Broadcast Flag Dropped by Federal Court

Broadcast Flag technology hampering televisions and TV tuner cards is looking less likely all the time. In a decision published on 6 May 2005, the United States Court of Appeals ruled in favor of consumers, stating the FCC does not have the authority to decide whether consumer electronics devices sold in the United States must support broadcast flag technology. This is a big win for fair use advocates, specifically because broadcast flag would have limited what could be done with recordings made using Tivo and Windows Media Center type products. The idea behind Broadcast Flag is to make playback possible only from the device used to record the program. For example, if you recorded something with Tivo, you couldn’t play it back on your laptop. It’s still possible for this Broadcast Flag decision to be overturned by Congress, but not as likely considering Congress would in effect be deciding how citizens are allowed to use their televisions and other electronic devices for non-infringing activities.