Thursday, February 24, 2005
Broadcast flag bashed: The Federal Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., has decided the FCC's "broadcast flag" rule -- a code which would tell televisions, VCRs and DVD players what they could and could not play -- overstepped the commission's authority.
The FCC argued that its ancillary powers authorize it to regulate the reception of broadcasts, not just their transmission. While Congress did not authorize the Commission to regulate the proper designs of the devices, it also didn't expressly forbid it, which FCC takes as a license to issue specifications.
"Ancillary does not mean you get to rule the world," judge [Harry] Edwards observed.
Judge David Sentelle wondered if FCC thought it could regulate washing machines, since Congress didn't expressly forbid that, either.
The broadcast flag isn't dead yet, but hopefully it's suffering from a terminal illness.