Tuesday, 21 October 2003

CDT report on broadcast flag

Today, the Center for Democracy and Policy (CDT), Public Knowledge and Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports) issued a 31-page report entitled "Implications of The Broadcast Flag: A Public Interest Primer" [pdf]. The report has an excellent description of the background of the broadcast flag and explains how the issues affect the television and film industries, the government, and the public interest with remarkable clarity. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the most active area of debate in copyright law for the next three years.

The report's three most important findings (in my opinion) are:

  • Proposed broadcast flag regulations, currently before the FCC, create many legitimate concerns for television viewers, Internet users, and industry groups. As drafted they may restrict reasonable uses of content by viewers, hinder innovation, and impose costs that are not worth the limited copy protection provided.
  • Revisions to the broadcast flag proposal could help address many of these concerns, primarily by creating more clearly objective and focused functional standards for the devices and uses that will be permitted by flag regulations, and by creating a more open and accountable process for certifying permitted technologies.
  • Even with those improvements, the flag proposal poses unresolved issues regarding technical regulation of computers and the Internet by the government, the impact of the flag itself on innovation and future consumer uses, and the definition of "fair use" and other copyright doctrines in the digital age. It also leaves other serious copy protection problems for television content unresolved.
    Posted at 8:33:57 PM | Permalink

    Trackback URL: http://www.danfingerman.com/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/14
    Topics: Civil Liberties, Cyberlaw, IP, Politics, Technology
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