May 23, 2005 | By Wendy Seltzer

EFF Members Build Liberated TVs

Lots of people were watching television at EFF's offices Saturday -- not on television sets, but on high-definition personal video recorders (PVRs) they built themselves. EFF hosted the DTV build-in to celebrate our courtroom victory over the FCC's Broadcast Flag.

As the Chicago Tribune put it:
"Imagine a government bureaucrat sitting on top of your television set to decide if you can record a television show to watch later." That's what the Broadcast Flag would have done. The Broadcast Flag rule gave the FCC power to veto new TV technologies, whether created by consumer electronics manufacturers or Saturday hobbyists. By beating the flag, we gave manufacturers and hobbyists the right to build devices they and their customers want, to watch and record TV as they choose.

Hollywood is now going back to Washington, asking Congress to give FCC the power to impose the Broadcast Flag. The Tribune reminds us these same industries protested the sale of VCRs, too -- nearly killing what's now a cash cow.

Now it is digital television that offers a seemingly endless range of entertainment choices and services. But, like all new technologies, its potential can be hampered by overzealous politicians and regulators whose reflexes lag far behind the rapidly changing marketplace and public tastes.

Movie viewers, producers, and distributors have benefited mightily from technology that offers consumers more choices. Congress should think long and hard before telling people they will not be able to use the newest technology at their convenience.

If you agree, tell Congress not to break your television. Ask your representative to reject the Broadcast Flag and any other government technology mandate that will interfere with technological innovation.

Deeplinks Topics

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

Censorship powers, data retention, and vague hacking crimes: Pakistan's terrible cybercrime bill has it all:

Nov 25 @ 5:11pm

While Bangladesh blocks social messaging apps, locals are turning to Tor and Twitter:

Nov 25 @ 3:50pm

You've heard recent news about Securus, the prison phone service. It's also the proud owner of a very stupid patent.

Nov 25 @ 3:09pm
JavaScript license information