This broadcast flag issue cannot be allowed to result in unfair control over
consumers' rights. The FCC is a government agency, and as such it is obligated
to consider the rights of all US citizens as well as businesses -- not to
abridge the rights consumers have had for many decades solely to do the
business' bidding.
The broadcast flag by itself does nothing. How it is legally to become
implemented by the consumer electronics industry is what makes all the
difference. In my view, with broadcast flag set, it should still be possible for
consumers to copy a program, for the purpose of time shifting or of playing the
program on another TV set, while refraining from reselling the program. Anything
less should be unacceptable. Whether the broadcast flag can serve any useful
purpose if it still permits the flexibility I suggest above, I don't know for
sure, but maybe it can.
Perhaps the best use of the broadcast flag is a LEGAL one. If a program is
produced with the flag set, and this can be proven, then any copy of that
program that is found to be for sale by a third party is ILLEGAL. This would be
true for that copy, no matter how the copy's broadcast flag is set.
Standard legal system proceedings would come into play, in the event such a
recording is found on the market. Implemented this way, the broadcast flag would
not only NOT abridge the people's rights, but it would also be relatively immune
to the easy task of resetting the broadcast flag during download, so as to
bypass its intended effect.
Please consider that the entertainment industry was in no way hurt by the
introduction of tape recorders in the 1950s, and the video cassette in the
1970s. These cries from the entertainment industry must be seen with the
advantage of 20/20 hindsight.
Thank you for considering these ramblings.
Albert Manfredi