Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

A deal made in Washington?

Filed under
Sci/Tech
Legal

On May 26, my friend and former colleague, Dan Glickman, of the Motion Picture Association of America, made the case for Congress enacting legislation to ratify the Federal Communication Commission's broadcast flag rule, which the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down in early May.

Mr. Glickman asked the rhetorical question: "So why should I care about a so-called broadcast flag regulation? The answer is simple. I want to make certain that the American people will continue to have the opportunity to see our movies and television shows on free television in the digital age."

For me, the answer to his rhetorical question is simple as well: If the MPAA expects Congress to ratify a rule that would limit the ability of ordinary consumers to share lawfully acquired digital broadcast television programs with one another, then it shouldn't be surprised if Congress insists that the MPAA accept in return a restoration of the fair use rights taken from consumers through the enactment of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

As crafted, the FCC's broadcast flag rule recognized the right of consumers to share lawfully acquired digital broadcast content within their homes. But it also would have made it illegal for my staff to send a digital broadcast news clip from my district office to my Washington, D.C., office via the Internet. It would have precluded a library from sharing with a patron via the Internet excerpts from a digitally broadcast public affairs program. And it would have limited the ability of teachers to use material from digitally broadcast programs when engaged in distance education with students in rural areas--the very kind of activity Congress authorized in the TEACH Act.

Given these restrictions on traditional fair use activities, I expect that my colleagues will think twice before simply ratifying the FCC's rule. Moreover, given that the rule raises the question of consumer use of lawfully acquired content, I am confident that the House Energy and Commerce Committee will consider the appropriateness of amending any broadcast flag legislation with H.R. 1201, a bill that I introduced along with the Chairman of the Committee and Representative John Doolittle, to restore the fair use rights that ordinary consumers lost when Congress enacted the DMCA.

Both fair use proponents and content owners frequently say we need balance in our copyright laws. I agree. Adding H.R. 1201 to appropriately crafted broadcast flag legislation would achieve a long needed balance--bringing us back to the equilibrium that existed before the DMCA disrupted it to the detriment of consumers, librarians, teachers and the public at large.

Congressman Rick Boucher
Virginia's Ninth Congressional District
Source.

More in Tux Machines

ExTiX 15.2 Is Based on Ubuntu 15.04 and Debian 8 Jessie, Features LXQt and KDE Editions

After announcing his new RaspArch distribution that helps users run the powerful Arch Linux distribution on a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B computer board, Arne Exton informed Softpedia about the immediate availability for download of the ExTiX 15.2 Linux operating system. Read more

RaspArch Offers an Easy Way to Run Arch Linux on Raspberry Pi 2

Arne Exton had the pleasure of informing Softpedia about a new distribution of GNU/Linux created from the ground up for the Raspberry Pi 2 tiny computer board and called RaspArch. Read more

Leftovers: Software

  • goobook: Command-line contacts
  • Calibre eBook Editor Gets Much Better Support for DOCX
    Calibre, a complete application to edit, view, and convert eBook files, has been updated yet again, and the developer has added a number of new features and various other fixes.
  • GNOME Builder - 3.16.2
    I released 3.16.0 a couple weeks ago without much fanfare. Despite many months of 16-hour days and weekends, it lacked some of the features I wanted to get into the "initial" release. So I didn't stop. I kept pushing through to make 3.16.2 the best that I could.
  • PacketFence v5.0 released
    The Inverse team is pleased to announce the immediate availability of PacketFence 5.0.0. This is a major release with new features, enhancements and important bug fixes. This release is considered ready for production use and upgrading from previous versions is strongly advised.
  • What are good open-source log monitoring tools on Linux
    In an operating system, logs are all about keeping track of events, be it critical system errors, resource usage warnings, transaction history, application status, or user activities. These logs, which are stored as (text or binary) files in the system, are useful for system auditing, debugging and maintenance. However, with so many different system entities generating log files, and even at growing rate, the challenge as a system admin is to how to "consume" these log files effectively.
  • Apache Fortress Core 1.0-RC40 released !
  • Say Hello to Open Source Puppet 4!
    Production-ready Open Source Puppet 4 is now available! We’re excited to announce new features and enhancements that will extend your use of Puppet for faster, more consistent management of server configurations. We’ve added capabilities to help you save time, reduce errors, and increase reliability.
  • textprint: Visually impressive, in only 18K
    textprint takes a flat data file as input, and arranges it graphically to fit the terminal without distorting the image. From there, textprint goes from zero-to-60, in about two seconds.