September 27, 2005

Working All The Angles on the Broadcast Flag [4:34 pm]

You Are the MPAA: A Broadcast Flag Update

One especially sneaky way to get an amendment passed is to smuggle it into a reconciliations bill. Reconciliation is the mirror image of appropriations. Appropriations is about taxes; reconciliation is all about making cuts. Because Congress dearly loves to appear thrifty, reconciliations has special fast-track status. It can’t be filibustered, it’s almost impossible to amend once agreed upon, and it only needs a plain majority to pass.

Of course, with such good intentions, it’s a perfect vehicle for piggybacking unpopular provisions. Except…there’s the Byrd rule. Under this point of order, any senator can get a reconciliation clause thrown out if it’s not really about government cuts.

This will be tricky, since the Broadcast Flag essentially demands government interference with every digital AV product on the market.

Ah, but how about — no, that’s far too sneaky. But…perhaps…

Listen. Suppose our sympatico politicos carve out a bunch of Digital TV provisions that, in fact, do have something to do with government finance? Suppose they stick those provisions in the Senate Commerce Committee’s reconciliations bill (due October 26th), where they’re practically untouchable?

More at Slashdot: Broadcast Flag Back in Congress

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