The Silver Lining of the Janet Jackson Incident: A Demonstration of Democracy-Enhancing Technology, And The Need to Fight the “Broadcast Flag” Rule
I’m no fan of increased regulation of speech, but the controversy had at least a small silver lining: It served as a demonstration of the power of innovation to promote the democratic process. In this case, the innovators were the entrepreneurial companies that harnessed the open nature of the Internet to enable users to easily capture, transfer, upload, post, and search for the TV clip.
Even those who missed the game could, because of these companies, easily watch and talk about the incident that was about to be a catalyst for major policy changes at the FCC. Their technologies thus enlarged the marketplace of ideas and influenced public debate.
Shouldn’t government be doing all it can to support technologies and companies that enhance
democracy like this? I believe the answer is yes.
But to the contrary, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is currently considering
new technology regulations that would halt innovation in technologies that capture, manipulate and transfer digital television.