A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

DC Circuit hears broadcast flag challenge

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit [official site] heard oral argument Tuesday morning concerning a challenge to the FCC-imposed broadcast flag for digital television. Two of the three panel judges noted that the FCC never received permission from Congress to enact the broadcast flag rule. "You're out there in the whole world, regulating. Are washing machines next?" asked Judge Harry Edwards [official biography]. Judge David Sentelle [official biography] added, "You can't regulate washing machines. You can't rule the world." In November 2003, the FCC, under pressure from the movie and television industries, created a rule [text, PDF] which would require all machines that can recieve a TV signal to recognize a copy-protection signal in digital broadcasts called a "broadcast flag." The American Library Association, in conjunction with groups like Public Knowledge and EFF [official sites], have challenged the authority of the FCC to impose such restrictions on electronics manufacturers. While apparently sympathetic to the plaintiff's claims, Judge Sentelle commented that the ALA may lack standing in the current case. "You have to have a harm that distinguishes you from the public at large," Sentelle said during oral arguments. "If there is not a particularized harm, you do not have standing...There may be someone from the industry who can come forward." The case is American Library Ass'n v. FCC, 04-1037. CNET News has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.