Public-Interest Groups: Deny FCC HD DVR Waiver

Public Knowledge, six other public-interest groups ask FCC to deny studios' request for waiver that would allow them to restrict copying of some HD movies by DVRs.
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Public Knowledge and six other public-interest groups asked the Federal Communications Commission to deny studios' request for a waiver of FCC rules that would allow them to restrict the copying of some HD movies by digital-video recorders.

The Motion Picture Association of America filed a formal request with the FCC June 6 for a waiver of FCC rules governing the "selectable output controls" of set-top boxes so that they can selectively prevent the digital copying of HD versions of films they want to distribute via multichannel-video providers before their DVD releases.

The MPAA said the waiver will benefit the public by giving them more viewing choices more expeditiously and will help the digital-TV transition by boosting interest in HDTV sets.

Public Knowledge and company begged to differ, telling the FCC in written comments that the waiver has little to do with the DTV transition and, in any event, would be costly to consumers and, if anything, hurt the transition.

“If granted, the waiver will frustrate consumer expectations regarding their home-theater equipment and will give movie studios unprecedented and undesirable control over the design and use of home electronics equipment,” they argued.

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