Broadcasters have won an important ally in the effort to protect news and public-affairs programming from rampant Internet piracy.
A Federal Communications Commission source confirmed Thursday that chairman Michael Powell does not support an exemption for news and public-affairs programming from the so-called broadcast-flag copy-protection system.
Within a few weeks, the FCC is expected to adopt a rule that will require digital devices to recognize coding in the digital bitstream that prevents digital-broadcast programming from being retransmitted over the Internet.
In recent weeks, the affiliates of NBC and CBS have told the FCC the exemption would risk damaging their investment in local news. Exemption supporters have argued that the flag would not let them send family and friends news clips of a school or community event covered by local TV stations.