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Court to FCC: Broadcast Flag Won't Fly

6 May, 2005 By: Holly J. Wagner

The trade group representing entertainment hardware manufacturers today hailed an appellate court decision rejecting the “broadcast flag” technology that would prevent copying digital broadcasts on home recorders.

The flag and compatible hardware would have been required after July 1 under rules the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently approved. But the court found the FCC overstepped its authority in making the rules.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) applauded the decision.

“The broadcast flag was designed to protect over-the-air television broadcast content from mass, anonymous redistribution over the Internet. Courts are right to be wary when government institutions seek to regulate the specific features and functions of safe, useful consumer technology,” said CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro. “We look forward to studying the Court's ruling in greater detail, with a focus on continuing efforts to preserve the freedom to innovate while protecting the interests of patent and copyright owners.”

The decision will have no effect on the planned transition to digital broadcast television, Shapiro said.

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