Tuesday, November 08, 2005

More Letters to the Hill

Hey, this is fun. The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Action Center makes it easy to send a letter to my elected representatives by email or fax, or even to print out a hard copy. Here's the letter I just submitted to Senators Boxer and Feinstein and Representative Eshoo:
Dear __________,

As a constituent and a proponent of innovation, I am writing to voice my opposition to legislation that revives the FCC's proposed "Broadcast Flag" regulation (47 CFR 73.9002(b)), which was unanimously struck down on May 6, 2005, by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Broadcast Flag cripples any device capable of receiving over-the-air digital broadcasts. It makes digital TV hardware more expensive and less capable, impeding rather than accelerating the digital TV transition. Worse, it gives Hollywood movie studios a permanent veto over how members of the American public use our televisions and forces American innovators to beg the FCC for permission before adding new features to TV.

Media companies are threatening an HDTV boycott unless a Broadcast Flag law is passed and implemented this year. This is an empty threat. Viacom made that same threat back in 2002, yet CBS (owned by Viacom) still transmits nearly all of its prime-time shows in HDTV, even without the Broadcast Flag. For that matter, even if broadcasters like CBS aren't willing to provide programming for digital television, there are plenty of innovative new content creators who will.

Don't give the FCC the power to issue government blueprints for future technological innovation. Please oppose any attempts that might give the FCC the power to disrupt technological innovation through the implementation of the Broadcast Flag.

Thank you for your attention.
Yeah, it's a form letter, but it's better than nothing. The point of this exercise is not to change the course of mighty nations-- I have no illusions about my utter lack of power in that arena. The point is for me to do something instead of just talking about it all the time.

Small moves, Ellie.

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