Appeals Court To Hear Legal Arguments Against Broadcast Flag

from the flagged dept

An Appeals Court is set to hear arguments about whether or not the FCC's mandate for a broadcast flag is legal. This debate has been going on for a while, and the argument seems to hinge on whether or not the FCC has the right to tell consumer electronics companies how to make their equipment -- especially without a mandate from Congress on this. However, the article spends way too much time claiming (without rebuttal) that the content industry simply would stop making content for TV without the broadcast flag. This is silly for any number of reasons. First of all, the "threat" described in the article is that the content would only be shown on cable and satellite systems, where it could more easily be encrypted. If that were the real issue, then shouldn't the broadcast flag only apply to over-the-air television? Second, where's the proof that content companies wouldn't offer up content even without the broadcast flag? Especially if it's for over the air television, which is almost entirely supported by commercials, content producers should be happier if the content gets distributed more widely because it means more people see the commercials -- which is better for them. As soon as a smart content producer realizes this, along with the fact that he or she can negotiate better deals since other content providers are avoiding broadcast TV, and the whole issue solves itself. People want the content -- and so the content will be there, without or without the broadcast flag. So, without that argument, what's the broadcast flag really about? Once again, it looks like it's the entertainment industry trying to be overly protective of increasingly obsolete business models. Should the FCC be in the business of protecting obsolete business models? It certainly seems a bit beyond their reason for being in existence.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Idiot Box, Feb 21st, 2005 @ 5:05am

    They would not stop making content

    The claim that companies would stop making contend is ridiculous!

    Why would they voluntarily do the one thing they claim would happen without the flag? They claim that without copyright protection they would be forced out of business. Why on earth would they voluntarily put themselves out of business??

    It is all about maximizing profits, and having supreme control over "content".

    What a bunch of malarky.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    precision blogger, Feb 21st, 2005 @ 6:58am

    No Subject Given

    I'm not an expert here, but I think the legal issue is this:
    The FCC can, to some extent, tell manufacturers how to build a TV or a radio that recives signals over the air.
    A machine that does not deal with over-the-air signals, such as a washing machine or DVD player, is outside of the FCC's purview. Computers generally do not receive over the air either, and should also be none of the FCC's business.
    - precision blogger
    http://precision-blogging.blogspot.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    acb, Feb 21st, 2005 @ 8:30am

    Can the challenge fly?

    Call me cynical, but I can't see any likely outcome other than the broadcast-flag mandate challenge being summarily smacked down like Eldred or other lunatic-fringe discontents of IP law. If one sees the spirit of IP law as a Jeffersonian social contract (as opposed to a first-class property right), they are in the right, but that hasn't been the prevalent view for a few decades.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Chicken, Feb 21st, 2005 @ 10:32am

    Commericals

    Especially if it's for over the air television, which is almost entirely supported by commercials, content producers should be happier if the content gets distributed more widely because it means more people see the commercials -- which is better for them.

    That reasoning certainly sounds good but many shows are being distributed without the commercials.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This