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May 26, 2005
Broadcast Flag Pro and Con in C|Net News
C|Net News has dueling articles on the Broadcast Flag. Dan Glickman, CEO of the MPAA, argues in favor of (Why the Broadcast Flag Should Go Forward). Tech attorney Jim Burger is in opposition (Why the Broadcast Flag Won't Work).
I'm biased, of course, but I do think Burger gets the best of this one, though I'm not terribly impressed with his implicit support for the DMCA. Glickman certainly has some odd things to say:
Without proper protections, it will be increasingly difficult to show movies, television shows or even baseball games on free television.
No television shows? Then it won't really be television anymore will it? What will we have? 24/7 static? Baseball games? Why the heck would Major League Baseball
care very much about the Broadcast Flag? It is hard to believe that there is a major market in baseball game filesharing. As for the movies, sure there are lots of people who want "edited for broadcast with commercial interruptions" movies, instead of a $15 DVD with all sorts of bonus features, especially when they have to wait years after the DVD is available in order to record the broadcast. And, it isn't as if the DVD won't be ripped onto filesharing networks long before the movie is broadcast, thus completely destroying the market, presumably. I guess the MPAA's members will turn down money from television broadcasters because their movies are already being infringed on filesharing networks.
The irony, of course, is that modern cable and satellite delivery systems already have imbedded technical means that maintain the value of digital programming by preventing its redistribution over digital networks.
The irony, of course, is that absolutely all this content is available on filesharing networks anyway. Explain to me how this content has been "prevented" from being redistributed, given evidence that is being redistributed? The MPAA ought to be able to figure out better arguments than ones that are obviously factually challenged.
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