Wednesday, November 05, 2003 - FCC Endorses Built-In Copy Controls

Buy Digital TVs, VCRs and DVD players NOW . . .

The FCC's decided that the content industry is right, new devices with copy ccontrol flags built in are needed to protect the valuable content that the MPAA and others may offer us.

Jack Valenti has words of wisdom, as usual:

In a statement, MPAA president Jack Valenti called the FCC decision "a big victory for consumers and the preservation of high value over-the-air free broadcasting."

"All the way around, the consumer wins, and free TV stays alive," Valenti said.

. . . and the content industry gains more control, and media players/TVa become more expensive, and consumers lose decision-making power, and a program decides what is and is not "indiscriminant" broadcasting of a copy, and fair use gets struck another blow, and the DMCA anti-circumvention clause means . . . well, you know the story by now.

But wiat! There's (somewhat) good news . . .

A small victory for consumers, say consumer groups, is that the FCC rule does allow fair use of copyrighted content. Two commissioners dissented in part from the ruling, urging a fair use provision be included. However, how it will be implemented is not clear. Consumers can legally transmit copies of videos between home networks and their home and workplace offices, although the rule does not address details of how this might work, or how many copies are allowed.

The same critics credit the FCC for not letting movie studios dictate the copy-protection technology. The MPAA wanted the rule to take effect next summer, rather than the July 2005 deadline set by the FCC.

Some technology vendors are also breathing a sigh of relief that the FCC does not favor a single copy-protection technology. Several firms, notably Philips Electronics, expressed such concern when the rule was under consideration. The FCC has promised an open certification process for the copy-protection technologies.

So, perhaps the picture is not as bleak as it could be, but there are still some serious issues with this FCC ruling. *sigh*

- posted by laurie @ 11/05/2003 06:34:00 AM
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