't believe that ends this for a single minute. The MPAA isn't going to risk it all on a single congressman's vote -- they're going to cast their nets (and their lobbyists and their money) far and wide in hopes of finding a few affordable congressmen. They won't wait till 2008 because they're more afraid of entrenched technology, which is much harder to control than future unreleased te
    • The EFF didn't make that claim. They were quoting an online magazine called "Communications Daily".
    • I disagree. The EFF would know the MPAA in the same way a boxer knows his opponent -- through experience in battle and study.

      This report is disinformation, at best. The MPAA's not giving up -- they're retreating in preparation for another attack. Recall, this is the group that likened the VHS to Jack The Ripper... they believe that a MythTV Box with a HDTV card and a DVD burner is the moral equivalent of Mao, Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot all put together. MPAA's not backing down they're simply busy licking t
  • It occurs to me that the flag is already in the hardware and the drivers are already updated (anyone know if this is so?). So, whether or not it is mandated by the FCC, they now have the ability to control what you can and cannot record, email, or otherwise share (in new hardware) and there's no law AGAINST using it. Right?
    • No, there are some tuner cards on the market today that don't respect the broadcast flag. As a matter of fact, there was quite a run on them up until the FCC ruling was overturned.

      And it has nothing to do with "email" or "share". It's the "broadcast" flag and it would only have interefered with recording, not with subsequent usages.

    • Here's the thing. It's simple economics. Who buys these high end video cards that are used in PVRs and such? Geeks or manufacturers making PVRs. If the end user can't make recordings using these cards they won't sell very well. It is in the hardware manufacturer's best interest to do whatever it takes to keep their sales up. If they are going to lose sales because of the flag they definitely won't enable it unless forced to by law or other means.

      The only group that the broadcast flag benefits are
    • It occurs to me that the flag is already in the hardware and the drivers are already updated (anyone know if this is so?).

      This depends on what you mean by "the hardware" and "the drivers." The next generation Air2PC card doesn't care about the Flag, nor does the hd-3000 card. But that major-brand HDTV set top box or PVR that you just bought? Yep, it probably sees the Flag and obeys it. Let's hope you never get to test it out.

      So, whether or not it is mandated by the FCC, they now have the ability to

      • Foot in self shoot. If they have done this, and more importantly gotten the major providers like Dish Network, DirecTV and Comcastoff to go along with it, expect to see sales of PVRs drop sharply. Which would certainly suit the studios ... they don't see any reason why we should want one anyway. Given their past history, I would venture a guess that Dish Network would be the last likely to implement this abomination, but DirecTV and Comcast ... well, the only backbone Comcast has is made of fiber.
      • The Flag compliance was a law regarding reception of HDTV, not broadcast. Even though the technology that receives HDTV no longer _has to_ obey the Flag, this doesn't preclude the Flag being put in there to work on devices that were already made to be Flag compliant.

        In fact, some channels are already "flagged", although whether or not it's the "broadcast flag" I'm not sure (I'm specifically thinking of HBO HD, which doesn't do OTA broadcasting, but I can't see why they'd adopt a different flag than everyo
    • There's no law against using the broadcast flag, but hardware vendors aren't required to honor it. Some hardware already has it enabled, but the question is hether future hardware will if it's not required. I doubt we'll see continued support for the flag, since it's a feature that makes the hardware less valuable and makes the vendor vulnerable to attacks from competitors, and more expensive to support: "Hey, I can't record the season finale of Survivor, what's wrong with this thing?"
      • Some hardware will continue to support it. Sony stuff, for instance will probably do so because Sony is a content provider too.
      • There is at least one counter example to your pemise.
        ATI has been selling all-in-wonder cards since the mid 90's (IIRC) and they 'honor' macrovision. plug in a vcr and try and watch a tape with macrovion on it and it will come out like a scrambled analog cable channel.
        I know it's been like this since at least thier first 'radeon' all-in-wonder.

        • ATI has been selling all-in-wonder cards since the mid 90's (IIRC) and they 'honor' macrovision

          Iirc this is a driver-issue, not a hardware issue. You should be able to disable Macrovision using TV-Tool (no I will not google it for you).

  • by Luscious868 ( 679143 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @04:03PM (#12697781)
    The RIAA and MPAA basically own Congress. How long before a piece of legislation mandating the broadcast flag is attached as a rider to some totally unrelated bill, thus allowing it to slide through and be signed into law before we know what hit us? It'll happen sooner or later, trust me.
    • by supabeast! ( 84658 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @04:18PM (#12697949)
      "It'll happen sooner or later..."

