Lots Going On…September 23, 2005 Broadcast Flag , Network Neutrality , Policy Blog , Trademark , WIPO Broadcasters Treaty
So there is quite a bit going on on the Hill that PK has its hands in, let’s take a look at some of the issues:
Broadcast Flag and Digital Audio Flag: All the Hill is abuzz on rumors about the broadcast flag—again. The thing just won’t die. This time, it sounds like the MPAA is pairing up with the RIAA to push a super-flag bill in the Senate Commerce Committee. The MPAA wants Congress to authorize the FCC to implement a broadcast flag scheme, but they leave it open as to exactly what “regulation” gets implemented. What would happen if it was the broadcast flag, but without the 13 incompatible “approved technologies,” or if MPAA was part of the approval process? The RIAA wants to add a provision that the FCC itself ended-up slapped down to allow for copy-protected digital radio—a broadcast audio flag—if you will. The vehicle for all of this is rumored to be a separate DTV bill. More on that later…
Senate Grokster Hearing: The Senate Judiciary will finally be getting back to that hearing on Grokster they originally scheduled before the US Supreme Court nominations. It hasn’t been posted to their website yet, but it’s supposed to take place next Wednesday, Sept. 28. There will likely be a webcast, so keep your eyes on the Senate Judiciary website if you want to look in on it. No official witness list, yet.
Trademark Dilution: The issue of dilution of a trademark is an interesting one, that many don’t know about. If you start with the basics of trademark—a system rooted in consumer protection as opposed to copyright or patent which stems from promoting innovation by establishing limited monopolies for creators and inventors—then you should really question the concept of dilution. Trademark is supposed to be used to prevent consumer confusion. The theory of dilution changes traditional trademark law by asking if the use of a mark, even in non-competitive markets, causes the mark to lose its association with a singular source or company, regardless of consumer confusion. Learn more about HR 683: The Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2005. Here’s what the US Supreme Court had to say on the issue.
WIPO Broadcast Treaty: Although PK hasn’t had much action in the international sphere, we want to point your attention to EFF’s action on the WIPO’s Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations. You can find out more about it here