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Information Technology
Leicester MA

Innovation prohibited

Joe Conley on Sunday, 22 January 2006.

Fair use, meet your successor: "customary historic use."

Broadcast flag draft legislation sponsored by Senator Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) contains provisions which appear to limit digital broadcast media reception devices to "customary historic use of broadcast content by consumers

to the extent such use is consistent with applicable law and that prevents redistribution of copyrighted content over digital networks." In other words, if it does anything heretofore unheard of with the digital content that it receives, then it's illegal. And if it does anything "customary" that could also possibly lead to unauthorized redistribution, then it's also illegal. So all the bases are covered!

So, if you were planning to launch a startup and make millions off the coming digital broadcast media revolution by inventing the next iPod or by combining digital radio with Web 2.0 and VoIP and Skype and RSS and WiFi mesh networks, then forget about it. When digital broadcast nirvana finally arrives, the only people who'll be legally authorized to make money off of music and movies are the middlemen at the RIAA and the MPAA.