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FCC Adopts Anti-Piracy Protection For DTV

(November 4, 2003) Washington, DC--The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted the anti-piracy mechanism known as the “broadcast flag,” for digital broadcast television. In a statement issued shortly after the move, the commission said the broadcast flag is meant only to prevent mass distribution over the Internet and would not affect consumers' ability to make digital copies.

The FCC emphasized that the new rules are targeted only at products that are capable of receiving DTV signals over-the-air. These products must comply with the broadcast flag requirements by July 1, 2005. Other products such as digital VCRs, DVD players and personal computers that are not built with digital tuners installed are not required to comply with the new rule. In addition, the FCC explained that existing televisions, VCRs, DVD players and related equipment will remain fully functional under the new broadcast flag system.

Both the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Consumer Electronics Association issued statements in support of the adoption.
"We applaud the Commission for establishing a date of July 1, 2005 for products to comply with the broadcast flag requirements, as we had urged. Through this act, the FCC has recognized the real-world product development and manufacturing cycles of digital television (DTV) product manufacturers," said CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro.
"The FCC's 'broadcast flag' adoption represents another advance in the digital transition and ensures that consumers continue receiving the very best in free, over-the-air television programming," said NAB president and CEO Eddie Fritts.