FCC enacts new anti-piracy 'flag'

The FCC is going to force manufacturers of hardware such as computers and consumer electronics to equip their products with technology that would recognize a 'flag' embedded in broadcasts to prevent online distribution of entertainment products.

While this measure might possibly be effective for a given amount of time in the future, I just don't see this type of legislation being able to keep up with the dynamic aspect of the constantely changing technology it seeks to fight. Whatever your views on the moral arguments for the protection of intellectual property, with the price of information trending asymptotically towards zero into the future, enforcement of intellectual property rights will require an ever-enlarging pantopticon state.

Share this

I'd expect this scheme to be

I'd expect this scheme to be busted soon after it hits the streets, if not before.

This will just disadvantage

This will just disadvantage electronics manufacturers who are subject to U.S. law, while those not subject to U.S. law will continue to make products that ignore the flag, and anyone who wants it bad enough will still be able to get whatever kind of hardware they want. Also, someone will come up with a way to crack this "security" almost as soon as it is implemented. Bottom line with digital media: if it can be viewed, it can be copied. They can make it difficult and inconvenient to make digital copies, but they can't really make it impossible. And they'll never be able to stop analog copying.

This isn't by any means a

This isn't by any means a new thing. It's been done before--not by government mandate, but by those helpful Junior G-Men at Intel and Microsoft. See:

Claire Wolfe. Little brother is watching you: The Menace of Corporate America


In related news, the Pentagon is planning to require "smart tags" in all its purchases, to aid in inventory tracking. That should be a powerful force to promote their universal adoption, at a time when the private sector was starting to think twice about them in response to consumer pressure.

What next? A government announcement that it will purchase ONLY genetically modified foods?