20 suicidal Congressional Reps demand a Broadcast Flag

In recent posts, I've written about congressjerks who are pushing to have the Broadcast Flag rammed through Congress without debate, as part of a reconciliations bill. This is a sneaky way of enacting a piece of legislation that will require every innovator to prove to the FCC that her invention won't upset Hollywood's applecart before it is brought to market.

Now EFF's Danny O'Brien has written an editorial about these 20 members of the House of Reps who signed the letter urging this. Suicidal congressjerks — they haven't figured out that publicly advocating breaking your constituents' televisions and PCs is a great way to be sure that no one ever votes for you again.

The driver of digital TV legislation in the House is Joe Barton, Chairman of the Commerce Committee. And if what we hear through beltway back channels is true, Barton wants a deal. He believes that if the MPAA wants the Broadcast Flag in his bill so badly, it should be willing to compromise.

But the MPAA is in no mood for discussion. It wants to ram this bill through as quickly as possible, and it's leaning on Upton to stay the course. The letter is a way of saying that Upton isn't alone.

Fortunately for us, the fact that 20 out of 57 committee members support the Flag sends a message the MPAA doesn't want anyone to hear: the Broadcast Flag is controversial. If it wasn't, no one would be writing open letters to anyone else. And that means this committee has a duty to engage in serious, careful, comprehensive discussion and debate before the Flag legislation goes anywhere.

The Hollywood lobbyists are tallying their support, but they don't have the majority of the committee convinced. Do your part: tell your representative that you and your fellow constituents won't stand for the Broadcast Flag, especially without a hearing showing evidence that anyone but the MPAA and RIAA supports it.