Saying his subcommittee eagerly awaits Federal Communications Commission
action on the broadcast-flag digital-copy-protection scheme, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas),
chairman of the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual
Property, made it clear Tuesday that he would monitor the results to make sure
they do not run afoul of fair-use protections.
The FCC put out a notice of proposed rulemaking on the flag last August.
Citing the Sony Corp. case, in which the Supreme Court upheld home taping of free
TV, Smith told a lunch crowd at a Progress and Freedom Foundation seminar in
Washington, D.C., "It is important that the transition to DTV and any
implementation of rules requiring the use of the broadcast-flag technology does
not have an adverse effect on how consumers may legitimately use lawfully
acquired entertainment products."
The degree to which protected works should and can be copied in a world of
easy digital duplication is one of the key issues in the transition to digital
As Smith pointed out, "Pirates can easily copy and redistribute millions of
files in a matter of seconds."