Control the Horizontal
It appears the recent ruling by a Federal Appeals Court shooting down the broadcast flag hasn't completely sent the idea down for the count. Apparently, the MPAA is lobbying to find congressional backing for an even more crippling version of the bill. Ernest Miller has a portion of the draft posted at Corante. In this variation, the language seeks to empower the FCC to completely regulate recording devices that take advantage of the analog hole available for recording TV with a VCR in less than the original quality in addition to making a clear distinction about what people can and can't do with digital recordings.
If there's actually a member of congress foolish enough to risk getting voted out of office, I'm envisioning a series of public service commercials aimed at voters:
Congress Wants to Break Your Television
For years, you've had the liberty to record your favorite programs and watch them when and where you want to. Now congress wants to take away that right. No more recording the football game to watch when you get home from work. You'll never see another episode of Survivor because the kids have soccer practice. It's the end of television as you know it. Call your congress person today and say NO to the Anti-television Act of 2005!
Sensationalist, yes. I'm not sure anyone in congress would touch a proposal like this. The best way to violate American trust and lose votes is to hobble our television experience. From the most run down neighborhoods in the country, where the front door may be falling off but there's still a satellite dish strapped to the side of the house, to the gated communities where every room sports an HDTV, television is the national pastime in America. Without it, we'd all lose weight, interact with our neighbors and stop buying overpriced gadgets late at night.
Does our country have more important problems? Of course. But we won't bother to vote a politician out of office for lying to us. We expect that. If the recent interview with Cory Doctorow of the EFF over at Make holds any insight about what may be in store for worldwide recording rights, the recent victory here in the U.S. may be a boon for European Union nations as well. There's some thought that with the restrictions of the broadcast flag shot down in the United States, other countries are less likely to implement something similar.