Sunday, October 09, 2005

stop the "break my VCR" flag!

Public Knowledge - Night of the Living Broadcast Flag!
What I added to their form letter:
"This is very important to me, as I spend the majority of my time helping out family at home. But to do so, and continue to attend college part time, it is essential that I'm able to record TV and radio if I'm going to be able to watch or listen at all, since I don't have the luxury of sitting down to watch programs live. I realize TV and radio aren't essentials for life, but they are an important way for me to stay informed and get entertained when I can't leave the house for a significant amount of time more than one night a week.

I am also majoring in Computer Information Systems in college, and I am very afraid of the chilling effect that these proposed onerous restrictions could have on computer programmers and hobbyists. We could be prevented from building or fixing our own computers, or even writing our own programs. I think we need to encourage more people to experiment with technology at home, if we ever want our country to catch up with the highly competitive job markets around the globe. Let's invent the next great thing right here in the US of A.

I'm also worried about the so-called "digital transition" from analog to digital TV. I think we should accelerate the transition, but the broadcast flag is the surest way to slow it down, and prevent public safety and other future bandwidth users from receiving their desired allotments on time. I don't think anyone will want to buy (or even take for free) a bunch of new digital equipment, which, thanks to a broadcast flag or similar restriction, will automatically delete shows before they've even been watched, prevent copying of shows for archival or sharing with other family members, or even prevent recording of certain shows entirely. That's just awful and greedy on the part of the entertainment industry. Everyone I've asked has said that they would not want a new VCR that didn't work at least as well as their old one."

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