From C|Net News:
Court yanks down FCC's broadcast flag
Published: May 6, 2005, 9:52 AM PDT
By Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
In a stunning victory for hardware makers and television buffs, a federal appeals court has tossed out government rules that would have outlawed many digital TV receivers and tuner cards starting July 1.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled Friday that the Federal Communications Commission did not have the authority to prohibit the manufacture of computer and video hardware that doesn't have copy protection technology known as the "broadcast flag." The regulations, which the FCC created in November 2003, had been intended to limit unauthorized Internet redistribution of over-the-air TV broadcasts.
Let me be the first to say, take that you bastards! Time and again, I've seen how consumer rights are being stamped on by the RIAA, MPAA, and the FCC and by such bullshit laws like the DMCA. Finally we have something that actually helps the consumers. A major victory, for sure.
The court was absolutely correct in this ruling. The FCC has no constitutional authority. They overstepped their bounds, and had no right imposing their authority over consumer choice and the private industry.
However, I don't know if this is the end of the broadcast flags, since the courts have basically said that the FCC needs to go to Congress. So I'm pretty sure the MPAA is lobbying pretty hard right now and calling in some favours. But at the very least, you have people in the Congress who are accountable and answerable to their constituencies, which wasn't the case with the FCC. I hope this pans out well in the end.
There were also some funny remarks from the judges about the case:
"You're out there in the whole world, regulating. Are washing machines next?" asked Judge Harry Edwards. Quipped Judge David Sentelle: "You can't regulate washing machines. You can't rule the world."
Heh. Right on the mark. The story is also on Slashdot.