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SSSCA Introduced in Senate 802

Posted by michael
from the call-to-arms dept.
Peter BG Shoemaker writes: "Wired is reporting that Hollings has officially submitted his newly renamed SSSCA, carrying the moniker Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA). It carries all the provisions we've been worrying about...there is a new battlefield folks..." Newsbytes has another story. Reuters has a story about News Corporation and Disney lobbying in support of the bill. I haven't seen the exact text of the bill as introduced; it will probably be in Thomas tomorrow. Update: 03/22 00:12 GMT by M : Declan McCullagh has collected several documents pertaining to the SSSCA, errr, CBDTPA. He's got a faxed copy of the bill (barely legible; read it on Thomas tomorrow), plus statements from Hollings (read it!), the MPAA, the RIAA, and several lobbying groups for the tech industry, who seem less enthralled about it.
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SSSCA Introduced in Senate

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  • by Aexia (517457) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @06:45PM (#3204192)
    http://www.senate.gov

    Find your Senate, find his/her fax number and start sending your letters!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Also there's a web-based submission form [senate.gov] where you can input comments as well.
    • by hillct (230132) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @07:27PM (#3204494) Homepage Journal
      Infortunately, our legislators still do not heed email and faxes to the degree they should. This is probably because such technological marvels facilitate communication to a degree that promotes a deluge of mindless mailings that represent to effort or forethought on the part of the sender.

      For this reason, our legislators tend to pay far more attention to writen letters sent by snail mail, not least because mailings are limited to some minor degree by the cost of stamps, and it is currently illegal to impersonate others via postal mail, whereas the same is not true via email.

      Faxing your well thought out objections to this bill, might be a good compromise, but I recommend postal mail as the most effective means of communicating with your senators.

      If you are unsure of how to contact the senators from your state, Look Here [senate.gov]. Also, it would be useful to begin to address this issue in the house as well. The house of representatives has a far more convenient contact mechanism. You can Lookup your Representatives Here [house.gov].

      Remember, do your research, and make coherent arguments. Don't waste the time of our elected oficials. They are not stupid, but simply need to be better informed of the problems with this legislation.

      --CTH
    • by HanzoSan (251665) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @07:37PM (#3204555) Homepage Journal


      Instead of wasting your time and effort sending faxes begginng them not to pass the bill. Consider this, 80 million people used napster in 2000-2001. Thats 80 percent of internet users who DONT want this bill to pass.

      Face it, they KNOW we are against it and they dont care. The only way to battle these people, is to battle them on their level.

      Go to these sites, give donations, if you dont have the money, host a rally at your local campus to gain money, follow these intructions.

      http://digitalspeech.org/
      http://www.digitalconsumer.org/bill.html

      Donate to
      http://eff.org/

      Support the lobbying groups on OUR side.

      I promise you, a petition will get you NO WHERE! People petitioned against DMCA, people petitioned against the Patriot Act, you think petitions will stop this? You have to have massive rallys, protests with hundreds of thousands of people, donations in the millions of dollars to lobbying groups on our side, and people like the EFF.

  • Canada (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bartyboy (99076) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @06:51PM (#3204228)
    If this bill is passed, how will it affect canadians? Aren't most (if not all?) electronic devices made for both countries, and not just the USA or just for Canada?

    If so, will Canada be forced to follow this bill simply because there are no other devices available on the market?
    • Re:Canada (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It probably won't affect Canada until Disney successfully lobbies Congress to declare war and begin the long overdue annexation process.
    • Re:Canada (Score:3, Insightful)

      by l810c (551591)
      Or maybe we will all be buying our next computer from Canada.
    • Hockey Night in Canada would not show complete games for a long time because people would stop coming to the arenas.....

      Ho Hum...
      ~Hammy
    • Hong Kong (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BlueboyX (322884)
      It just means people will buy their stuff from Hong Kong. That isn't as scarry as it sounds.

      This reminds me of how the solution to a puzzle in 7th Guest read... The solution was, "There is no possible way."

      That is kind of the situation we are in. There is no way to truely impliment unhackable hardware and software. The more money/time you spend into designing the protection, the more resources they are wasting. On a very basic level this is impossible, no matter how rich of a corp. you are.

