Japanese television viewers have begun complaining to broadcasters over the sudden removal of editing and copying freedoms they’re experiencing now that the country’s version of the broadcast flag has been rolled out on digital terrestrial and cable channels.
NHK and and the National Association of Commercial Broadcasters launched the broadcast flag on 5 April, limiting viewers to a single copy of programmes carrying the signal. As programmes can only be copied once, no editing can be performed either. Within a week NHK and other broadcasters had received 15,000 complaints and enquiries.
This move also means that Japanese consumers will not be able to remove adverts from programmes they have recorded for archiving, or make a backup in case an offline recording is destroyed.
Furthermore, viewers have to insert a user identification card, B-CAS (from the company who manufactures them, BS Conditional Access Systems), into their digital televisions in order to watch broadcasts.
It’ll be interesting to see the scale of protest when America’s broadcast flag system rolls out in just over a year and a month – whilst not requiring an ID card to access broadcasts, the flag will tell all new television sets what can and can’t be done to a signal – right down to preventing any copying whatsoever.