Lawmakers ask FCC to anti-copy lead

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House and Senate leaders want the Federal Communications Commission to
work quickly to develop a copy-protection solution for digital programming, they
wrote in letters sent last Friday and Monday.

Specifically, House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Billy Tauzin
(R-La.); that committee's ranking member, John Dingell (D-Mich.); and Senate
Commerce Committee chairman Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) asked the FCC to implement a
"broadcast flag" solution to protect digital content.

"It is beyond dispute that the public interest would be served by regulations
protecting digital-broadcast content while at the same time preserving lawful
consumer use of that content such as making a physical copy for time- and/or
device-shifting purposes," Hollings wrote.

Both letters asked the FCC to work on the broadcast flag, which would mark
digital-TV programming so that it could not be copied and distributed over the
Internet, while Congress works on broader digital-TV legislation.

Tauzin and Dingell have already announced a broad plan, while Hollings said
he and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), ranking member on the Senate Commerce
Committee, will likely work on legislation during Congress' upcoming August
recess.

The National Association of Broadcasters and the Motion
Picture Association of America applauded the letters, while the Consumer
Electronics Association said it still was reviewing them at
deadline.

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