Letter from Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), Rep. Richard Burr (R-NC), and Rep. Paul Gillmor (R-OH) to Michael Powell, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Re: FCC's broadcast flag rule making proceeding.
Date: October 23, 2003.

October 23, 2003

The Honorable Michael K. Powell
Federal Communications Commission
Washington DC 20554

Dear Mr. Chairman:

As you work to develop a rule in the broadcast flag proceeding, we write to urge you to keep two fundamental principles in mind. By incorporating them into your final rule, you can advance the interests of consumers, encourage innovation, and advance our shared interest in promoting the digital television transition.

First, we believe the Commission should establish objective technical criteria by which a technology may be added to Table A as a means of blocking retransmission of HDTV broadcast programs marked with the flag, as well as clear and transparent guidelines by which submissions will be judged by the Commission. By writing clear rules of the road and offering multiple means by which multiple technologies can make their way on to Table A, you can ensure that neither content owners nor device manufacturers will have a veto or other means to limit competition.

Second, we believe the Commission should seek to ensure that the report and order, in and of itself, does not create a situation in which consumers find themselves with legacy devices that must be replaced in order to receive or view content marked with the broadcast flag. We recognize that there are inherent incompatibilities among devices already in the video (and audio) market today. It is essential that legacy devices not be stranded because of the rulemaking.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.


     Richard Burr
     Rick Boucher
     Paul Gillmor


cc: Commissioner Kathleen Q. Abernathy
     Commissioner Michael J. Copps
     Commissioner Kevin J. Martin
     Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein