As a consumer of digital content, I have a grave concern about the proposed
Broadcast Flag. I enjoy the flexibility and control that technology gives me. I
can be more than a passive recipient of content; I can modify, create and
participate. Technology currently gives me more choices by allowing me to record
a television program and watch it later; clip a small piece of TV and splice it
into a home movie; send an email clip of my child's football game to a distant
relative; or record a TV program onto a DVD and play it at my friend's
apartment. The broadcast flag seems designed to remove this control and
flexibility that I enjoy.
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 am a law-abiding consumer who believes that piracy should be prevented and
prosecuted. However, if theoretical prevention comes at the cost of prohibiting
me from making legal, personal use of my content, then the FCC should be working
to protect all consumers rather than enable those who would restrict consumer
rights. In the case of the broadcast flag, it seems that it will have little
effect on piracy. With file-sharing networks, a TV program has only to be
cracked once, and it will propagate rapidly across the Internet. So, while I may
be required to purchase consumer electronic devices that cost more and allow me
to do less, piracy will not be diminished.
In closing, 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.
..What can be said that hasn't already been said..? Practically nothing. I'm all
for stopping piracy, but if it's at the cost of my technological freedoms, then
I say it deserves to be burried. These "industries" are only proposing and
pushing such actions because they feel they're losing too much money, yet if you
look at their net income, it's still in the billions. I say Hollywood's wallets
are already bulging as it is.. why do we need to let them line their pockets
with 24 karot gold if it costs us our freedoms and prevents any technological
innovation in the process??
I realise that money does talk, and if they slip you enough benjamins under the
table you will undoubtedly pass this "bill." No doubt about it... unless you
actually CARE about the population that you are working FOR. Remember that old
saying: "A government FOR the people, BY the people"?? I thought not. See,
that's where Capitalism has gone too far. Our own government has allowed
Capitalism to control our government.
Too bad I'm only one voice. One intelligent voice among millions of idiots is
never heard.
It's so sad when you look at how our own country started as a Democratic
Government, and today as it stands is more so a Capitalistic Government. Whoever
staples the 'hundred-dollar bills to the government's forehead first wins.
Like I said.. So sad. :(