According to Reuters,
A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday said that regulators had overstepped their authority by imposing a rule designed to limit the copying of digital television programs.
"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.
But it was unclear whether the judges would strike down the FCC's 2003 rule, since doubts were also raised about whether the American Library Association and other opponents had legal standing to challenge the rule in court.
After hearing arguments, the court usually takes several months to issue a ruling.
The FCC rule aims to limit people from sending copies of digital television programs over the Internet. The FCC has said copyright protections are needed to help speed the adoption of digital television.
Under the FCC rule, programmers can attach a code, or flag, to digital broadcasts that would, in most cases, bar consumers from sending unauthorized copies of popular shows over the Web.
The rule requires manufacturers of television sets that receive digital over-the-air broadcast signals to produce sets that can read the digital code by July 1 of this year.
The rule has been criticized by some consumer groups, who say that it could raise prices to consumers and that it sets a bad precedent by allowing broadcasters to dictate how computers and other devices should be built.
Edwards and one of the other two judges, David Sentelle, agreed with the critics and told FCC lawyer Jacob Lewis that the law does not give the agency specific authority to dictate how electronic devices must be made.