Broadcast Flag Lesser Evil?

May 13, 2005

Engadget thinks maybe we were all a bit too hasty in celebrating the killing of the Broadcast Flag in US Appeals Court.

Their concern? Once Congress gets into this, we might end up with a technical solution to “protecting” digital content that would actually work…

However, the fact remains: the Broadcast Flag was a highly sidestep-able solution to the “problem” of content-protection. The technical implementation had more loopholes than a bowl of Fruitloops. Device manufacturers had little incentive to bulletproof their devices and, unlike OpenCable devices, testing wasn’t rigorous enough to ensure that content stayed protected. Furthermore, broadcasts remained in-the-clear and there was nothing to disrupt existing receivers/recorders. In short, the Broadcast Flag would have been as effective as DVD protection.

Okay… So the old method was brain dead (it just encouraged you to violate the DMCA like it was a five hundred dollar a night call girl handing out free gift certificates).

I’m just not sure I buy the idea that Congress is going to cause something more effective to replace it. On the whole, betting on Congress producing effective solutions to anything is a sucker bet in any year with a digit in it…