      My thoughts exactly. Right now Washington is a mess of power struggles, attacks on the media, and attacks on the court. Buying the broadcast flag right now will cost a lot and create a lot of press, and there's a good chance any right-wing politicians that have to be bought off will go down along with Tom Delay and George Bush's approval ratings. The RIAA/MPAA are much better off to wait until 2006, buy their way in with the new blood, and get the law passed in 2007 when everyone is focusing on the 2008 presidential election.
      • I think you might be right, it is probably too risky for Congress to attack right now. BTW: if you think the broadcast flag is small beans compared to Social Security reform, remember, the broadcast flag will translate to Joe TV viewer to "you can't record HDTV at all" and that is a big thing.

        Now, for the next election cycle. Democrats, while you are pushing hard for regaining majority status, make sure you let your candidates know that the broadcast flag is truly evil, BEFORE, you try to get them electe
    • >The RIAA and MPAA basically own Congress.

      Well apparently not. They may have backed down as a gambit toward sliding in a rider later on, but what we have here is an opportunity to momentum. This is creating room for people besides the xxAA's to bend the ear of a Congressman and make pertinent points. I can see the anti-bFlag contingent resting on their laurels, but really this is a chance to make sure it never happens. This can work both ways, it's just a question of who wants their side to win more. Vi
    • It'll happen sooner or later, trust me.

      Well, normally, I'd hold out, but since it's you, I guess I'll believe it. :-)

      Seriously though I think we are just seeing what could be a little bit of finess. Where with the RIAA, we would be ready to see a executive level tantrum follow such a situation, the MPAA has a tendency to be much more subtle about what they do. I'm not sure if it the people involve or that fact that modern bandwidth and storage capacities are a more immediate threat to the RIAA wher

  • ERROR (Score:2, Funny)

    by Stanistani ( 808333 )
    This posting cannot be replayed due to Digital Rights Management restrictions.
  • Now, if I crook my little finger like *this* when I talk, I dont want you remembering anything of it, hear?
  • Trial Balloon (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @04:03PM (#12697792)
    This isn't over by a long shot. The MPAA took a gamble, based on what they thought they had in Congress, and lost. They won't make the same mistake twice. Look for subtle changes in the "new and improved" DMCA, COPA and its children, and other roundabout ways to implement the same thing. Heck, some US banks are even using the DMCA against phishers now - after all, you're abusing their copyright, aren't you?
    It will happen, its only a matter of time, unless the MPAA and RIAA are rendered toothless by a change in consumer habits.
    • Using government to block a competitor is not new. I recall a tale where Ford patented the Steering Wheel as a gambit to drive the Stanley Brothers out of the car business. The Patent didn't stand, but Stanley was such a small company that they could not match the Ford legal machine. We no longer drive steam cars...

      Another point though: technology and cool software seem to outpace the legislation. A few posts back was one about a Bit Torrent like p2p thing that has no tracker and you can spoof IP. An
    • This isn't over by a long shot. The MPAA took a gamble, based on what they thought they had in Congress, and lost. They won't make the same mistake twice. Look for subtle changes in the "new and improved" DMCA, COPA and its children, and other roundabout ways to implement the same thing.

      However, it looks like they are going to miss out on the time window for implementing this particular method of making consumer digital video more inconvenient and unreliable. By the time they get their act together, ther
      • By the time they get their act together, there will likely be too much broadcast flag-free equipment out there.
        This depends on the market.

        If enough consumers refuse to buy equipment that implements the broadcast flag, your prediction may come out true.

        But if most consumers don't care, thinking that it doesn't matter since the flag cannot be legally enforced, the manufacturers are unlikely to change the equipment they have already designed.

        • it is likely that they will change firmware on currently unshipped units, and possibly release firmware updates, because if word gets out that your DVR won't record the superbowl and your biggest competitor's DVR will record the superbowl, take a guess who will soon be filing for bankruptcy
    • I don't understand how the DMCA covers abusing copyright on its own. I thought it was about breaking encryption.
  • by FunWithHeadlines ( 644929 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @04:06PM (#12697820) Homepage
    "Meanwhile, the MPAA will keep briefing House and Senate members on a broadcast flag bill's importance and seek other ways to get the content protections it wants."