      If this really does come to pass, people will be buying anti-anti-copyprotection black boxes along with the usual cable tv black boxes at fleamarkets. :P

      Really, the question is how much will this damage the industry before people chuck this non-protection concept?

      • no they won't... (Score:3, Informative)

        by S. Allen (5756)
        ...because the bill makes it illegal to import such equipment. trying to get around this only makes you a criminal and eligible to spent time in the pokey with meaner people than yourself.
      • Re:Hong Kong (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Wraithlyn (133796)
        He mentions the "Analog Hole" in the introductory statement, which, as far I understand, means that if you send a signal to a legacy television, the signal entering the television is standard, copyable analog ("Temporarily in the clear", as he puts it). The solution proposed is to make all TVs do an internal black box decryption.

        Won't work. Someone will hack the decryption and build their own decoder. (Likely in software) Violation of DMCA, so what? They'll release it anonymously and open source.

        Won't work. Someone will rip a TV apart and figure out how to make the black box dance.

        Won't work. Someone will stick a freakin VIDEO RECORDER in optimum conditions in front of the TV, rip it, and release it. It's a home movie as far as the video recorder is concerned.

        Ditto all the above for encrypted speaker signals and microphones.

        Will the average person do this? Of course not. BUT IT ONLY TAKES ONE PERSON. There will ALWAYS be one person.

        If you hide it, we will find it. If you guard it, we will free it. If you hoard it, we will spread it.

        The global distribution and copying of information is now essentially costless. Deal with it. Welcome to the twenty-first fucking century.
    • Actually (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Sebby (238625)
      I don't know if this is still the case, but cars for Canada were made with daytime running lights on, while cars for the US had them turned off. This was the way you could tell which cars were for which country when they rolled off the line.

      Of course, since our government is willing to give up as much as what the US government is giving up, I don't think we'll see this type of 2-country device manufacturing if the law passes, so we probably won't have any advantage.

      I'm just hoping the companies will just move to more sane counties, if this ridiculous law passes (I bet those countries would flourish then!)

    • Re:Canada (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rick the Red (307103)

      Just because devices sold in Canada will have the DRM features (for reasons of economies of scale) does not mean the media in Canada will be required (or allowed) to use them.

      We may not be able to buy DRM-free devices in Canada and smuggle them back into the USA, but we may be able to buy DRM-free content in Canada and smuggle it back! Let's hope, at least.

      (wouldn't that be a laugh, if Disney DVD sales tanked in the USA and spiked in Canada after passage of this bill -- but Eisner still wouldn't catch that clue -- too subtle [which reminds me of a Black Adder line...])

    • If this bill is passed, how will it affect canadians?

      Well, for one thing, if this bill is passed, I'll be moving there (Canada).

    • Re:Canada (Score:5, Informative)

      by rakerman (409507) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @07:38PM (#3204560) Homepage Journal

      I think probably it would be more useful to worry about the terrible *Canadian* legislation that is working its way through the system, including:

      See Music fans face raw copyright deal [globeandmail.com]
  • by Logic Bomb (122875) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @06:52PM (#3204232)
    I think someone should point this out every time a new piece of rotten legislation gets proposed. Do NOT email your representative. Do NOT send them a form letter. CALL THEIR OFFICES. SEND OR FAX THEM LETTERS YOU COMPOSED YOURSELF, PREFERABLY HANDWRITTEN. Have everyone you know or can convince do this. This is the ONLY way (other than thousands of dollars in contributions) that you will actually influence votes. And, as always, BE POLITE, BUT DON'T HESITATE TO EXPLICITELY STATE THAT VOTING FOR THIS BILL WILL COST HIM/HER YOUR VOTE.
    • handwritten? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FredGray (305594)
      PREFERABLY HANDWRITTEN

      That's an interesting suggestion: in a day when essentially all correspondence is printed from a word processor, I would guess that a handwritten letter would simply look unprofessional. I understand that a handwritten note clearly makes the point that you're a real person who put some time into writing it rather than just printing out a form letter, but I'm not sure that this factor wins out anymore.

      • Re:handwritten? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by erasmus_ (119185) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @07:11PM (#3204399)
        Although I understand what you're saying, I'd like to respectfully disagree. Rather than "unprofessional", it makes your letter more personal and distinctive. If you have hundreds of emails or typed correspondence to go through, and there is one that is handwritten, I think it has a better chance of being examined. It is exactly because "essentially all correspondence is printed from a word processor" that one wants to be differentiated, especially for a government representative who wishes to appease all constituents, not just those that know how to type.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Rather than "unprofessional", it makes your letter more personal and distinctive.

