In 2003 the FCC ruled that digital television signals could carry a flag which, when set, required specific protections be in place in all hardware/software that handled the signal. This flag has become known as the broadcast flag. Recently, several members of the D.C. appeals court heard a lawsuit seeking to block the ruling. At least two of the judges had unkind words for the FCC. The flag is currently scheduled to go into effect this July.
"You're out there in the whole world, regulating. Are washing machines next?" asked Judge Harry Edwards. Quipped Judge David Sentelle: "You can't regulate washing machines. You can't rule the world."
You crossed the line," Judge Harry Edwards told a lawyer for the Federal Communications Commission during arguments before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
"Selling televisions is not what the FCC is in the business of," Edwards said, siding with critics who charge the rule dictates how computers and other devices should work.