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Broadcast-Flag Case on Horizon

Just a reminder: Tuesday, Feb. 22, is the date for the U.S. Appeals Court to hear oral argument on the Federal Communications Commission's broadcast-flag-protection regime for over-the-air digital-TV broadcasts.

Content providers and broadcasters want to protect their intellectual property from widespread piracy, saying not to do so will impeded the transition to digital, making copyright owners reluctant to make their content available. The flag plugs the so-called "digital hole," preventing peer-to-peer and internet sharing of digital content.

But Public Knowledege and other fair use advocates challenged that FCC decision, fearing the flag will put undue limitations on copying devices including TiVos, digital VCRs, iPods, and cell phones.

“This is a crucial case that will determine how much control the government and Hollywood will have over current and future digital media devices,” said Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn told the court in a brief filed last October.