Please do not allow further incursion into fair-use copyright law bysupporting
the proposed Broadcast Flag. Although digital transmission and
media certainly create unique opportunities for piracy, the solution to the
problem of piracy should not interfere with the rights of the much larger
number of legitimate users who wish to use a copy of media content legally.
Historically, the law has allowed for those not affiliated with creating
content to come up with new, unanticipated ways of using it. For example,
Sony invented the modern VCR -- a movie studio did not. (Sony did not own a
movie studio at the time.) Diamond Multimedia invented the MP3 player -- a
recording label did not. Unfortunately, the broadcast flag has the potential
to put an end to that dynamic. Because the broadcast flag defines what uses
are authorized and which are not, unanticipated uses of content which are
not foreseeable today are by default unauthorized. If we allow the content
industry to "lock in" the definition of what is and is not legitimate use,
we curtail the ability for future innovation - unanticipated but legal uses
that will benefit consumers.
I urge you to require the content industry to demonstrate that its proposed
technologies will allow for all legal uses and will actually achieve the
stated goal of preventing piracy. If they cannot, I urge you not to mandate
the broadcast flag.
Thank you, Peter H. Witham, MD
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