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.
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