Entertainment industry executives Nov. 3 attempted to convince lawmakers to approve laws that would ensure copyright holders' ability to protect content delivered by digital TV and radio broadcasts.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (The Hollywood Reporter) -- Entertainment industry executives Nov. 3 attempted to convince lawmakers to approve laws that would ensure copyright holders' ability to protect content delivered by digital TV and radio broadcasts.
Without content-protection measures for digital TV, Hollywood is unlikely to allow broadcasters to air "high-value" programs, and those programs, including sports, TV series and movies, will find a permanent home on pay platforms where they already enjoy copy protections, Motion Picture Assn. of America chairman/CEO Dan Glickman told lawmakers.
"If program producers cannot be assured that programming licensed to broadcast television is protected as securely as programming licensed to cable and other subscription-based outlets, these producers will inevitably move their programming over to channels where protections are available through contractual arrangements," he told the House Judiciary Committee's copyright panel.
Glickman and Recording Industry Assn. of America chairman/CEO Mitch Bainwol want lawmakers to give the FCC the authority to approve copyright "broadcast flag" and "radio flag" control regimes. The two technologies function similarly, both designed to prevent digitally broadcast programming from being uploaded on the Internet.
Glickman also urged lawmakers to approve legislation that would plug the "analog hole," which opens when a copy-protected digital TV broadcast is transmitted, then converted to analog for use in some devices and often converted back into digital for use in other devices. When the conversion occurs, the copy protection is wiped off. That technology would be approved by the Patent and Trademark Office.
Consumer Electronics Assn. VP Michael Petricone told lawmakers that the analog-hole legislation is unworkable.
"It's unclear how the Patent and Trademark Office would administrate it," he said, calling the legislation an "incomprehensible and impractical ... half-baked proposal."
At least one lawmaker also balked at expanding the PTO's power.
"That's a very unusual role for the PTO, and I would be very reluctant to assign it to them," said Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.
Staffers on the House copyright panel began circulating three legislative drafts dealing with the problems the week of Oct. 31. The broadcast flag and the analog-hole legislation are opposed by some consumer-rights groups and some consumer electronics companies.