Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Not So Free Information

It boils down to limiting the use of broadcast information by embedding it with a tag. The Broadcast Flag is a function of lobbiests jockeying for legislation that would allow the MPAA and RIAA to increase the strength of their relentless campaign against the average individual, freedom of information, and the interests of free speech. As the linked article above indicates, the federal courts have already demonstrated that the flag exceeds the constitutional power of the FCC to mandate that every television be capable of interpreting the flag. Interestingly enough, the legislation is coming before Congress for a mandate by the federal government.

Increases in personal technology allows the everyman to do much more than she or he could before. This includes record media transmissions. The first major manifestation was Napster. Now, advancements in video recording hardware and software have allowed access to video content in the same way. The Broadcast Flag aims to prevent this by limiting what information may or may not be recorded. Oddly, it only works with high definition television. Entities standing to benefit from this legislation could include the MPAA, the RIAA, any electronics manufacturer (your 3 year old HDTV will now be obsolete), Comcast (specifically their On-Demand business), and DVD rental establishments. It hurts the average person and the non-corporate visual and musical artists, and will annoy TIVO users. Why should the everyman be interested in this legislation? It will significantly inhibit your ability to exercise free speech by requiring a form of government intervention to determine whether or not you actually have a right to speak. It gives big business the ability to control what is said, who says it, and what method it is disseminated. Contact your Senators and tell them to prevent the creation of the broadcast flag.

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