Jueves 8 de Agosto de 2002, Ip nš 21

Lawmakers seek rules to stop redistribution of digital TV
Por Amy Harmon

Leading members of Congress are urging the Federal Communications Commission to intervene in a dispute between the entertainment and technology industries over how to prevent television viewers from redistributing digital broadcasts over the Internet.

In a letter Friday to Michael K. Powell, the chairman of the F.C.C., Representative Billy Tauzin, a Lousiana Republican who is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Representative John D. Dingell, a Michigan Democrat, wrote that the agency should move quickly to require computer and consumer electronics manufacturers to include anti-piracy technology that would prevent a program from being redistributed.

''While we had hoped that the industry players would achieve a meeting of the minds on these critical issues voluntarily, unfortunately no comprehensive agreement has been obtained to date,'' the letter read. In a separate letter, Senator Ernest F. Hollings, the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, also encouraged the F.C.C. to act.

''Absent robust protection, copyright owners may increasingly restrict their best television programming to cable and satellite networks,'' Senator Hollings, Democrat of South Carolina, wrote. Earlier this year, he introduced legislation that would have required electronics manufacturers to build copy-protection technologies into their machines, but it has not been acted upon. The Hollywood studios have maintained that they will not send digital copies of movies and other programming over the airwaves unless safeguards are in place to prevent perfect copies from being redistributed online. That, in turn, is seen as holding back the market for digital televisions and the on-demand services that might come with them.

But several consumer groups have argued that any regulatory body acting on the copy-protection issue should first examine its impact on consumers. Under the system proposed by the studios, it is not clear, for instance, if someone would be able to record a show in the living room and watch it over a wireless home network in the bedroom, or retrieve it over the Internet to watch at a second home or a friend's house.

Some technology companies have argued that the entertainment companies should protect their broadcasts before they go over the air, by encrypting them at the source.

And several technology executives have questioned the necessity of the expense involved in carrying out the copy-protection effort, given the likelihood that it would be cracked.

''We would support implementation provided it was focused on functional requirements and the process for choosing technologies was fair, open and transparent,'' said Andrew Moss, the Microsoft director of technical policy for the new media platforms division.

  23/07/2002. The New York Times.