Stopping The FCC From Imposing The Broadcast Flag Is Great, But It's Congress You Really Gotta Worry About
from the halfway-there dept
For some time now, the likes of the MPAA and RIAA have tried to get the US government to mandate the broadcast flag — technology that would let content owners control how broadcast digital content could be consumed and recorded. Their initial strategy was to get the FCC to do the dirty work, but courts decided the Commission had overstepped its authority. Now, one senator who has opposed the broadcast flag before, John Sununu, is introducing legislation that would more clearly define boundaries for the FCC in similar matters by precluding it from imposing technology mandates on companies under its jurisdiction. Sununu specifically called out the broadcast flag, saying “the FCC has no business interfering in private industry to satisfy select special interests”, and that its mandates promise only to stifle innovation and competition. That’s remarkably sound tech talk from a legislator, and Sununu’s effort should be applauded. However, since the court’s ruling, the groups seeking the audio flag have shifted their strategy, and are now trying to get lawmakers to include the broadcast flag in other pieces of legislation. If Sununu is successful in limiting the FCC’s ability to be the pawn of movie studios and record labels, what can he do to stop his fellow lawmakers who are happy to do so?