Absolute Michigan's Michigan Blog
Sunday, January 22, 2006

New Senate Broadcast Flag Bill Would Freeze Fair Use

Shlep writes: Hollywood now wants their old business model frozen into a law to prevent any technology newer than their "historical" distribution method from being created. This would have prevented iPods and Tivos from ever being considered. Yet another corp. shill acting like a senator

read more | digg story (comments uncensored and often contain rough language)

EFF Summary:

Hollywood Plants Its Flags In Our Homes

...If this bill were to pass, government - and the entertainment industry - would control what you could do with digital media in your home. The broadcast flag would place TV shows in a DRM ghetto, where your right to copy, back-up, sell, time-shift or convert them into formats convenient to you would be at the whim of the broadcasters. The audio flag would give the FCC matching powers over "digital audio broadcasting," including satellite radio, digital HD radio, and potentially even Internet radio. Fair use would be frozen into "customary historical use".

There's no benefit here for artists or customers, and for infringing copiers, evading these copy controls will be as easy as ever. No matter how inconvenienced individual users would be by a flag, pirates would be able to bypass it. The bill would usher in a new world of anti-consumer electronics, and a chance for the MPAA's and RIAA's member companies to seize even greater control over all media distribution and use.

read more / send letters to lawmakers

Rights and Speech
Absolute Michigan mini-Editorial by Andrew L. McFarlane

The above two articles link to detailed web of information about a remarkably ill-advised piece of draft legislation in the US Senate. As the editor of a publication, writer, photographer, application developer and media end-user, I have a lot of hats I can try on as I consider this piece of legislation.

The end-user is not happy about the prospect of paying media hardware and software makers more due to increased costs from compliance measures. The application developer worries about lawsuits when/if something he wrote or relies on is exploited to The writer wants to be paid for his work while the photographer just wants people to see it. The editor sees a future where content cartels with powerful lobbies like the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America (wikipedia) and media conglomerates utilize a legally complex and prohibitively expensive copyright system to strangle content producers and small media companies.

I have a lot of hats, but none of them can make the consistant and blatent disregard of our fundamental right to speech by lobbyists and cash-hungry legislators palatable.

To my mind, our Nation (and the state of Michigan) need to act now to analyze, determine, codify and protect the rights of all players in the media mix.

Read More (external link) »

# posted by farlane @ 8:23 AM
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