My name is Walter Esler III and I am a concerned citizen. These are my comments on
MB Docket No. 02-230, Notice of Proposed Rule making. In short, I am opposed to regulations
that would limit my fair use rights, and am unconvinced that they are necessary or beneficial to
the public. The following is a more detailed explanation.
1) Does the FCC have the right to mandate the use of a copy protection scheme for DTV?
No the FCC does not have a right to put such restrictions on this segment of the public
airways. This segment of the radio spectrum was meant to be freely accessible to the
public. Furthermore I donít believe that the FCC has been authorized to abridge the fair
use rights of the public, especially on this segment of the radio spectrum. If the FCC has a
right to do anything related to copy restrictions it would only be to prohibit them.
2) If it is determined that the FCC does have the authority to abridge fair use rights on content
transmitted via DTV should it?
The main reason that I have heard for mandating copy protection is that it would benefit
the public by speeding the adoption of DTV. It would do so because many major content
producers claim to be unwilling to produce content for DTV unless this copy protection
were mandated. These content providers claim they must do so because digital television
would be much more easily pirated than analog. Aside from the fact that this demand
strongly resembles blackmail, there are numerous reasons why this is absurd:
This argument primarily depends on the false assumption that digital content is
easier to pirate than analog content. Analog is just as easy to pirate as digital and is
analog is easy to convert to digital, in fact much of that digital content is likely to
have been converted from analog itself. In addition people who seek out pirated
video are generally not concerned with quality.
Given the amount of money that is spent on television, it is absurd to concluded
that because a few content providers claim that they will not provide content that
there will not be content. If you recall, it is a free market and if one person is
unwilling to provide you a service someone else will be, especially when the
services in question are worth millions.
The main impediment to me and many others in converting to digital television is
the costs of the DTV equipment. These regulations would likely increase that cost.
If one is worried about piracy they definitely should not be broadcasting their
content over the radio.
In addition to all I have already said, these proposed regulations would most likely
hurt the television industry and many more industries. If similar regulations had existed
when analog television was introduced the VCR, which has benefitted this industry
greatly, likely would never have been invented. In fact many of the corporations
demanding this regulation were horrified by television and have now embraced it. If this
restriction is put in place who knows what kind of innovation will be stifled.
In conclusion, these regulations are short sited, ill conceived, and will negatively affect
all but a small percentage of the public.
Thank you for your time,
Walter Esler III