No broadcast flag this year

Summary:Last month I wrote about the U.S. Court of Appeals putting the kibosh on the FCC's broadcast flag rule.

Last month I wrote about the U.S. Court of Appeals putting the kibosh on the FCC's broadcast flag rule. Naturally, I assumed that the entertainment industry would turn to Congress if they failed to get their way in court. And they did, but it looks like 2005 isn't their year, however. (At least when it comes to the broadcast flag.) Copyfight's Donna Wentworth notes that the MPAA is unlikely to push for the broadcast flag in the DTV transition bill, because the bill's sponsor, Rep. Joe Barton is opposed to the provision. It's nice to see that some members of Congress aren't willing to throw away all of their constituents' fair use rights. 

This makes content and open source a little more compatible after all, at least for the time being. Projects like MythTV can continue to support digital broadcasts legally, and users can continue to record their favorite shows and even (gasp!) lend a copy to a friend who may have missed a show. The MPAA is likely to continue pushing for this, but at least they're stalled for the time being. Perhaps Congress is catching on that the public is getting fed up with restriction technology that does little to thwart so-called "piracy" but does clamp down on fair use.

Topics: Open Source


Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier is the community manager for openSUSE, a community Linux distro sponsored by Novell. Prior to joining Novell, Brockmeier worked as a technology journalist primarily covering the Linux and FOSS beat, and wrote for a number of publications, such as Linux Magazine,, Sys Admin,, IBM developer... Full Bio

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