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May 27, 2005
Broadcast Flag Rears Its Ugly Head in DTV Transition Hearings
As I predicted (New Bill to Mandate DTV Transition by Jan 2009), there are several Congressmembers pushing for the Broadcast Flag in the DTV transition bill that is being debated in Congress. According to TVTechnology.com, "Three particular points emerged at the hearing--set-top subsidies, the broadcast flag and predicating a deadline on the budget deficit" (Subsidies Are Sticky Point in DTV Draft Bill):
Several members indicated they'd seek a broadcast flag in any final DTV transition bill, including Reps. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), Elliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). No one actually came out against the flag. [emphasis added]
There is a lot of talk about the subsidy, but who cares? Subsidies will only matter for a couple of years, the changes the Broadcast Flag will implement will last essentially forever. Doesn't any of these representatives realize what a major change they would be making in our technology/innovation environment?
Rep. Elliot Engel, (D-N.Y.): "This is really a budget bill, not a telecom policy bill."
If you add the Broadcast Flag, it becomes a copyright/innovation/technology policy bill.
Now is not the time to give up on the Broadcast Flag! We need to explain to these Congressmembers that people aren't going to appreciate the change to DTV when they can't record a video for a friend who is out of town, or take copies of the kid's favorite shows to Grandma's when she babysits.
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