A Fight Over The Broadcast Flag


From the AP:


WASHINGTON – A U.S. appeals panel challenged new federal rules requiring certain video devices to have technology to prevent copying digital television programs and distributing them over the Internet.

U.S. Circuit Judge Harry T. Edwards told the Federal Communications Commission it “crossed the line” requiring the new anti-piracy technology in next-generation television devices. But another appeals judge on the panel questioned whether consumers can challenge the FCC’s rules in the courtroom.

The technology, known as the broadcast flag, will be required after July 1 for televisions equipped to receive new digital signals, many personal computers and VCR-type recording devices. It would permit entertainment companies to designate, or flag, programs to prevent viewers from copying shows or distributing them over the Internet.

Edwards, the former chief judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, questioned the FCC’s authority to impose regulations affecting television broadcasts after such programs are beamed into households.

The FCC’s lawyer, Jacob M. Lewis, acknowledged the agency never had exercised such ancillary power but maintained it was permitted by Congress since lawmakers didn’t explicitly outlaw it.

Any designer of sound reinforcement systems or professional home theater designer will tell you, “… you can’t solve an acoustic problem with an electronic solution.”  This audio axiom is a perfect metaphor for every aspect of life where natural systems encounter artificial ones.

Video piracy is in its infancy.  However, it will mature in Internet time – which is more like dog years than people years.  Legislating tactics and then challenging them using the judicial system may be an appropriate path for some kinds of laws.  I know that it is a time-tested methodology.  But … this issue can not be dealt with on a tactical level … ever!  The answers lie in a strategic approach to market forces and acknowledgment of the root causes of the problem and appropriate fixes.  You can’t put a band-aid on a cancer, it just doesn’t work.

There is no “single” solution to this problem, the fix is going to require the evolution of a complex system – which, at the moment, does not exist.  You can help!  Yes, you … if you are reading this, then you are obviously interested in the subject matter.  I urge you to continue your quest for knowledge on this subject and become vocal about it.  I don’t care which team you decide to play for.  We need smart motivated people to get involved in the process of reinventing the way we protect intellectual property.  Then, we need to tell our elected officials what they should do.  If you don’t take this matter into your own hands, you are guaranteed to be displeased with the results!  Shelly Palmer

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, co-founder of Metacademy, and the CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and CNBC and writes a popular daily business blog. He’s the Co-Host of the award-winning podcast Techstream with Shelly Palmer & Seth Everett and his latest book, Blockchain - Cryptocurrency, NFTs & Smart Contracts: An executive guide to the world of decentralized finance, is an Amazon #1 Bestseller. Follow @shellypalmer or visit shellypalmer.com.



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