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Watchdog going after flag backers

Producers of broadcast programming aren't particularly thrilled about putting digital content out there, only to have its value destroyed by uncontrolled reproduction and redistribution. On the other hand, a number of consumers groups aren't particularly thrilled by the prospect of losing the right to make fair copies of televised programming for personal use. US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia squashed the FCC's rules making the flag a reality. As Judge Harry T. Edwards said at the time, "In the seven decades of its existence, the FCC has never before asserted such sweeping authority. 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." A bipartisan 20-member posse has assembled in the House to assert congressional authority over the matter, and at least one consumer watchdog,, is out to get them, warning that "...elected lawmakers who break their constituents' televisions don't get re-elected."

TVBR observation:
Let's get real. Citizens have the right to make a tape for their own use, and that right needs to be extended into the new technological parameters of the digital age. But that does not mean that program producers should be required to just throw their material out there for the convenience of content pirates. There is some doubt about whether a broadcast flag can be developed that will produce the desired result, but programmers have a right to at least try to protect their copyrighted material.

Here are the pro-flag Reps

John Shadegg (R-AZ)

Mary Bono (R-CA)

George Radanovich (R-CA)

John Shimkus (R-IL)

Bobby Rush (D-IL)

Ed Whitfield (R-KY)

Albert Wynn (D-MD)

Charles Pickering (R-MS)

Lee Terry (R-NE)

Charles Bass (R-NH)

Mike Ferguson (R-NJ)

Frank Pallone (D-NJ)

Eliot Engel (D-NY)

Viot Fossella (R-NY)

Edolphus Towns (D-NY)

John Sullivan (R-OK)

Michael Doyle (D-PA)

Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)

Bart Gordon (D-TN)

Charles Gonzalez (D-TX)

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