Overheard: Word of the Day

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» VIEW ALL POSTS Jul 3 2008   2:05PM GMT

Overheard: Return of the broadcast flag



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
Tags:
digital TV
DRM
sandoval.jpg Microsoft has acknowledged that Windows Media Centers will block users from recording TV shows at the request of a broadcaster.

Greg Sandoval, Microsoft confirms Windows adheres to broadcast flag

The software company was responding to questions about why some users of Windows Vista Media Center were prevented from recording NBC Universal TV shows, American Gladiator and Medium on Monday night.

The “rules,” in which the spokeswoman is apparently referring to are those proposed by the FCC, which would require software and hardware makers honor “broadcast flags.” The flags are code that broadcasters can insert into the data stream of TV shows that typically require restrictions on the recording of the shows. What she didn’t say is that the “rules” aren’t rules at all.

The courts struck down the FCC’s proposal in 2005, saying the regulator lacked the authority to tell electronics makers how to interpret the signals they receive. Since then, Microsoft and other manufacturers have retained the option of whether to honor the flags.

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