FCC Adopts Copyright Protection for HDTV

Next-generation DVRs will have a new FCC-adopted antipiracy technology to worry about. To protect High-Definition Television (HDTV) content, the FCC has approved new copyright protection that Hollywood studios have proposed. The new copyright protection will be mandatory by July 1, 2006. This so-called "broadcast flag" protection will require all digital TVs to recognize and respect the setting. The "broadcast flag" will let content providers prevent users from copying TV content in ways that the provider doesn't approve. The FCC will have to endorse any new digital TV recorders before they go to market. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is one of many groups that oppose the new ruling. The group warned that the new technology will stymie innovation, fair use, and competition, as well as increase the cost of digital TV products. Hollywood proposed the copyright protection to prevent the sharing of high-quality HDTV recordings on the Internet. If content providers don't abuse the technology to prevent fair use, the protection could be helpful for consumers: Studios might release content that, because of piracy fears, they might not have otherwise made available. However, we're not fans of increased costs and limits to our freedoms. We hope Hollywood doesn't abuse this new technology.

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