In what might be a record for rapid political response, at least one of the motion picture studios apparently is circulating legislative language that would overturn an appellate court's ruling that t
WASHINGTON, D.C. (The Hollywood Reporter) -- In what might be a record for rapid political response, at least one of the motion picture studios apparently is circulating legislative language that would overturn an appellate court's ruling that tossed out a Federal Communications Commission ruling requiring antipiracy technology for digital TV transmission known as the "broadcast flag."
The language would expressly give the FCC authority "to adopt regulations governing digital television apparatus necessary to control the indiscriminate redistribution of digital television broadcast content over digital networks" and ratify the commission's 2003 broadcast flag order.
While it was unclear late May 13 which studio was circulating the language, Motion Picture Assn. of America executives said that the association wasn't giving suggested language to lawmakers or their aides, and calls to the studios about the language were inconclusive.
Most of the studios disowned the language, saying they wanted to take a more judicious course by waiting until they had solidified their base and developing a coalition that would make their argument more appealing to lawmakers. Some industry executives questioned whether the language was being circulated by the studios or another group, with executives from two studios saying that they preferred a targeted approach that would simply codify the FCC decision.
Late last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that the commission overstepped its authority when it ordered set manufacturers to include technology to prevent the unauthorized copying of DTV programs.
The ruling was a blow to Hollywood and the makers of television programming, who pushed for the broadcast flag regulation. The studios claim that without copyright protection afforded by the broadcast flag, they will not make high-value programming available for digital broadcasts for fear of piracy.
Critics of the broadcast flag say that the legislative proposal is even worse.
"This language is more sweeping than even the FCC contemplated," Public Knowledge president Gigi Sohn said. "It would give the commission unparalleled new power over the development and use of digital and analog consumer electronics technology. It empowers the FCC to approve technologies that prevent currently used [VCRs] from working and would allow the FCC to shut off every TiVo in every home today. Clearly, we hope Congress will reject this big-government, anti-consumer approach."