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March 16, 1987

BROADCASTERS SHOULD PROVIDE THEIR OWN PROTECTION

By CBR Staff Writer

The problem with broadcasting is that it’s kind of broad, and there are some thorny issues raised when anyone tries to impose a ban on people listening in to whatever happens to be out there in the ether: the British law that makes it illegal to listen in to police messages on the FM waveband is patently absurd, but equally, can you claim ownership of anything that you happen to broadcast? The issue arises because Network Productions Inc of New Jersey has been selling descrambler chips to enable anyone who buys them to watch TV shows that are transmitted by satellite in the US and intended only for subscribers; Network Productions is being sued by the likes of General Instrument Corp, M/A-Com Inc, Cable Home Communications, Home Box Office and Showtime, but isn’t it the responsibility of the broadcasters to protect their signal in such a way that it would be prohibitively expensive to decode the thing other than with their receiver equipment?

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