US: Broadcast Flag Defeated in Court

Written by Jason Cundall

May 9, 2005 | 13:58

Tags: #appeals-court #broadcast #flag #us

Companies: #fcc

The controversial 'Broadcast flag' proposed by the FCC has been thrown out by a US Appeals court after it found that the Commission had overstepped its authority in an attempt to regulate what people could and could not record, reports the BBC:

The "broadcast flag", as the technology is known, is a piece of code attached to shows which tells devices that receive digital signals the level of copy protection on that programme.

"We can find nothing in the statute, its legislative history, the applicable case law, or agency practice indicating that Congress meant to provide the sweeping authority the FCC now claims over receiver apparatus," said the appeals court panel.

Supporters of the flag had argued it would combat the illegal copying and distribution of TV programmes.

Of course, the Electronic Frontier Foundation are jubilant at the decision - and rightly so. And we should be breathing a sigh of relief over here in Europe, as if the FCC had won, it would only have been a matter of time before our broadcasters tried the same thing. Imagine not being able to record the latest episode of Battlestar Galactica... *shudder*

More to the point, imagine not being able to get the latest 24 torrents straight from the States every Tuesday morning?

Not, of course, that we would ever advocate that.

More from the BBC here, and you can discuss the FCC's defeat in the News Discussion forum.
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