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Broadcasters need as much protection from copyright theft as cable, key lawmakers told FCC chief Michael Powell in a letter.

Their concern is that if manufacturers don't include technology in new TVs and set-top boxes to keep copies of free broadcasts off the Internet, studios will withhold their content. And if studios start backing off on licensing original content to TV networks, both the transition to digital and free over-the-air television in general may suffer, the lawmakers said. Regulation, they said, "will protect localism and free, over-the-air television" and make for a "speedy transition" to DTV.