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“Broadcast Flag”

December 6 is the deadline to let the FCC know how you feel about even more restrictions on what you can do with digital content, specifically your ability to make copies of digital-broadcast television programs.

Please see this report by CDT, Consumers Union, and Public Knowledge outlining consumer questions posed by the broadcast flag proposal.

    In general, we believe that serious questions remain as to whether the broadcast flag proposal will be sufficiently effective. Congress should seek assurance that it will not have adverse consequences on consumers, including their ability to use their existing products, their ability to exercise legal and reasonably expected fair uses of content, and their access to future innovative technologies that might allow them to manipulate content in creative ways that are legal under copyright law.

    Broader dialog is in order. The Committee should seek more information and use its standing to promote a fuller exploration of the consumer implications of implementing a broadcast flag, and to ensure protections for consumers in any legislative or regulatory endorsement of a solution like the broadcast flag. We believe that all sides in the debate would benefit from developing much clearer answers to these questions. We are eager to work with you, your staff, and the affected stakeholders to ensure greater involvement of the consumer perspective in these important deliberations.

An organization called NY For Fair Use is also concerned:

    The FCC is considering a proposal that digital televisions be required to work only according to the rules set by Hollywood, through the use of a “broadcast flag” assigned to digital TV broadcasts.

    Through the deliberations of a group called the Broadcast Protection Discussion Group which assiduously discounted the public’s rights to use flexible information technology, Hollywood and leading technology players have devised a plan that would only allow “professionals” to have fully-functional devices for processing digital broadcast materials.

    Hollywood and content producers must not be allowed to determine the rights of the public to use flexible information technology. The idea of the broadcast flag is to implement universal content control and abolish the right of free citizens to own effective tools for employing digital content in useful ways. The broadcast flag is theft.

    In the ongoing fight with old world content industries, the most essential rights and interests in a free society are those of the public. Free citizens are not mere consumers; they are not a separate group from so-called “professionals.” The stakeholders in a truly just information policy in a free society are the public, not those who would reserve special rights to control public uses of information technology.

    Please go to the Center for Democracy and Technology’s Broadcast Flag Action Page and use their form to let the FCC know that the public’s rights are at stake: http://www.cdt.org/action/copyright/.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected], Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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