    Does that sound like they are giving up? Nope, they are still going to push for what they want, and what they think America (that is, the MPAA) "needs."

    • So would the TV Consumer Choice Act [theorator.com], which is a bill for clarifying that the FCC does not have the authority to "require, or prescribe any schedule for the implementation of, digital television reception capability in television broadcast reception equipment"


      "The requirements and schedule established by the Commission for the implementation of digital television reception capability in television broadcast reception equipment as contained in section 15.117(i) of the Commission's regulations (47 CFR
  • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @04:06PM (#12697824)
    This doesn't mean that they're going to stop trying to develop a means of making copying HDTV using impossible/impractical. It just means that the measures they take won't be based on legislating the broadcast flag.

    Speaking theoretically, some sort of encryption together with a smartcard supplied to the cable customer which enables decryption would neatly sidestep the issue for cable subscribers. Don't know how feasible it would be to apply similar technology to over the air broadcasts.
    • You don't have to speak theoretically. There is already a standard [dtcp.com] to prevent "secure" media from being transmitted to "insecure" devices.

    • It is illegal to broadcast encrypted HDTV.

      Hence the "need" for the broadcast flag and the associated legally enforced prohibitions that the flag entails.
    • I think you're making a big assumption that broadcast TV will survive (See "How BattleStar Galactica Killed TV [slashdot.org] for a rundown). The economic incentive just isn't really there for Broadcast TV like it was 10 years ago. If they find out they can't really make money giving away the content, the gig is up.

      If such a service existed, I think a lot of my money would go to an iTunes music store-type portal where I could 'authorize' my device(s) to play downloaded content -- My account would allow, say, 3 computer

      • Redefining 'Fair Use' doesn't bother me as much as the current legal campaign to abolish it completely.

        And giving up personal freedoms little by little (Patriot Act) instead of all at once is a lot easier for the Amercian public to swallow. However, you've still lost rights in the end.
  • This is it here is the solution. Every citizen get together chip in for a lobby. And have the MPAA dissolved, or rather just make them a small orginzation that does not have too much power.
    They are a headache. They are worried about profits from distribution rather than the quality of the stuff.

    And we actually let these guys who make billions of dollars to make social decesions that will affect people through out our society ( and others ).

    • You can't just "dissolve" a private organization whose only source of "power" is the contribution and cooperation of its members. Unless, of course, you dissolve the First Amendment first.
    • That's just silly. There is nothing wrong with having some sort of industry group and surely no one has the right to tell another with whom or whom not they may associate.

      However, if "every citizen" in your scenario has enough initiative and energy to get off his fat ass and lobby for such an event, then they should have at least equal initiative and energy to be able to write their congressmen to let them know who's boss. In other words, all that is needed is for the citizens to actively assert their po
  • by shogarth ( 668598 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @04:13PM (#12697900)
    The goal of the flag was not to impede a consumer's ability to copy or use content lawfully in the home, nor was the policy intended to 'foreclose use of the Internet to send digital broadcast content where it can be adequately protected from indiscriminate redistribution,'
    Considering that the FCC heard testimony indicating the flag would do exactly this, it's amazing they would claim it wasn't their intent. It certainly was the intent of the content distributors. The flag's protection wasn't going to stop commercial piracy rings; they were going to 'aquire' digital masters and stamp disks anyway. All it would do is make handling digital content a pain for end-users.
    • Whether or not that's their "goal" is irrelevent, it's undistputably what the result will be.
    • High-ranking bureaucrats are usually astute politicians. They know what to say in order to get their way with the elected officials and with their (the bureaucrats') constituents.

      The FCC is beholden to both the MPAA and the hardware industry, and to consumers as well. The commissioners are political appointees, but the bureaucrats who actually run the place are not. They exercise their political wits to accomplish their personal and professional goals.

      The FCC as a whole is in it for the FCC. They all
  • My bet (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dark Paladin ( 116525 ) * <jhummel AT johnhummel DOT net> on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @04:15PM (#12697924) Homepage
    The MPAA won't go for it right now - their main supporter is out of the loop, and the EFF has links out to its registered members (and why aren't *you* a member?) that the first time someone tries to make one, or sneak it into another bill, we're suppose to be on that congresscritter like white on rice.

    But time is running out for them to get the flag in by 2008, so I still expect to see something underhanded put in in the hopes that nobody will see what they're doing. Which is why we need to be eternally vigilant.

    What surprises me about the MPAA is that they've learned from history. "What?" They've learned from history?"