          To be truly personal and distinctive, I suggest cutting out letters from your newspaper and pasting them onto paper to form your letter.

    • Why don't you talk to your representatives? I just got an email invite about my congressman speaking to the public. If your in the Seattle/Bothell Area show up. I will bring up the SSSCA, "Fair Use" and how expect him to vote "Nay" on this or any similar bill. That this bill is not about "Copy Protection" but "Copy Control", and they want to take it away from the public by calling them Pirates and Thiefs.

      Dear Mr. Harty:

      You are invited to a Coffee with Congressman Jay Inslee.

      Please join U.S. Representative Jay Inslee as he hosts an informal discussion on federal issues of concern to you and your neighbors.

      Community Coffee
      Saturday, March 23
      10:00am-11:30am
      Lynnwood Senior Center
      5800 198th Street SW, Lynnwood

    • by Kwil (53679) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:52PM (#3205211)
      1. It is the CBDTPA, not the SSSCA. Make sure you reference the correct legislation. It may be the same to us, but there's a world of difference to the congresscritter.

      2. This legislation will create nearly insurmountable challenges and cause serious harm to the computer hardware industry for the benefit of the copyright control industry which is only one-tenth the size.

      3. This legislation eliminates the need for the copyright control industry to create partnerships with the hardware industry to achieve their goals, thus robbing the economy of that growth as well.

      4. Do not insult your congresscritter. Do not accuse them of taking bribes or being stupid. Do not accuse them of being bought off. They may be any or all of these things, but don't accuse them of it.

      5. Tell them you support them, think their ideas and ideals are worthwhile, and voted for them in the last election because of this. (If you do not and don't feel comfortable lying, don't say anything about how you voted or who you support)

      5. Your vote in the next election rides primarily on this particular issue - larger than any individual candidate's ideas or ideals.

      6. The copyright control industry has refused to use the legislation already in existance to prosecute copyright infringers - only those who would provide the means. How serious can the problem be if they do not even make cursory attempts bring actual offenders to justice?

      7. Stay calm and very courteous. Write your letter, leave it for two hours or more, then look over it again.

      8. The issues of audio cassettes and VCRs, both of which were supposedly going to kill the industry - have not. This is certainly an equivalent over-reaction

      9. The legislation assumes that you and the congresscritter are criminals already, and cannot hold yourself in check without some sort of technical provisions. Feel free to say how the legislation insults the congresscritter.

      10. The software industry has been dealing with this problem since its inception, but has not required legislation forcing another industry to change their business, why is the copyright control industry different?

      11. If your congresscritter is Democrat:
      This legislation unfairly impacts the less fortunate who are not able to afford the new DRM equipped devices and may in future be unable to access content.

      12. If your congresscritter is Republican:
      This legislation will work as an unfair tax on hardware makers who will have to research and develop this technology. This will wind up most affecting those who make the majority of computer hardware purchases - the successful American businessman.
    • I know it's been posted before, but there's no harm in doing it again...

      You can locate your legislators at www.congress.org [congress.org]. If you choose to contact them, keep these things in mind:

      • DO NOT send e-mail. It will be ignored.
      • Only send a fax as a last resort.
      • Letters and phone calls are best.
      • Don't use prewritten letters unless you absolutely have to. No, don't even use them then. They won't be taken as seriously as a letter you compose yourself.
      • If you decide to call, you're going to get a staffer. Prepare for them to be relatively clueless on this issue, at least at first. Have your facts in front of you so you'll be able to answer any questions they may have.
      • Know your facts. Know the bill number, the bill name, all the sponsors, and where the bill is in terms of passage. If you can't get all of this information, at least get the bill number and make sure it's correct because the person you speak to may want to find a copy of the legislation, and they'll need that number to do it.
      • If you call, it's not a bad idea to follow up with a letter.
      • In your written or verbal conversations, be polite, but make sure the person on the other end knows that this is something you care about and that will influence your vote in the next election.

