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<br/>Consumer Groups Wave 'Flag' at Congress - TvTechnology

Consumer Groups Wave 'Flag' at Congress

Library and consumer groups urged legislators this week to hold hearings on the broadcast flag, noting that a June court decision should prompt Congress to conduct an "in-depth investigation of the significant technology and information policy questions the flag raises." In a letter to Senate Commerce Committee Ted S
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Library and consumer groups urged legislators this week to hold hearings on the broadcast flag, noting that a June court decision should prompt Congress to conduct an "in-depth investigation of the significant technology and information policy questions the flag raises."

In a letter to Senate Commerce Committee Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), House Commerce Committee Chairman Rick Barton (R-Texas) and ranking member John Dingell (D-Mich.), the American Library Association, American Association of Law Libraries, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge and others reiterated that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decision in June ruled that the FCC did not have legal authority to impose the technology that would detect digital code embedded into a broadcast stream on devices capable of receiving digital broadcasts. The requirement would have meant that digital OTA receivers sold in the U.S. after July 1, 2005 would have been required to include technology that would detect the flag.

The driving force for the creation of the flag was to prevent mass distribution of movies and other digital content over the Internet, which the library and consumer groups reportedly do not oppose, however they urged Congress to conduct hearings on the flag to ensure fair use of digital content used in the home.

"The issues raised by the flag regime for technology and copyright policy are too complex and far-reaching to be addressed by Congress in a hurried manner," the organizations wrote.

The letter warns that the broadcast flag would not only reach beyond the design and manufacturing of TVs, but also digital devices networked with TVs--PVRs, PCs and Web-enabled mobile phones. The letter also questions whether digital TV broadcasts are more susceptible to Web-based infringement than analog broadcasts and what impact the flag regime would have on the fair use of TV signals.