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Consumer Groups Fight Broadcast Flag for Digital Radio

Consumer Groups Fight Broadcast Flag for Digital Radio

Public Knowledge and Consumers Union have sent FCC Chairman Michael Powell and his colleagues a letter opposing a broadcast flag rule making for digital radio. The consumer groups say the agency plans to issue a notice stating its intention to craft a rule making on copy-protection policies for digital radio.
The policy, if adopted, would be the radio equivalent of the TV broadcast flag, say the consumer groups.
In the letter, Public Knowledge and Consumers Union urge the FCC to drop the digital radio issue from the notice of proposed rulemaking and to consider it, if at all, as a Notice of Inquiry.
“There is no reason for the FCC to create a broadcast flag for radio. The record companies have done nothing to establish that digital radio is a potential threat to record sales or a potential source of content for Internet file-sharers,” said Mike Godwin, senior technology counsel for Public Knowledge.
The groups acknowledge that the Recording Industry Association of America seek broader restrictions on digital copying and content storage. The RIAA wants to prevent consumer recording of broadcasts.
“Unlike the Broadcast Flag proceeding, for example, we have here no specific technological proposal to consider. Nor is there any call from members of Congress that the commission act quickly.”
The consumer groups also point out that stations transitioning to digital radio will use the same spectrum that they now use for analog, so protecting digital radio content would not make more spectrum available.
“There is literally no evidence at all associating digital radio broadcasting with peer-to-peer file-sharing of music or other content,” state the consumer groups.