Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Are We Fighting Too Many Entertainment Legislation Fires?

from the just-can't-stop-it dept

The entertainment industry's lobbying power will not be stopped, it seems. Every week we hear about more and more ridiculous legislation that clearly was designed at the behest of the industry, with little (to no) thinking about the larger consequences of such legislation. At this point, I'm guessing that they plan to have so many of these sorts of things show up that all the folks who start screaming every time one of these comes up will finally tire out of crying wolf, and something will eventually get passed. The latest two examples seem to support this idea. Lots of people have been submitting the story about how the FCC is thinking about requiring the "broadcast flag" be included on any HDTV broadcast - which has raised lots of anger from folks all over the internet. The broadcast flag would contain information along with digital broadcasts saying whether or not the content could be recorded or copied or whatever. Meanwhile, the ever-vigilant Declan McCullough has turned up a new plan in Congress to quietly sneak through legislation that would require any application that sends data to your computer to contain a warning that they might contain a security or privacy risk - even if no such risk is there. If the bill passes, it would be a criminal offense to place a cookie on someone's machine, without first warning them that it might be a security or privacy risk. Seems a bit extreme. In both cases, I worry about the impression that everyone is crying wolf again. Yes, these are both terrible potential rules. However, in both cases, it takes a bit of explaining why they're so terrible, and that leads to the wolf-crying impression many people are getting. "Oh no, there goes the EFF complaining about yet another minor attempt by Hollywood to push through some of their legislation." With the constant barrage of similar legislation, will the "digital lobby" effort lose it's ability to counter the really big problems? I'm not saying that we shouldn't be fighting against every bit of stupid, poorly thought out, only-designed-to-benefit-one-industry legislation, but I worry that the entertainment industry has hit on a successful strategy of simply bombarding all branches of our government with so many related efforts to get rules passed in their favor, that we're left fighting thousands of individual fires, rather than creating a concerted, informed effort to stop the entertainment industry from taking away our rights in favor of their own profits.

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  • identicon
    alternatives, 20 Oct 2003 @ 2:24pm

    FCC broadcast flag

    So...where is the web site noting who advertises on broadcast TV and how to contact them?

    So you could send the top 10 letters saying 'if the broadcast flag is forced, I won't bother with HDTV and you will loose another set of eyeballs'

    Myself, if HDTV has the 'do not copy' flag set, I won't be bothering with HDTV. I take advantage of time shifting, and with a flag like that, no time shifting. The utility of TV will drop to almost zero, so I won't bother with TV.

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

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