September 27th, 2005



If you have any interest in the preservation of fair use rights, you know about the "broadcast flag": a flag bit in digital video streams that is intended, when set, to prevent recording equipment from recording it. The FCC tried to mandate it as of June of this year, but the courts decided that the FCC didn't have the authority to do so.

The MPAA is now trying to sneak it in the back door as an amendment to a budget reconciliation bill. Why a budget reconciliation bill? Because

1. you can't filibuster a budget reconciliation bill.
2. once it's presented, it can't be "substantially changed", i.e. if they manage to sneak it in, the only way to kill it is to vote down the bill, and voting down a budget reconciliation bill is not an easy or popular thing to do.

Just because the FCC can't decide on its own to mandate the broadcast flag doesn't mean that Congress can't mandate it, or pass a bill to give the FCC that authority.

So...unless you want to see your fair use rights flushed down the toilet, call your Congresscritter immediately.

Check this Ars Technica article for more info, and this EFF article as well...and if you're not a member of the EFF, why the [expletive] not?
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