Broadcast Flag Struck Down!

Great news: The DC Circuit of the US Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC can not enforce the "Broadcast Flag" that movie and television cartels want to put into future TV hardware. Basically, this little flag would tell your TiVo/Replay/VCR if it could or could not record the latest episode of American Idol or Dr Phil for you to archive or watch at a later time. The Broadcast Flag was an attempt by media companies to control how and when you watch the shows they produce and to make you buy the DVD of a show you wanted instead of archiving it yourself. From BoingBoing:

The rules set out to ban the use of Open
Source/Free Software in digital television applications, and to require
hardware components to be designed to be hard or impossible to create
open drivers for. Fox exec Andy Setos told me that we were there to
create "a polite marketplace" where no one would be allowed to disrupt
his business model without getting his permission and cooperation first
(cough planned economy cough commies cough).

Although now the studios are going to try to buy themselves a law through Congress, this should make it more difficult. In the end, hopefully we’ll still be able to catch the few remaining shows worth watching on television.

Update: Read Susan Crawford’s post for a more complete analysis of the ruling.

The DC Circuit (in a unanimous opinion) found that the Commission
didn’t have power from Congress to make rules about what devices do
with content once that content has been received.