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US Congressmen express STB piracy concerns

The Chairman and ranking member of the US Congress House Judiciary Committee have written to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler voicing their concerns that under the FCC’s proposed rule to boost competition in the cable TV set-top box market, future set-top boxes or their replacements could “purposely be designed to distribute pirated content obtained from sources that primarily offer stolen content”.

Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and ranking Democrat John Conyers (D-Mich.) described their concerns in a letter which echoes arguments made by cable lobbyists and some groups representing copyright holders.

The letter refers to “apps such as Popcorn Time that focus on providing access to piratical content have tried to match the format and ease of use of legitimate apps to mask the theft of copyrighted content,” with Goodlatte and Conyers suggesting that set-top boxes “could incorporate apps such as Popcorn Time or its functionality or otherwise lead to the unauthorised distribution of copyrighted works”.

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