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Court Throws Out FCC’s Broadcast Flag Regulations

May 6, 2005  •  Post A Comment

In a major blow to the broadcast industry, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington on Friday threw out Federal Communications Commission regulations that were intended to pave the way for Hollywood studios to prevent Internet redistribution of digital TV programming that is delivered by broadcast TV stations.

The so-called broadcast flag technology that the FCC adopted would have used coding to impede the ability to upload digital broadcasts from TV sets onto the Internet.

Hollywood already has the technology to prevent Internet redistribution of cable and satellite programming. Without being able to offer similar protections, broadcasters have been concerned that studios would shift much of their best programming to cable and satellite.

In a unanimous decision, a three-member panel of the court ruled that the FCC lacked the statutory authority to create the broadcast flag rules. “We hold that the commission acted outside the scope of its delegated authority,” the court said in an opinion written by Judge Harry Edwards.