opinion

Microsoft Gets Timely Patent for Filtering Swear Words

Tom Hymes
Talk about good timing.

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday heard oral arguments in the Fox TV v. FCC indecency case, and all but simultaneously Microsoft has been awarded a patent for an automatic censoring filter.

According to the article linked to above, "The invention is intended to act as a filter for live broadcasts where it is impracticable to delete or make inaudible certain undesired words or phrases."

Following the oral arguments, Microsoft is probably feeling pretty good about having the patent, but a decision one way or the other is far from certain.

I'm reading the transcript now and will comment on it later. It's interesting, of course, but also relevant to this industry, not least because the FCC's authority to regulate the presumably "patently offensive" F-word and S-words across broadcast mediums derives from their association with sexual or excretory acts.

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