    Sure. For the last few hundred years of progress, there's been large companies that have a near oligarchy of power on some product (entertainment, in this case). Then some technology comes along, breaks up the big guys, sets up several little guys, and then the conglomeration effect builds again until, like a neutron hitting a uranium atom, the system is split apart, new creative energy is unleashed, and it's back to a maelstrom of competition until the reaction settles down.

    The MPAA I think knows this, so they're fighting the technology as hard as they can. If people can time shift and get rid of commercials, big companies will make less money, and with the Internet spreading, people can make their own shows - think podcasting with video. LIke early radio, 99% will be crap, but there will be that 1% of really good stuff that turns people away from traditional TV. When that happens more and more often, the MPAA's contributers will be financially out of it, and the next cycle will begin.

    The MPAA is just trying to protect itself. Granted, in a stupid fashion, because history shows that you can be one of the new movers and shakers in a new technological - it's just likely you won't because you'll be fighting the technology instead.

    Hm - maybe the MPAA *doesn't* get it after all.

    Of course, this is all just my opinion. I could be wrong.
  • Open Source DRM ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by VonSlatt ( 16207 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @04:19PM (#12697967) Homepage

    Even Linus has said that DRM is not inconsistant with Linux and Open Source (at least as Linus sees it) So, the OSS comunity needs to develop the killer DRM solution that respects Fair Use but sufficiently protects content owners.

    Small publishers will adopt it first, then large media outlets will find themselves having to adopt it or loose share to the small fast moving media companies.

    So, who's working on OSS DRM?

    • Be careful with your terms. DRM means *AA and Microsoft trust your computer i.e. they manage your rights, while in the OSS world, trusted computing means you can trust your own machine.

      Trusted computing is used for things like making sure malware and rootkits can't take over your own machine, and that trojans haven't been introduced into the software you've downloaded, while DRM is used to make sure you can't rip a copy of a DVD you own.

      OSS people already are working on trusted computing, see Trus
    • I'd personally contribute some hard-earned $$$ to fund a bounty for this...
    • The problem is, all DRM is "security through obscurity", something that doesn't work when you have open source.

      Lets take Apples PlayFair DRM system as an example. To crack it (as they did) you need to know a two things:
      1) The encryption key (and where it can be found)
      2) The encryption algorithm

      If iTunes was open source, you could just find this info in the sourcecode. Breaking it would be trivial.
    • If you actually read the post where he said this, it's pretty clear that he's talking about refusing to run unsigned binaries for security reasons, which of course can be assisted by TCPA hardware. In the same post he pointed out that the GPL requires the distribution of everything necessary to make a functional binary - this would include the keys.

      This essentially means no remote attestation can be implemented in GPL code, because if you can argue that the binary isn't functional unless remote attestation

    • DRM solution that respects Fair Use

      Any system that actually supports one is INCAPABLE of meaningfully supporting the other.

      The line between infringment and noninfringment often lies in the intent of the user. Nothing short of a mindreading DRM system can distinguish the intent to use something in an educational classroom enviornment. Nothing short of a full blown artificial intellegence can detect humor and parody use. Nothing short of precognition can determine whether some new and never before imagined
  • How about, giving up before this gets to the Supreme Court which might re-affirm fair use rights before Congress can figure out how to take them away.

    That I can believe.

    • How about, giving up before this gets to the Supreme Court which might re-affirm fair use rights before Congress can figure out how to take them away.

      The Fair Use doctrine has been decided by the legal system to be unenforcable in policy, which means that we cannot create a set of clear rules or laws to determine whether or not a given use of intellectual property falls under Fair Use or not. As new situations come up, which side of Fair Use they fall on will be determined, case-by-case, by the court.

  • The standard for the new high definition DVDs isn't yet done. The MPAA will get their little broadcast flag included in thew new DVD technical specs. When you go to buy a new DVD player, boom, you'll have the new rights management. Want to watch the new high-definition signals? You can, until you buy the next generation of HDTVs.

