A Pro-DRM FCC Commissioner

by on April 18, 2006 · 38 comments

Last night a FCC commissioner came out in favor of…DRM? Yes, at a reception sponsored by the DC Bar Association in her honor, Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate, the newest addition to the FCC, spoke eloquently on a number of issues but perhaps most remarkable was her advocacy for strong copyright protections. Hailing from The Music City, Nashville, this former Tennessee Regulatory Commissioner proclaimed her love for country music and the artists that wish to use DRM to protect their content.

Now I have no beef with DRM and think content owners should be free to utilize any scheme they want if informed consumers are willing to spend money on it. But regardless of your views of DRM (and TLF bloggers differ I know), I don’t think any of us here want the FCC to get more involved in this matter. The broadcast flag was an FCC rule that allowed the recording of digital broadcasts only by approved hardware devices that could recognize whether or not a certain data stream can be recorded, or if there are any restrictions on recorded content. That rule was invalidated last year in a case before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which found that the FCC had exceeded its authority by creating this rule.

Commissioner Tate said that despite the FCC’s lack of legal authority, she can still use her bully pulpit to bring awareness to content protection issues. Fair enough–policymakers, even Supreme Court justices, use their position of prominence to discuss many issues. The convergence of communications and copyright is indeed a legitimate policy issue. Hopefully Commissioner Tate will use her pulpit to advocate for market-driven solutions, not greater FCC authority. She would be effective at this too. She comes across as warm and engaging and persuasive.

Copyright protection shouldn’t be hindered by government through some sort of affirmative access requirement (see France). However, copyright protection shouldn’t be mandated by government either–hardware companies and content interests must learn to play together with the marketplace, not the Grand Ole FCC, as their venue.

  • http://www.blindmindseye.com MikeT

    It’s so much easier for them to just go to the government to settle things because it’s far more “coin-operated” than the marketplace. When people have the choice to listen to unprotected and protected content, people want the freedom of the former and that’s why DRM is in such a bad position.

  • http://www.blindmindseye.com MikeT

    It’s so much easier for them to just go to the government to settle things because it’s far more “coin-operated” than the marketplace. When people have the choice to listen to unprotected and protected content, people want the freedom of the former and that’s why DRM is in such a bad position.

  • http://ind-music.com King P

    I sent Ms. Tate an email at the FCC site and explained this same situation to her. I too live in Nashville, and ironically have seen the OTHER side of the coin. Our online music service has over 100 independent artists from all over the world. There are a lot of artists from Nashville on our site, and NONE of them have asked to use DRM on their music.

    Interesting that indie artists in Nashville don’t want DRM, but the big wig Country Music stars do…but I guess that makes sense. They are trying to protect their millions, as opposed to spreading their art.

  • binary

    great, the RIAA have finally gotten their first public office.

  • http://ind-music.com King P

    I sent Ms. Tate an email at the FCC site and explained this same situation to her. I too live in Nashville, and ironically have seen the OTHER side of the coin. Our online music service has over 100 independent artists from all over the world. There are a lot of artists from Nashville on our site, and NONE of them have asked to use DRM on their music.

    Interesting that indie artists in Nashville don’t want DRM, but the big wig Country Music stars do…but I guess that makes sense. They are trying to protect their millions, as opposed to spreading their art.

  • http://www.linuxgod.net/ OryHara

    Yes. And look who PUT this lapdog in office. Our favorite dictator. You remember, the one who wants to ban all of your freedoms in the name of ‘terrorism’, and ‘saving the children’. This is why I voted for Ralph Nader.

    http://www.firethefcc.com/fcc-deborah-tate171105.shtml

  • http://weblogs.macromedia.com/jd John Dowdell

    Hi, do you have a link to a text transcript of what she actually said, or additional corroborating reports from others? I didn’t see any obvious source info on quick web searches. Thanks.

    jd

  • Ned Ulbricht

    What makes Commissioner Tate qualified for her office? She has a B.A. in PolySci and a J.D. Couldn’t this administration find someone who at least has a B.A. in Math or something and belongs to the ARRL?

  • binary

    great, the RIAA have finally gotten their first public office.

  • iankf

    If you don’t like her, that’s fine. No problem. Let’s just spread the blame around appropriately. From the link above, “Deborah Taylor Tate was nominated by President George W. Bush on November 9, 2005, for the remainder of the term expiring June 30, 2007. She was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on December 21, 2005, and sworn in as FCC Commissioner on January 3, 2006.”
    Nominated and unanimously confirmed…apparently, lapdogs abound.

