DC Appeals Court Strikes FCC Anti-Piracy Tech Rules

Friday, May 06, 2005 | 10:38 AM

Appellate Court Strikes FCC's Anti-Piracy Rules

May 6, 2005 10:57 a.m.
A federal appellate court Friday invalidated federal regulations that require makers of TV sets to equip them with technology that prevents digital broadcast signals from being redistributed.
Ruling in a case brought by the American Library Association, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said the Federal Communications Commission had overstepped its authority in trying to regulate how consumers can use their TV sets after they receive broadcasts.

The case involves something called the "broadcast flag," a slight digital modification to a broadcast digital TV signal, one that wouldn't affect picture quality but would prevent a recording of the show from being uploaded to the Internet.

The FCC, after strong lobbying from the Motion Picture Association of America, ordered it into place two years ago. By July 1, as part of the FCC rule, all video-recording equipment sold in the U.S. -- for instance DVD players and digital video recorders, including those on PCs -- must support the flag.

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UPDATE I:  May 6, 2005  11:57am

Boing Boing has the full update on this:

The next move here is that the studios will take this to Congress and try to get a law passed to make this happen. No chance. They got ZERO laws passed last year. This year the best they've been able to accomplish is making it slightly more illegal to videotape movies in the theatre.

The fact is, elected lawmakers are not suicidal enough to break their constituents' televisions. Watch and see: over the next year, we're all going to roast any lawmaker who so much as breathes the words "Broadcast Flag" in a favorable tone.

"In the seven decades of its existence, the FCC has never before asserted such sweeping authority. Indeed, in the past, the FCC has informed Congress that it lacked any such authority. In our view, nothing has changed to give the FCC the authority it now claims."

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UPDATE II:  May 6, 2005  2:44am

GMSV (sporting a smart new redesign) has all the details:

Undeterred by ruling, FCC begins work on "washing machine flag"
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington staged a flag burning of sorts today, ruling that the FCC does not have the authority to require makers of TV sets to equip them with a broadcast flag that would prevent digital broadcast signals from being redistributed. In vacating the regulation, the court sided with the American Library Association and others, agreeing that the flag rule, went far beyond the FCC's power to regulate broadcasts. The rule, passed in 2003 and scheduled to go into effect this July (see "Consumer groups refuse to salute digital flag"), was an assault on two of the Net's fundamental building blocks -- open-source software and the principle of end-to-end communication -- and the judges rightly ruled it out of bounds. "The broadcast flag regulations exceed the agency's delegated authority under the statute," the three-judge panel unanimously concluded. "The insurmountable hurdle facing the FCC in this case is that the agency's general jurisdictional grant does not encompass the regulation of consumer electronics products 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." Or, as panel member Judge Harry T. Edwards more bluntly told the FCC's lawyers, "You've gone too far. Are washing machines next?''

Friday, May 06, 2005 | 10:38 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)
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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference DC Appeals Court Strikes FCC Anti-Piracy Tech Rules :

» Judge blocks Anti-Piracy Ruling from r0x0rz
I am not someone who condones piracy, but this is very much a good thing for consumers. Basically, there was a recent decision by the FCC to force all manufacturers of Televisions (and anything capable of receiving a TV signal.. that's right computers ... [Read More]

Tracked on May 7, 2005 10:54:06 AM

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