To Whom it May Concern,
I would like to use this letter to express my concern about the proposed
Broadcast Flag. I enjoy the flexibility and control that technology gives me.
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.
Unfortunately, the broadcast flag will most likely remove this control 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 would like to add that I am a law-abiding consumer who believes that piracy
should be prevented and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. However,
that prevention should not come at the cost of prohibiting me from making legal,
personal use of content. In the case of the broadcast flag, it seems that it
will have little effect on piracy. This is because with file-sharing networks, a
TV program has only to be cracked once, and it will spread rapidly across the
Internet. So, while I may be forced to purchase consumer electronic devices that
cost more and allow me to do less (or perhaps I will not purchase the devices at
all), 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. If they cannot, I urge you
not to mandate the broadcast flag.