      And if this is going to work, spread the word to other organizations and people who can help oppose it. Do you subscribe to a magazine that would be interested in this? Send a letter to the editor. Does Consumer Reports print letters to the editor? If they do, send one their way. Lots of people read that magazine, people who may not otherwise find out about this.

      Talk radio may be another useful outlet. If your local station has a show that has open discussions about any subject of interest to listeners, call in. Calling in to CNET Radio [cnetradio.com] would be a good place to start. The CNET site says you can tune in at 910 AM in the Bay Area, at 890 AM in Boston, and on XM Satellite Radio, channel 130. Most every city has at least one talk station, so there are many places to call in.

      There are other things you can do. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. If you get it published, great. Even if you don't, someone there has to read it, so at least the newspsper people will be educated, so they'll be more sensitized to the issue when they see it again.

      Whatever you do, think of it in terms of getting information to the right people. With Congress, it's getting lots of people to contact them. With the public, it's getting as many people as possible familiar with the issue. It's a numbers game. Just don't forget that most people don't get their information primarily through the Internet. They log on to get their daily fix of the large Web sites and then log off. They may care about this, but you're going to have to reach them offline. Be creative. Think of it as a way to beat the big media companies at their own game. These guys most likely think they can get this garbage passed without the public ever knowing. Let's prove them wrong.

      As a matter of fact, CNET Radio just reported on this thing. It was the last item in their newscast, and the whole report lasted about 20 seconds. That needs to get changed, and only our action can change it.

  • Start stocking up on pre-SSSCA computer hardware whilst you can. It wouldnt be a bad idea to burn or buy a few extra linux distros either.
    • From the little these articles say about the proposal, it is non-retroactive. Currently manufactured stuff is ok.

      But if you are wanting an mp3 player or a major computer upgrade, you have a year...
  • by yerricde (125198) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @06:53PM (#3204240) Homepage Journal
    From the Wired article:

    Hollings said that "any device that can legitimately play, copy, or electronically transmit one or more categories of media also can be misused for illegal copyright infringement, unless special protection technologies are incorporated."

    We'll just have to tell Congress that "any device that can legitimately hit a baseball can be misused for illegal murder. How do you think MLB would react if the state legislatures tried to outlaw the game of baseball?"

    One bright spot for free software advocates: Any software that implements the standards must be "based on open source code." Hardware copy-protection schemes can remain proprietary.

    I'd assume that a rational judge would consider "open source" to mean what the community thinks it means [opensource.org]. So unless the standards require hardware (which Silicon Valley will vehemently object to), the GNU/Linux system may still be able to decode SSS^H^H^H CBDTPA encoded material.

    • by EccentricAnomaly (451326) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @07:02PM (#3204319) Homepage
      Any computer that can do unrestricted computations can be used to break encryption and be used to copy this forbidden data. If only disfunctional computers are legal, then how can scientists or engineers do calculations with computers anymore?? A computer that can't break encryption surely won't be much use to study DNA or to calculate spacecraft trajectories.

      We'll be limited to spreadsheets and graphing calculators.
      • Any computer that can do unrestricted computations can be used to break encryption and be used to copy this forbidden data. [...] A computer that can't break encryption surely won't be much use to study DNA or to calculate spacecraft trajectories.

        That's not really the issue. The ability of a computer to "break" encryption isn't really relevant. In fact, plenty of useful computers exist that can't break, for example, the AES (i.e. all computers).

        The issue isn't that general calculations will be impossible, the issue is that the interfaces to various pieces of hardware will be restricted in ways that will make experimentation and innovation very difficult. The issue is that all this secured hardware will cost a lot more money, meaning fewer people will buy computers and the pace of innovation will slow further. The issue is that this secure hardware will require the collaboration of secured software, which will destroy open source software and will put a serious damper on the ability of small software companies to compete. The issue is that the government validation of all this secure hardware and software will create a huge new beuracracy and further impede the industry. The issue is that strong copy protection threatens to give content producers a perpetual, non-limited monopoly over their content, destroying fair use and eliminating the public domain.

        The issue is that they're doing all of this damage to a whole industry and to the rights of the public in order to protect a small industry that is stagnant, unable to face the new reality and rife with corruption.

    • We'll just have to tell Congress that "any device that can legitimately hit a baseball can be misused for illegal murder. How do you think MLB would react if the state legislatures tried to outlaw the game of baseball?"

