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House Raises Flag

The House subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property this week held a hearing on broadcast flag and analog hole draft legislation.

The flag draft was concise, giving the FCC jurisdiction to implement the digital broadcast content protection. The FCC adopted a broadcast flag order two years ago, but a court later ruled the commission had exceeded its authority in doing so. The original FCC order would have required receivers manufactured on or after July 1, 2005, to read the flag. In August 2004, the commission approved 13 flag technologies.

The subcommittee also took testimony on legislation designed to plug the so-called "analog hole" through which digital content can feasibly be recorded via an analog output and reconverted to a digital format and subsequently be distributed over the Internet. Dan Glickman, head of the Motion Picture Association of America, testified that digital rights management technology could be stripped away through the analog hole, and that "some consumer devices are being made to intentionally do this."

The CEA's Michael Petricone countered that the analog hole draft was "incomprehensible and impractical," and that it relied to heavily on video encoded invisible light, or VEIL.

"VEIL is largely unknown as far as its cost, functionality, and potential interference with ordinary and legal consumer product uses," Petricone testified.