Debating The Broadcast Flag

from the call-the-bluff dept is running a little point-counter point debate about the Broadcast Flag, with a lawyer explaining why the flag is a bad idea: 1. It won't work. It clearly won't do anything to actually protect content. 2. It increases the burden on users by assuming they're guilty first. 3. By increasing regulation on any device that touches the internet, it increases costs and slows innovation without any real return. In response, our favorite lobbyist, Dan Glickman from the MPAA chimes in with the party line about how entertainment companies won't put content on TV if there is no broadcast flag. Of course, there's no evidence of this, at all -- and it's time the government called the industry's bluff. If the eyeballs are there, the studios will put up the content. Glickman rolls out a few different, but just as amusing, arguments as well. My favorite is this: "It would also lead to unnecessary confusion in the marketplace, since most television manufacturers have already changed their production to incorporate broadcast flag technology." That's great circular reasoning, saying (in effect) "because we've already forced consumer electronics companies to start implementing this costly and pointless solution, stopping now would confuse people." Right. It's apparently okay for the government/entertainment industry to force companies to change what they're doing for the sake of the entertainment industry -- but to let the companies go back to what they were doing before? That would be chaos.
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  1. identicon
    Mike Liveright, 26 May 2005 @ 3:44pm

    Broadcast flag for

    It seem to me that we should consider two types of TV processing hardware:
    . 1) Dedicated end user commertial, e.g. hardware/software that is designed ONLY for receiving, storing, displaying... TV.
    . 2) General Purpose, e.g. General Purpose PC's etc. that may have a tuner card in them, but are used for multiple purposes.
    It seems reasonable that such hardware should be required to make a Good Faith Attempt to honor the broadcast flag and that Dedicated hardware prevent un-reasonable violations of the flag.
    . a) I realize that this is not a legal statement but I suspect that it at least allows the mass produced hardware/software to try to honor the flag so that most people will use it reasonably, without adding too much burdon on the developers of other systems.
    . b) My assumption is that we can NOT prevent smart, true criminals from "cracking" the Broadcast flag, but that a reasonable law would mean that most customers would honor the law/flag as their hardware/software would be developed to honor the flag.

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