      Except they aren't trying to outlaw all copying, only illegal copying. If you read the Wired article, it specifically says the law allows for fair use copying.

      That's what's incidious about this: it will WORK and it WILL solve the problem of illegal mass distribution. The argument needs to be that it creates more problems that it solves.

      • That's what's incidious about this: it will WORK and it WILL solve the problem of illegal mass distribution.

        No, it won't. Pirates are smarter than you think, and making computers incapable of copying files without some kind of serial-copy brain damage like MiniDiscs had will have exactly *no* effect on mass distribution.

        What it WILL do, is render the computers useless for people who want to work on their OWN material.
        Hollings needs to be voted out at the next possible opportunity. The people of South Carolina are paying him to be the Tobacco lobby's lackey, not Hollywood's.

        -jcr
    • by quantaman (517394) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @07:11PM (#3204404)
      On that point has the US successfully push through any gun control legislation?

      Maybe our new slogan should be,
      "Software doesn't steal digital content, people steal digital content."
  • by I Want GNU! (556631) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @06:54PM (#3204247) Homepage
    One problem- constant renaming of bills. A majority of Americans were against the "estate tax," until Republicans changed it to the "death tax" and a majority supported it. Same with abortion- you don't hear Republicans saying they are Anti-choice or Democrats saying they are Anti-life.

    Not to mention all the money going through. I honestly don't know why these politicians aren't sued for bribery. It isn't a coincidence that Hollins supports this after all the cash Disney gave him. Same thing with Bush and Microsoft (and the DoJ essentially settling for 10 cents).
  • by EccentricAnomaly (451326) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @06:54PM (#3204249) Homepage
    If I have a home video that I made on my own can I make copies of it??? How can software/software tell the difference between a movie that I made myself or one who's encryption has been broken?? How can hardware prevent encryption from being broken without breaking a computer's ability to compute??

    Hollings surely doesn't know the answer. Hollywood doesn't know the answer.
    • Older articles talked about using a hardware/software combo that would have protection flags. You can set the level of protection on files you generate. But if you dl a file or load it off a disc etc. you are at the mercy of their settings.

      In other words, he who makes the files defines what can be done with it.

    • "How can software/software tell the difference between a movie that I made myself or one who's encryption has been broken??"

      You must certainly think a lot of your camera work.

      Well I've got news for you, you're not that good.

      And your directing is stiff and uninmaginative.

  • Isn't the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA) really the
    Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Prevention Act?
  • by StefanJ (88986) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @06:55PM (#3204257) Homepage Journal
    Email petitions are worthless.

    So is email.

    Faxes are a bit better.

    Better yet: A well-reasoned, non-hysterical actual snail-mail letter, printed and signed and stuck in an envelope.

    Best: A letter with a contribution check inside! I figure $1,000 should be enough to overcome the noise of all those check-free letters.

    Remember, this is your last chance to get in some soft-money contributions. Make the check out to the senator's party. He or she will have the honor of bringing it over to HQ and will like you even more!

    I figure if everyone who reads /. sends in $1,000, and convinces every relative to send in the same we'll about match what the entertainment industry spent on politicians in the last month or so.

    Stefan "Sorry, I'm feeling awful cynical today" Jones
  • by frantzdb (22281) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @06:55PM (#3204260) Homepage
    The EFF has some good information [eff.org] on what you can do about this.

    --Ben
  • So they've replaced the SSSCA with the CBDTPA? Well, it'll convince the Senate...

    Senator 2: I see there's a major public outcry concerning the SSSCA.
    Senator 1: So what's this new CBD- uh... deal... about?
    Senator 2: I don't know, but anything with that many letters must be a good thing.
    Senator 1: And it doesn't hurt that it's more difficult to say...
    Senator 2: Well, it has my vote, whatever it is.

    Uh-oh. ;)
  • Text of SSSCA (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Politech [politechbot.com] has announced [politechbot.com] that the text of this hideous creation can be found here [politechbot.com]. Read it for yourself, along with statements from Hollings -- and pals Hilary Rosen and Jack Valenti.
  • by dcavens (178673) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @06:57PM (#3204273)
    From the Wired Article:

    One bright spot for free software advocates: Any software that implements the standards must be "based on open source code." Hardware copy-protection schemes can remain proprietary.


