It is worth not forgetting the broadcast flag provision when considering the intended ellimination of net neutrality, because considering both together starkly exposes the Republicans' stand on these issues, with regards to government regulation.
With respect to the broadcast flag however, Republicans take precisely the opposite position. By supporting the broadcast flag, they are saying that it is necessary for the government to control which of those transmissions that we listen to or watch on TV we can record: something that is unprecedented. It has been taken for granted up until now by everyone that if you can hear something on the radio or hear it on TV you should be able to record it, but the broadcast flag would change all that. The government would require all electronic devices that are capable of receiving digital TV or radio signals to implement restrictions blocking recording of those signals if the producer of the signal has embedded in it a flag indicating that it does not want the signal recorded. In other words, the government will mandate that you no longer control what you do with your electronic devices, but the corporations of the entertainment industry do.
Taken together, the Republican positions against net neutrality and for the broadcast flag show that Republicans are not against regulation, but merely have a new understanding of its purpose: according to Republicans, government regulation exists not to protect the public and serve the common good, but to allow corporations to regulate people.
It is not widely recognized just how much of an intrusion into how we use our various electronic devices the broadcast bit would be. A recent article in Spectrum, the flagship publication of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, has laid this out:
If Congress does enact these broadcast flag regulations, existing tuner cards will ignore the flag, but it will be unlawful to manufacture any new cards without the feature. Products that would have to be redesigned in response to the flag mandate would include the wide variety of inexpensive tuner cards available today, as well as TV hard disk digital recorders, DVD recorders, and any other hardware or software that would make it possible to receive or view digital broadcast television. The broadcast flag law would force designers of tomorrow's digital television devices to either implement one of a limited list of approved content-protection technologies to restrict flagged broadcasts or hire lawyers to seek FCC approval for any newly developed content-protection mechanism. Neither option would ensure backward-compatibility with existing high-definition televisions or interoperability with the other digital media equipment consumers might have already purchased. These requirements would inevitably mean higher costs for technology developers and would handicap the introduction of new features. And all this would happen without stopping those who are truly determined to redistribute HDTV programming.A second, even more intrusive bit of proposed legislation is The Digital Transition Content Security Act, better known as the analog hole act. This would deal with the problem that no mechanism presently exists to protect "intellectual property" if it is in analog form -- so that copy-protection devices can be circumvented by converting from digital to analog and back again -- by forcing all digital-to-analog devices to have new copy-protection "feautures" built into them. As the Spectrum article notes:
The Analog Hole Bill is Hollywood's attempt to control an even broader range of devices than the DMCA does. The chips used to convert video from analog to digital are in today's digital cameras, camera phones, and personal media players. A host of future new devices are likely to include this basic technology. The Analog Hole Bill would require that all these products incorporate content-protection technologies certified by federal regulators and include hardware and software to block any end-user modifications. The days of hardware "tweaking" would end. The legislation would also dictate the kinds of video outputs permitted, potentially orphaning generations of older products, including television sets, stereo speakers, and VCRs. Such legislation, combined with other laws already passed and pending, would lead to a world in which federal regulators, not creative engineers, would dictate many product features and design decisions. In place of the new era's digital developments, Hollywood's vision takes us back to the Stone Age.I have not been able to find out anywhere what the Commerce Committee did with the analog hole bill.