Appeals Court Smacks Down Broadcast Flag

Rather unexpectedly, today the DC Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the FCC’s Broadcast Flag, which would have required all digital TV receivers to implement copyright protections invokeable by content producers and broadcasters. In a unanimous decision, the three judge panel simply said the FCC has no authority issue such a regulation:

The broadcast flag regulations exceed the agency’s delegated authority under the statute. …

The FCC has no authority to regulate consumer electronic devices that can be used for receipt of wire or radio communication when those devices are not engaged in the process of radio or wire transmission.

Of course, this doesn’t mean the imminent death of the broadcast flag — it remains in suspended animation while the MPAA lobbyists sprint to the Capitol to shower our Congresscritters with promises and campaign cash in exchange for reanimating it.

But, for the moment, we will be able to record, store and fairly copy broadcasted programs (provided you have the technical means) and buy equipment that will do this.

The tech lobby was against the Flag, too, so it could be an interesting fight in Congress if it decides to oppose the Entertainment Cartel on this issue.






One response to “Appeals Court Smacks Down Broadcast Flag”

  1. […] Every time you think the Broadcast Flag is dead, it comes back more bloated and evil, with this version trying to plug up the so-called “analog hole.” The hole is the fact that once a signal becomes analog (to go into a speaker, or an analog TV, for instance) digital copyright controls don’t work anymore, even if copies aren’t as good as identical digital copies. […]