    Minor question- how would this work? If the copy protections have to be implemented as open source, doesn't it stand to reason that it would be pretty darned simple to write something that circumvents them? Device drivers have to be written that can play the protected stream.

    Any one given any serious thought to how this could actually be done?
    • No, it cannot work, at least not effectively. Basically it is a clever provision to enforce hardware protection. They say "if the computer industry invents some good (=secure even with source) mechanism for software protection they may use this, otherwise we will require hardware)". It seems like the computer industry prefers software solutions because they dont increase the price of the hardware. Of course, it is very unlikely that there will ever be a way of protecting by software.
      There are only two ways of 'protecting' something:
      1. Mark it as protected. This may be a simple flag in the file or something more complicated like a watermark. This protection is very easy to circumvent if you can change the code - it's just not legal.
      2. Encrypt it. The problem is in order to view/hear it the data must be decrypted, so the key must be stored somewhere and once you have it you can easily use it to decrypt the data. There is no chance of doing this in software, as DVD/CSS showed, even if you don't release the source it wont be very secure.

      But both work quite well if you do them in hardware, because you need to modify the hardware to break number one or analyse the hardware (ICs) to get its encryption key in order to break number two. And both are quite difficult obstacles which are out of reach for 99% of all people.
  • by Sanity (1431)
    Back when the Internet was first gaining ground, the content industries claimed that without their content, it would never achieve mainstream adoption. The US government bought (or were sold) this argument, and the DMCA was born. Of course we now know that these industries never really embraced the Internet anyway, none-the-less it thrived beyond most people's wildestexpectations.

    Now they are trying to use the same disproven argument to justify this "Fair Use Prevention" Bill. Even a not-so-anti-corporate news outlet like Fox News [foxnews.com] smells a rat.

  • 'One bright spot for free software advocates: Any software that implements the standards must be "based on open source code." Hardware copy-protection schemes can remain proprietary.'

    When is the code used in hardware no longer software?
  • by Zen Mastuh (456254) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @06:59PM (#3204297)

    They are pulling out all the stops with the name Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act:

    • Changed name from SSSCA, so anybody who missed the name change might think that the damn thing just died in a committee somewhere. Really slick...
    • What? You don't want to Promote Broadband for Consumers? Damn hippie! A shameless exaggeration, but why do the names of these things have to be so loaded and so dishonest? A more appropriate name would be Congressional Omnibus Profit Maximization and Power Consolidation Act of 2002.
  • As already mentioned, US citizens should fax your senators (both of them, since you vote for both of them), call their offices (both in Washington and the local ones), and then, if you still have energy, you can also sign an on-line petition here [petitiononline.com]: http://www.petitiononline.com/SSSCA/petition.html
  • by guttentag (313541) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @06:59PM (#3204299) Journal
    The bill ... prohibits the sale of any kind of electronic device -- unless that device includes copy-protection standards to be set by the federal government.
    The world laughed when I introduced my steam-powered CD-ripper, but now it will be the only game in town! I'll be rich! (insert maniacal laughter here)
    • No, it won't, because you'll be arrested and held for months without trial for possession of a circumvention device under the DMCA.

      That would be kind of neat, though. A non-electronic device that could copy media, just to piss off the corporations. How the hell would you devise such a thing? Hand crank? A microscope to examine the pits on a CD, write them down by hand and use a mechanical calculator to perform the decoding?

      Actually, I guess all of those things would be labeled as circumvention devices and outlawed. Ah well.
  • ----
    Sen. Fritz Hollings introduces legislation that prohibits the sale of electronic devices, unless those devices include copy-protection standards to be set by the federal government.
    ----
    It says SALE of electronic device. That could make things interesting.

    I am going to be writting my senators tomorrow to get a feel for what they think about this bill. As a computer programmer, me writing a new version of "cat" and trying to sell it could make me a fellon. I don't like that idea, and my representitives need to know that. Your's do too. Write them, email them, call them, show up at their office. This makes the DCMA look like a teaser.

    -Pete
  • Read the Wired article:

    "One bright spot for free software advocates: Any software that implements the standards must be "based on open source code." Hardware copy-protection schemes can remain proprietary."


