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FCC Adopts Antipiracy "Flag" for Digital TV
Nov 5, 2003
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The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took steps Tuesday to protect movies and television shows broadcast over digital television from piracy over the Internet.

By July 1, 2005, consumer electronics equipment capable of receiving a digital TV signal will be required to read a so-called "broadcast flag" meant to block widespread redistribution of copyrighted programming.

The FCC exempted digital VCRs, DVD players, and personal computers that lack tuners from complying with the rule. That exemption was apparently meant to address complaints by some consumer groups that consumer "time shifting" and other fair uses that they have enjoyed since the advent of the VCR could be curtailed by the new rules.

The FCC said existing televisions and related equipment will remain fully functional.

The five-member commission approved the new rules unanimously, but the agency's two Democrats issued partial dissents. Among their complaints -- that news and other public information could be protected by the digital flag from Internet distribution.

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