EFF challenges FCC's broadcast flag for digital TV


— 1:05 PM on March 10, 2004

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has joined a number of consumer groups in an attempt to block the Federal Communications Commission's digital broadcast regulations. A suit filed against the FCC charges that the "broadcast flag," which the FCC requires be enforced by July 1, 2005, will infringe on fair use rights.

"The FCC's digital broadcast television mandate is a step in the wrong direction because it would make digital television cost more and do less, undermining innovation, fair use, and competition," said EFF Senior Intellectual Property Attorney Fred von Lohmann, "The FCC overstepped its bounds, unduly restricting consumers and manufacturers when it issued its broadcast flag ruling."

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled on November 4, 2003, that consumer devices capable of receiving broadcast digital television (DTV) signals must implement content control technologies demanded by the entertainment industry to restrict consumer uses of digital television. Left unchallenged, the "broadcast flag" mandate would go into effect by July 1, 2005.

When enforced, broadcast flags could restrict a personal video recorder's ability to tape certain shows at high quality levels or even prevent the recording of some shows altogether.
 
   
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