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In case you haven’t noticed, PK posted an action alert on the broadcast flag. You might be asking yourself, “Self, what new legislation has been introduced on the broadcast flag to warrant me calling my legislator to tell him or her about the broadcast flag?”
Good question! You’re right, there hasn’t been a bill introduced with the broadcast flag on it. Yet. And that’s what it’s really about. We work in Washington, DC. Part of our job is keeping our ear to the ground and looking for the writing on the wall.
Well, we heard what was going on a few months ago in the Appropriations Committee, alerted you, and you called in droves. And guess what? The broadcast flag didn’t make it onto a spending bill. Nice job!
The reasons for some of the pre-emptive action alerts are manyfold. Here are just a few reasons:
To educate legislators on the specific issue.
To let them know that there may be other angles to this issue, and that the issue is potentially controversial.
To make them aware that a part of their constituency cares enough to write them a letter.
As for the current broadcast flag status, the current potential vehicle is the DTV transition bill. In the Senate, we’ve heard that there will be two bills: A spectrum / budget oriented one (less controversial) and a policy oriented one (more controversial). The policy DTV bill will probably contain issues like DTV converter box subsidy language, broadcast flag language, HD-radio protection, etc.
Apparently MPAA and RIAA have teamed up. They are rumored to be pushing their “flags” together, and wanting broad FCC authority for both. By broad, we mean something broader than “The FCC has the authority to reinstate the broadcast flag.”
So, that’s the low-down and why we ask you to contact your legislators.