[linux-elitists] 5:00 pm EST Friday 6 December 2002 is the Deadline for Comments to the FCC Regarding the Digital Flag Mandate

Jay Sulzberger jays@panix.com
Wed Dec 4 15:20:06 PST 2002


Coders!  Designers!  Artists!  Businessfolk!

Computer Owners!

User-Builders of the Net!

Citizens!

And All the Tribes!

Right now, the Federal Communications Commission of the United States of
America is preparing to hand down a regulation, the so-called "Broadcast
Flag Mandate", which would make it a felony to own, sell, or use important
free software tools of communication, such as GNU Radio, which is Project
GNU's software defined radio program.  The issue here has nothing to do
with copyright infringement, despite the claims of the RIAA, the MPAA, and
the AAP.  The Broadcast Flag Mandate would make purely private use of GNU
Radio a felony.  GNU Radio is a program which allows any computer equipped
with an antenna and an analog-to-digital card to function as a radio and TV
receiver.  Both analog and digital broadcasts can be received and played
once the antenna, the card, and the program are installed.  GNU Radio is
not yet complete; as of today GNU Radio cannot receive and play digital TV
broadcasts, but within the year, G* willing, it will be completed.


Why is it important to stop the Broadcast Flag Mandate?

It is important to stop the Broadcast Flag Mandate because, if promulgated,
it would set a precedent that the government of the United States may
directly dictate exactly what you do with your computer, even in the
privacy of your own house.  It would set the precedent that the government
of the United States may directly outlaw the production and sale and use of
untrammeled computers like the one billion "personal computers" that have
been freely produced and sold up until today.  It would set the precedent
that the government of the United States may directly enforce that all
computers sold must contain both spy machinery and remote control
machinery, machinery which would be controlled by Infotainment Central and
The Secret Police.  Under the Broadcast Flag Mandate, it would be a felony
to disable the spy and remote control machinery.


What is to be done this week?

The FCC will accept comments upon the Broadcast Flag Mandate until 5:00 pm
EST Friday 6 December 2002.  To send comments go to

http://www.nyfairuse.org/action/fcc.flag/

and/or follow the official instructions below.



Readings:


The EFF has done the major work in exposing the plot to impose the
Broadcast Flag Mandate:

http://bpdg.blogs.eff.org
http://www.eff.org/IP/Video/HDTV/bpdg-report

In Section 4.12 of the Final Report of the Broadcast Protection Discussion
Group, the Englobulators propose that the Broadcast Flag Mandate should
create two classes of Americans:

1. a small class of licensed employees of certain cartels and monopolies,
who would be allowed to use general purpose computers

2. the rest of us, who would not be allowed to own and privately use
general purpose computers.

It is important to understand Section 4.12 because the Englobulators have
claimed and will continue to claim that the Broadcast Flag Mandate would not
affect private use of computers.  But the Englobulators know this claim is
false.  They know that the Broadcast Flag Mandate would so cripple computers
that they demand a special exemption for themselves so that they may still
use untrammeled computers.


Brett Wynkoop alerts the Ancient Order of Hams:

http://www.qrz.com/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST&f=3&t=24431

The discussion is worth looking at, for several excellent posts from people
who understand that the Broadcast Flag Mandate would mean the end of
amateur work in digital radio and TV.  There are also posts from people who
simply cannot believe that the Broadcast Flag Mandate has actually been
proposed.


Declan McCullough asks "Why have you not written to the FCC?" and Slashdot
responds:

http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1107-975683.html
http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/02/12/03/1734244.shtml?tid=103


The Digital Speech Project presents some of the effects and also some
of the history of the proposed Broadcast Flag Mandate:

http://digitalspeech.org/bpdg.shtml


GNU Radio, including Eric Blossom's clear statement of what the Broadcast
Flag Mandate would mean for GNU Radio:

http://www.gnu.org/software/gnuradio/gnuradio.html
http://interviews.slashdot.org/interviews/02/09/27/1420201.shtml?tid=126
http://www.h2k2.net/display_grid.khtml?event=25


Jay Sulzberger <secretary@lxny.org>
Corresponding Secretary LXNY
LXNY is New York's Free Computing Organization.
http://www.lxny.org


<blockquote
  from="official instructions of the FCC"
  edits="added in the NPRM Docket number, explained one oddity of format">

From: ecfs@fccsun24w.fcc.gov (Generic ecfs Account(Bill Cline))

