MPAA pushes pols to rally ’round flag

Org plans ahead should broadcast flag be overruled

WASHINGTON — The Motion Picture Assn. of America has already begun seeking help from Congress in case a forthcoming appeals court decision on the antipiracy technology known as “broadcast flag” goes against the entertainment industry.

In the event of such a decision, the org would essentially be asking lawmakers for legislation overruling or negating it.

In 2003, the Federal Communications Commission initiated rules that would require digital TVs, certain personal computers and VCRs manufactured after July 1 to contain broadcast flags. Digital broadcasters mark — or flag — a transmission by embedding a protective code that restricts the receiving device’s ability to copy the broadcast and upload it to the Internet. The MPAA supports the FCC rules.

Tech trial

But tech groups and some public interest orgs opposed to the rules filed a request with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to void them, claiming they would put government in control of technological engineering.

Last month, attorneys for the groups and the FCC presented oral arguments in the case to the court, which could issue a decision before summer.

Not waiting for that decision, MPAA topper Dan Glickman and other org officials have started discussions with members of Congress about possible help.

“We’re just trying to think of ways to deal with the possible outcomes,” said MPAA spokesman John Feehery.”These are all just preliminary discussions,” he added.

“We recognize that Hollywood wants to implement broadcast (flags), whether they have direct control over it or major influence on it through the FCC,” said Art Brodsky, spokesman for Public Knowledge, one of the groups opposed to the rules. “But some members of our groups are probably also now planning to make similar visits (to Congress). We won’t be totally defenseless.”

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