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Article: DTV On The Back Burner At CES?


This article contains a recent interview with Michael Powell, the new FCC Chairman. The interviewer was Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association.


Here are some quotes from the interview regarding copy protection.
Quote:
Shapiro: [...] What do you see as the Commission's role in preserving consumer's fair use rights?


Powell: I think the short answer is it's extremely limited if existent at all. Copyright law is a difficult balancing judgement. It's almost a legal conclusion and it's one that has never been a serious or substantial component of the FCC's jurisdiction or role. And I don't know that I think that it's going to become dramatically more a part of what it does either. [...]


Shapiro: So do you think that if industry agreed that consumers shouldn't be allowed to tape broadcast television that that is OK with the FCC?


Powell: No. But you would be in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia facing consumer suits over their rights being violated, just as was the case in prior precedent.


Shapiro: But if the FCC is actually accepting the DFAST license and other licenses which restrict the ability of consumers to use consumer electronics products, imposed by the cable industry and others, isn't the FCC essentially accepting that limitation?


Powell: I don't want to hypothesize whether some specific technology would be so prohibitive against consumer use that it would, per se, violate the copyright law, that there would be no question as to that case whether we would roll or yield to that. But that usually isn't what's presented. What's presented usually is a balance between some restriction and some use. And whether that is or isn't a copyright violation is a very difficult legal judgement and that traditionally is not one for the FCC to make.
 

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Quote:
Shapiro: So do you think that if industry agreed that consumers shouldn't be allowed to tape broadcast television that that is OK with the FCC?


Powell: No. But you would be in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia facing consumer suits over their rights being violated, just as was the case in prior precedent.
Well, at least he has some level of understanding of the issues. In a way, this might be good since the issue would have less of a chance of being entangled in the bureaucracy and, potentially, receive the highest judicial attention sooner - which the MPAA does not want.



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The button is labeled "Play", not "Pay". STOP HD-DIVX == HDCP


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Powell seems to want it both ways. On the one hand, copyright issues are legal (court, legislative) matters that lie outside the FCC's purview. At the same time, it's apparently okay with him that the FCC puts its stamp of approval on something like DFAST. I don't get it.


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HiDefDave


STOP HDCP!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Dave McRoy:
Powell seems to want it both ways. On the one hand, copyright issues are legal (court, legislative) matters that lie outside the FCC's purview. At the same time, it's apparently okay with him that the FCC puts its stamp of approval on something like DFAST. I don't get it.
Maybe someone can explain what Powell says here. I don't get it. Is he saying he won't protect what?


FCC Chmn. Powell expressed strong doubts about future importance of traditional over-the-air TV in nation where more than 80% of households rely on cable and satellite for their TV viewing. In news conference on TV issues at Commission hq Thurs., Powell said he didn't see agency intervening much further in such marketplace issues as disputes over DTV standards and network affiliate practices because he wasn't sure how most consumers were affected. With combined cable and satellite penetration seemingly on its way toward 90% of U.S. TV homes, he argued that such broadcasting industry battles were relevant to increasingly fewer viewers.


"I think there are real questions about the changing nature of TV," he said, specifically referring to "its distribution, content and how it uses its slice of the digital revolution." He said, for instance, that most early purchasers of DTV sets were "people who have dishes and cable," not old-fashioned "rabbit ears" on their sets. "If 100% of americans don't get free, over-the-air TV, what are we protecting?.."

 
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