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Broadcast Flag hearings turn on iPod use

Marc Perton

Will the fate of the Broadcast Flag turn on how members of congress use digital audio players? If recent Senate hearings are any indication, it just might, and that may not be such a bad thing. At hearings earlier this week on the Broadcast Flag and the RIAA's Audio Flag initiative, Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) commented that his daughter had just bought him an iPod, and asked the RIAA's Mitch Bainwol whether the Audio Flag would stop him from recording audio from the radio onto it. Bainwol, in turn, warned that, without an Audio Flag to block recordings, HD Radio would turn into a major source of piracy. Stevens, a Broadcast Flag supporter, asked whether the RIAA was trying to restrict what he listens to or records "on my own iPod", adding, "we have a disagreement here, I think." We'll take this as meaning there's hope that the Broadcast Flag and Audio Flag can still be derailed. Let's just hope nobody tells Stevens that there's no radio built into his iPod and that its recording functions are fairly rudimentary.

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