Microsoft Figures Out A Better Way To Censor Television

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Microsoft Figures Out A Better Way To Censor Television

Tue Oct 21, 2008 @ 05:00PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

The US Patent & Trademark Office has just approved a patent application by Microsoft on "automatic censorship of audio data for broadcast."

Translation? No longer might standards lawyers need to sit in a dark room, hovering over the bleep button when U2 singer Bono delivers an award with chutzpah at the Golden Globes ceremony. Now, those cussing-canceling bleeps could happen in real-time.

Supposedly, the technology will work on broadcast television, Internet streams and in gaming platforms. Now the question is whether Congress will require broadcasters to use the technology similar to the way they once mandated that television manufacturers include the infamous V-chip. And if politicians don't exert pressure, will broadcasters face the liability wrath of a nation of church ladies?

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to

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