  • http://www.linuxgod.net/ OryHara

    Yes. And look who PUT this lapdog in office. Our favorite dictator. You remember, the one who wants to ban all of your freedoms in the name of ‘terrorism’, and ‘saving the children’. This is why I voted for Ralph Nader.

    http://www.firethefcc.com/fcc-deborah-tate17110

  • http://weblogs.macromedia.com/jd John Dowdell

    Hi, do you have a link to a text transcript of what she actually said, or additional corroborating reports from others? I didn’t see any obvious source info on quick web searches. Thanks.

    jd

  • Ned Ulbricht

    What makes Commissioner Tate qualified for her office? She has a B.A. in PolySci and a J.D. Couldn’t this administration find someone who at least has a B.A. in Math or something and belongs to the ARRL?

  • Ned Ulbricht

    Oh, Ms. Tate may be likeable… even personable, vivacious, charming… with fantastic hair!

    But—and I realize that I’m in a libertarian crowd here—nevertheless, one of the whole points motivating progressive reform in the early 20th century was that elected officials, responsible for the general welfare in an increasingly industrialized society, could not be expected to have the expert background necessary to competently regulate in detail. The concept quits working when the elected professional politicians fill these appointed commissions with more unqualified politicians.

  • iankf

    If you don’t like her, that’s fine. No problem. Let’s just spread the blame around appropriately. From the link above, “Deborah Taylor Tate was nominated by President George W. Bush on November 9, 2005, for the remainder of the term expiring June 30, 2007. She was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on December 21, 2005, and sworn in as FCC Commissioner on January 3, 2006.”
    Nominated and unanimously confirmed…apparently, lapdogs abound.

  • Ned Ulbricht

    Oh, Ms. Tate may be likeable… even personable, vivacious, charming… with fantastic hair!

    But—and I realize that I’m in a libertarian crowd here—nevertheless, one of the whole points motivating progressive reform in the early 20th century was that elected officials, responsible for the general welfare in an increasingly industrialized society, could not be expected to have the expert background necessary to competently regulate in detail. The concept quits working when the elected professional politicians fill these appointed commissions with more unqualified politicians.

  • http://www.fairuseday.com Omnifrog

    I am really glad to see a fellow Tennessean in this position who is looking to be “a voice for families and consumers. Deborah Taylor Tate says in her Opening Statement before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, United States Senate Confirmation Hearing (http://www.fcc.gov/commissioners/tate/dtt121305.pdf)

    “As a 6th generation Tennessean, with deep roots in the rural part of our country, I am especially interested in issues that affect rural Americans, and if confirmed, I will work to be a voice for families and consumers on the Commission.”

    Well here is your chance Tate! I am a Tennessean with a family in a rural community and I am also the founder of International Fair Use Day (www.fairuseday.com). I look forward to working with you to help those familys whose rights are being managed :)

    Remember, a managed right is a right lost.

  • http://www.fairuseday.com Omnifrog

    I am really glad to see a fellow Tennessean in this position who is looking to be “a voice for families and consumers. Deborah Taylor Tate says in her Opening Statement before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, United States Senate Confirmation Hearing (http://www.fcc.gov/commissioners/tate/dtt121305…>

    “As a 6th generation Tennessean, with deep roots in the rural part of our country, I am especially interested in issues that affect rural Americans, and if confirmed, I will work to be a voice for families and consumers on the Commission.”

    Well here is your chance Tate! I am a Tennessean with a family in a rural community and I am also the founder of International Fair Use Day (http://www.fairuseday.com). I look forward to working with you to help those familys whose rights are being managed :)

    Remember, a managed right is a right lost.

  • http://weblogs.macromedia.com/jd John Dowdell

    Hi, do you have a link to a text transcript of what she actually said, or additional corroborating reports from others? I didn’t see any obvious source info on quick web searches. Thanks.

    jd

  • http://weblogs.macromedia.com/jd John Dowdell

    Hi, do you have a link to a text transcript of what she actually said, or additional corroborating reports from others? I didn’t see any obvious source info on quick web searches. Thanks.

    jd

  • Christopher

    I don’t understand how ANYONE in their right mind can support DRM. The ONLY thing that it does, is cause headaches and strife for the consumers who are LEGALLY buying movies and music, when they want to play the purchases on stuff that the MPAA and RIAA do not approve of.

    There is NO need for protection in the marketplace. Why? Because 99.9% of those who are buying stuff illegally, DON’T HAVE THE MONEY TO BUY THE SAME ITEM LEGALLY.
    So the people who make Adobe Acrobat or ACDSee aren’t really losing a sale, because the people downloading stuff illegally wouldn’t buy it anyway because legally it is too expensive for their pocketbooks to stretch that far.

