I love John Sununu and Ted Stevens!

Love might be a strong word, but for today I’m feeling generous. These two Republican Senators singlehandedly iced the dramatically stupid and painfully restrictive “broadcast flag” and “audio flag” laws pushed by the MPAA and RIAA. Boing Boing has the scoop, via the EFF:

[Sununu] pointed out that “we have a whole history of similar technological innovation that has shown us that the market can respond with its own protection to the needs of the artists.” And he concluded with one of the most damning depictions of the ahistorical nature of the flag (clip from Congressional RealVideo) you’ll hear on the Hill:

“The suggestion is that if we don’t do this, it will stifle creativity. Well…we have now an unprecedented wave of creativity and product and content development…new business models, and new methodologies for distributing this content. The history of government mandates is that it always restricts innovation…why would we think that this one special time, we’re going to impose a statutory government mandate on technology, and it will actually encourage innovation?”

The second revelation, dropped into the later discussion of the RIAA’s audio flag, was that Senator Stevens’ daughter bought him an iPod.

This is unhappy news for the RIAA. Once again, their representative was forced to burst into praises of MP3 players (a technology his organization attempted to sue out of existence in 1998).

And when Stevens asked whether with the audio flag in place he would be able to record from the radio and put the shows onto his iPod: that’s when the RIAA’s Mitch Bainwol really began to sweat.

With that simple question, the octogenarian Senator encapsulated arguments about place-shifting, interoperability, and fair use that would have taken whole federal dockets to explain a few years ago.

I’m not only thrilled with this decision, I’m overjoyed to see evidence that our Senators are actually asking lobbyists tough questions and using their common sense. More of that, please!