****************************************************************************
********  ECFS INSTRUCTIONS FILE - SAMPLE - README                **********
********                                                          **********
********        EXPLANATION ONLY - DO NOT SEND IN THIS FILE       **********
********                                                          **********
********  REPEAT: DO NOT RE-SEND THIS FILE - IT IS ONLY A SAMPLE  **********
********                                                          **********
****************************************************************************
**
** Email submission rules:
**
** Email submissions should be sent to ecfs@fcc.gov.
** Email submissions will allow printable ASCII text only.
** Email submissions must be contained in the body of the e-mail,
**    rather than attachments.
** Email submissions must contain only one document per submission,
**    multiple documents will be ignored.
** Email submissions must adhere to the format of the
**   Electronic Transmittal Form for Email filings.
**
** Email Filings must be accompanied by information
** containing the ECFS Document Index Terms.  For automated processing
** via email, this must be computer readable.  For this, you must use
** a free-format, computer-readable form, as described below,
** using SGML tags.
**
** The requested info is to be placed after the text in angle brackets.
**
** The tagged info should be contained on a single line.
** Change the text after the brackets.

<Apparently you do not need end tags, see examples below./>

**
** <PROCEEDING>, <NAME>, <ADDRESS1>, <CITY>, <STATE>, <ZIP>,
** <DOCUMENT-TYPE>, and <TEXT> are required.
**
** List of DOCUMENT TYPES:
**   CO  COMMENT
**   ER  ERRATUM
**   MN  MOTION
**   PR  PETITION FOR RECONSIDERATION
**   RC  REPLY TO COMMENTS
**   RL  REPLY
**   RQ  REQUEST
**
** For assistance in using ECFS, please contact: (202) 418-0193 or
** submit an email to: ECFSHELP@fcc.gov.
**
** For suggestions and comments regarding the system design and
** operation, please contact Bill Cline at bcline@fcc.gov or
** (202)418-0267, TTY (202) 418-2555.
**
**   NOTE TO OUR INTERNATIONAL USERS SUBMITTING ELECTRONIC COMMENTS:
**   To enable you to file electronically, please complete the required
**   "City" and "Zip Code" fileds.  Type in "DC" as the state and "00000"
**   as the zip.

<PROCEEDING>         PUT-DOCKET-NUMBER or RULEMAKING-NUMBER HERE.
                     <which number is 02-230/>
<DATE>               FILED-DATE-IN-MM/DD/YY-FORMAT
<NAME>               APPLICANT-OR-PETITIONER-NAME
<ADDRESS1>           ADDRESS
<ADDRESS2>           ADDRESS
<CITY>               CITY
<STATE>              TWO-LETTER-STATE-CODE
<ZIP>                ZIPCODE
<LAW-FIRM>           LAW-FIRM
<ATTORNEY>           LAWYER-NAME
<FILE-NUMBER>        FILE-NUMBER
<DOCUMENT-TYPE>      TWO-LETTER-DOCUMENT-TYPE-CODE (See list of DOCUMENT TYPES)
                     <CO for comment/>
<PHONE-NUMBER>       SENDER-PHONE-NUMBER
<DESCRIPTION>        EMAIL-COMMENT
<CONTACT-EMAIL>      EMAIL-ADDRESS-RESPONSE-DESTINATION
<TEXT>               ACTUAL TEXT OF MESSAGE...
Dear FCC...

** Example 1 (law firm):

<PROCEEDING>         97-21
<DATE>               11/22/97
<NAME>               Jane M. Doe
<ADDRESS1>           902 Snyder Lane
<ADDRESS2>           Apt. 34
<CITY>               Wichita
<STATE>              KS
<ZIP>                20530
<LAW-FIRM>           Smith & Jones
<ATTORNEY>           Robert Smith
<FILE-NUMBER>	     2314
<DOCUMENT-TYPE>      CO
<PHONE-NUMBER>       410-555-4657
<DESCRIPTION>        Email Comment
<CONTACT-EMAIL>      jdoe@public.com
<TEXT>

Dear FCC,

Our client, XYZ Company, supports the local-access station WXXX. Please review the enclosed materials for further explanation. Thanks.

Jane M. Doe
Attorney-At-Law
Smith & Jones

** Example 2 (individual):

<PROCEEDING>	     00-221
<DATE>		     6/12/01
<NAME>		     John P. Doe
<ADDRESS1>	     123 Kennedy Drive
<ADDRESS2>
<CITY>		     Newark
<STATE>		     NJ
<ZIP>		     07103
<LAW-FIRM>
<ATTORNEY>
<FILE-NUMBER>
<DOCUMENT-TYPE>	     RC
<PHONE-NUMBER>	     973-555-7893
<DESCRIPTION>	     Email Comment
<CONTACT-EMAIL>	     jdoe@commercial.com
<TEXT> Dear FCC,
I don't want to pay more for my phone. Please remove the surcharge and let competition rule. Thank you.
Joe

</blockquote>



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