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FCC; Hollywood Flagged Down

Jason Lee Miller
Staff Writer
Published: 2005-05-09

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The US Circuit Court of Appeals shook its finger at the Federal Communications Commission for trying to enact new anti-piracy regulations. Hollywood kicked up some dirt, took his ball, and went home.

The US Circuit Court of Appeals shook its finger at the Federal Communications Commission for trying to enact new anti-piracy regulations. Hollywood kicked up some dirt, took his ball, and went home.

The FCC's regulations were to require all digital products manufactured after July 1, 2005 to have "broadcast flags" added to their hardware, preventing the duplication and redistribution of broadcast material.

Film and television producers were on board for the rulings, claiming that overseas sales of movies and programming would suffer if piracy wasn't curbed in some way;

The proposed requirements, critics say, would limit home viewing and educational distribution.

The echo of "tsk,tsk,tsk" still echoed in the air, however, as the Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 that the FCC had overestimated its own strength by believing it could regulate the manufacture of communication products.

"In the seven decades of its existence the FCC has never before asserted such sweeping authority," said Judge Harry T Edwards.

"Indeed, in the past, the FCC has informed Congress that it lacked any such authority. In our view, nothing has changed to give the FCC the authority it now claims."

The Motion Picture Association of America was none too pleased with the ruling.

"If the Broadcast Flag cannot be used, program providers will have to weigh up whether the risk of theft is too great over free, off-air broadcasting, and could limit such high quality programming to cable, satellite and other more secure delivery systems," said Dan Glickman, president of MPAA.

The MPAA was told to stop crying or it would be given something to cry about.

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About the Author:
Jason L. Miller is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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