For some time now, organisations like the RIAA and the MPAA have been trying to get the law changed, so that companies like AMD and Intel will build anti-piracy measures into their hardware. The Federal Communications Commission has made an order requiring televisions, video recorders, computers, and other devices that are capable of receiving or interpreting digital television signals to use government-approved antipiracy technology by July 2005. Now, however, an appeals court has tossed out the order, saying that the Federal Communications Commission has overstepped its authority.

The unanimous decision by three judges from the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was a blow to major Hollywood studios and television networks that had been the driving force behind the regulation.

But it was welcomed by some consumer groups and technology advocates who argued that the rule gave the government too much power over computers, software, and other digital gear.