    Twisted logic, in the minds of some people, but it is logic that makes sense!

    Lower the prices, from the $50 or $60 dollars that new games cost now, the $20-30 dollars that new DVD’s cost, and the $20 that new CD’s cost, and you might make more sales and make more money, because people are willing to buy from you for the peace of mind that “Hey, I ain’t getting no viruses with the real thing! That’s worth paying 50% of what they used to charge for!”

  • Kami Huyse

    Could someone define DRM? For those of us not in the know on this?

  • Ned Ulbricht

    Could someone define DRM?

    Kami,

    DRM is an acronym for “Digital Rights Managment.”

    It is the irrational belief that a “content producer” can sell someone a secret number without letting the “consumer” know what that number is.

  • Christopher

    I don’t understand how ANYONE in their right mind can support DRM. The ONLY thing that it does, is cause headaches and strife for the consumers who are LEGALLY buying movies and music, when they want to play the purchases on stuff that the MPAA and RIAA do not approve of.

    There is NO need for protection in the marketplace. Why? Because 99.9% of those who are buying stuff illegally, DON’T HAVE THE MONEY TO BUY THE SAME ITEM LEGALLY.
    So the people who make Adobe Acrobat or ACDSee aren’t really losing a sale, because the people downloading stuff illegally wouldn’t buy it anyway because legally it is too expensive for their pocketbooks to stretch that far.

    Twisted logic, in the minds of some people, but it is logic that makes sense!

    Lower the prices, from the $50 or $60 dollars that new games cost now, the $20-30 dollars that new DVD’s cost, and the $20 that new CD’s cost, and you might make more sales and make more money, because people are willing to buy from you for the peace of mind that “Hey, I ain’t getting no viruses with the real thing! That’s worth paying 50% of what they used to charge for!”

  • Kami Huyse

    Could someone define DRM? For those of us not in the know on this?

  • Ned Ulbricht

    Could someone define DRM?

    Kami,

    DRM is an acronym for “Digital Rights Managment.”

    It is the irrational belief that a “content producer” can sell someone a secret number without letting the “consumer” know what that number is.

  • steve

    let me sum up DRM in 1 word

    anything you want to do with you computer
    it simply wont let you

  • steve

    let me sum up DRM in 1 word

    anything you want to do with you computer
    it simply wont let you

  • Christopher

    Now, that \”anything you want to do with your computer, it simply won\’t let you\” isn\’t exactly right.

    There are certain things that it won\’t let you do, like make backup copies of your legally purchased games and music (fair use allowed), listen to music on non-approved devices (not allowed by law), and other things.

    Though, some of the restrictions that they are pushing for are REALLY over the top, like a HD-DVD player that won\’t allow a movie to be played, until they see if it is on a master \”blacklist\” somewhere for being copied by pirates.

  • Christopher

    Now, that “anything you want to do with your computer, it simply won’t let you” isn’t exactly right.

    There are certain things that it won’t let you do, like make backup copies of your legally purchased games and music (fair use allowed), listen to music on non-approved devices (not allowed by law), and other things.

    Though, some of the restrictions that they are pushing for are REALLY over the top, like a HD-DVD player that won’t allow a movie to be played, until they see if it is on a master “blacklist” somewhere for being copied by pirates.

  • http://freedomforip.org Brian Rowe

    Copyright protection shouldn’t be hindered by government through some sort of affirmative access requirement (see France). However, copyright protection shouldn’t be mandated by government eitherÃ?¢â?‰?hardware companies and content interests must learn to play together with the marketplace, not the Grand Ole FCC, as their venue.

    I am very confused by this statement, copyright is nothing more then a state granted Monopoly. Are you advocating for the abolition of copyright or just the removal of state intervention in the technology debate about protecting copyright with technology?

    Brian Rowe
    Freedom for IP

  • http://freedomforip.org Brian Rowe

    Copyright protection shouldn’t be hindered by government through some sort of affirmative access requirement (see France). However, copyright protection shouldn’t be mandated by government eitherÃ?¢â?‰?hardware companies and content interests must learn to play together with the marketplace, not the Grand Ole FCC, as their venue.

    I am very confused by this statement, copyright is nothing more then a state granted Monopoly. Are you advocating for the abolition of copyright or just the removal of state intervention in the technology debate about protecting copyright with technology?

    Brian Rowe

    Freedom for IP

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