    It's pointless to come up with a scheme that requires everyone to buy all new equipment so that they can do less than before (unless the MPAA is going to provide new, free hard
  • What is up with these punks? I just re-read the second link in the article [slashdot.org]. I remember this topic from a little while ago. However this quote from the article has just hit me:

    the MPAA is working on new legislation to broaden the FCC's power

    Huh? Since when did the MPAA become part of the legislative body? Where in the constitution does it grants rights to the MPAA to write legislation? Am I the only one who thinks this if freaking insane? How can our "representatives" just sit back and "pass the

    • You can also work on legislation, and lobby Congress to get it passed. Every special interest group (and you're certainly part of some, we all are) drafts proposed legislation, and tries to get Congress to pass it, or at least use it as a model for what eventually does get passed.
  • Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by interstellar_donkey ( 200782 ) <pathighgate@NOSPAm.hotmail.com> on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @05:27PM (#12698755) Homepage Journal
    I have admit that when I hear about the broadcast flag, it irks me. I have a single HDTV receiver (integrated radio and satellite), but it's likely I won't really get into digital TV until it's much cheaper and there's more content, meaning I won't start converting the entire house over to HDTV until after this broadcast flag is mandated (if they MPAA and others get their way).

    Rather then lambasting the FCC and the MPAA, I have one question I'd like to see someone give an acceptable answer to: Why? Why do they need to stop people from being able to record a high quality digital signal from a broadcast? The easy answer is, they don't want people to be able to copy and distribute the programming they own.

    Fine, but they said the same thing in the 1980s when the VCR became popular. "If people are able to make video tapes of movies and programs using a set top box and an inexpensive cassette tape, it will ruin us and take our profits away!" they cried.

    Of course, that didn't happen. Yes, there were people with giant video cassette libraries of pirated movies dubbed from rentals or recorded off HBO (I had a neighbor with several hundred of these movies). In the end, we discovered that the ability to easily record programs actually ended up helping the movie and television industry far more then it hurt them.

    So why is this different? Because it's a higher quality broadcast? In the 80s the quality of a VHS recording, if done right, was not too much different then the quality you'd find in broadcast or in tapes rented or purchased from the video shop. Today, a digital recording, if done right, is not much different the quality you'd find on an HD broadcast or next generation video discs you'll soon find for sale or rent at the video shop. Considering the quality of VHS recordings back in the 80s were not too much different then the commercially available media, and today's digital recordings aren't too much different then commercially available media, I just don't see that as a valid argument.

    The folks at the FCC and MPAA aren't stupid people, and I can't for the life of me understand why they would spend time and resources trying to put in a broadcast flag when history has shown that when end users have versatility available to them, it ultimately helps the MPAA and others. There has to be a good reason, right?

    I've been racking my brain trying to figure out what that reason is. The only argument I could come up with is that they don't want people to be able to record high quality television programs which *might* end up hurting the growing DVD market for TV boxed sets where an entire season of a particular program can be purchased. But we're still not sure if that would happen. Heck, on my computer and burned to VCDs I have the entire collection of every episode of a particular TV show, and each of those episodes I downloaded off the Internet. I also purchased the DVD box sets for the entire series. It was not because I wanted better quality, but because I wanted to own something physical, I wanted the liner notes, I wanted the "special features". The recordings I found "illegally" lacked those things.

    In light of all this, does anyone know why they're putting up such a fight?

    • The folks at the FCC and MPAA aren't stupid people, and I can't for the life of me understand why they would spend time and resources trying to put in a broadcast flag when history has shown that when end users have versatility available to them, it ultimately helps the MPAA and others. There has to be a good reason, right?


      In light of all this, does anyone know why they're putting up such a fight?

      I have two theories. The first is that they want to make people pay per "use" like so many other people
  • Without a broadcast flag, how is the consumer to know what rights they have to redistribute the content? Of course, players shouldn't enforce the law (or any other complex law requiring interpretation for accuracy). But without an authoratative database of copyrights, and reliable object authentication, and a whole infrastructure to combine the two into lookups (requiring all players to be networked), how are we to know whether the sender even asserts a copyright, or asserts none, or a limited one that allo
  • Not to worry, they'll sneak it in later. It'll be watered down, and anyone who fights it will be made to look like a lunatic because the next one is "much more reasonable."
  • by Jherek Carnelian ( 831679 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @06:20PM (#12699311)
    This is hearsay, I have not checked any transport streams myself, but it has been reported that broadcasters have already started using the broadcast flag in almost all of their HDTV content. Sure there is not any equipment that obeys the BF, but they are probably thinking that since it is just a bit to flip, they might as well flip it now.

    Assuming the reports are true (which is admittedly a fair-sized assumption) this near total use of the BF already puts the lie to the MPAA's statement that it would only be used to "protect" high-value content like live sports and broadcast movie premiers.

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