    As long as they do not change this, they make sure that it operates well with Free Software and the implementation of the standard does not get too intrusive I'm almost convinced that this is not a bad idea. I think that people DO have a right to protect their things, and that the market will regulate itself: the more restrictions the big media companies introduce ("loud reading of this e-book is not allowed"), the more important will free media get. I firmly believe that this step will actually reduce the influence of the media corporations, because it reduces the usefulness of their stuff and it shows the advantages of free alternatives.

  • Keep your head (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101 ... m ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday March 21, 2002 @07:02PM (#3204323) Homepage Journal

    From the article...

    It does say the final "encoding rules" should take into account fair-use rights, such as making backup copies or reproducing short excerpts from books, songs, or movies. Copies of TV broadcasts made for one-time personal use at home are also permitted.

    In other words, if you write congress and rant that they are "outlawing fair use" or something like that, the letter will go straight into the trash because they believe they ARE taking care of them.

    If you want to oppose this law (and I think that would be a good idea), the argument needs to be based on economics (making consumer products more expensive), inconvenience (does this in practical terms make it much more difficult to exercise fair use rights), or privacy (will you have to register a music purchase in order to get a digital copy)?

    I'm speculating right now, because we won't really know what it says until we can read the actual law.

    The bottom line is that arguments that it's your right to steal copyrighted material will play right into their hands as proof that this law is needed. I think it behooves everyone to realize that laws are generally written to solve problems, and the problem here is copyright theft. The argument against it needs to be that this solution creates more problems than it solves.

    I think people should also remember that something like this WILL solve the problem of copyright theft, and not try to convince yourself that it won't. Will it possibly not stop certain people from making illegal digital copies? Of course not -- but that's not the point. The music industry doesn't care about Joe L33t making copies, it cares about the mass market making copies. It only has to be "good enough" to be effective.

    • Re:Keep your head (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bughunter (10093)
      Another good argument was mentioned in the Wired article: this proposed legislation is unnecessary interference in the market. The marketplace can and will arrive at a solution by itself. Interference by legislation is not only irresponsible, it's damaging. By legislating copy protection in all devices, we're propping up a dying business model.

      Worse yet, it's clear that this legislation is a paid for by the studios and labels. It's legislating maximized profits for an industry that is already reporting record profits. If copy protection were reasonable, effective, and even possible, why aren't the content holders and information technology industry using it? They certainly have the money to develop it.

      Finally, this will NOT stop copyright violations. Any copy protection scheme can be circumvented, and once one person does it, the means will propogate widely. And a recording of the analog output of a digital source, once compressed to MP3 format, is indistinguishable from an all-digital copy. This law will do nothing to stop file sharing.

      Make these points in your correspondance with your lawmakers. Be short, concise, and convincing. Open and close with grace and respect. Don't threaten them with your vote... they'll know where you stand and can predict where your vote will go.

    • Re:Keep your head (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chops (168851) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @08:25PM (#3204849)
      You know what would cut digital copying down to an acceptable level, where it genuinely wouldn't cut into the studio's profits? If people got in trouble for it.

      All the weeping and wailing the industry does about "millions of illegal copies" and "no way to prevent it" flies in the face of the basic fact that this stuff is de facto legal, since the copyright holders have shown no interest in bringing charges against any of those millions of people who are breaking the law on a daily basis. Nowhere else does the law work like this. "All across the country, people are driving too fast, because not a single person has ever gotten a ticket. Ever. We must need special devices in all the cars that prevent them from exceeding the speed limit." When you write your congressfolk, remember to point out that thus far, the industry has shown no interest in even trying to use the laws already on the books to protect their copyrighted materials, and that this is an attempt to push the cost of enforcement off onto another industry, where it will be more expensive, less effective, and more of a pain in the ass for those all-important "consumers." Other industries do this right -- the credit card companies already eat an estimated billion dollars a year [firn.edu] in losses from fraud (in the US); they pursue the more flagrant cases, do what they can to make it difficult for fraud to occur, and do fairly well for themselves overall. What they don't do is go whining to congress about how possession of card readers should be made a felony.
  • by antis0c (133550) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @07:03PM (#3204331)
    Technically, when you purchase a CD, the only thing you actually own is the plastic disc. What you spent most of the money on was a license to use that data for yourself. Be it Music, Video Games, Software, etc. The license cannot be destroyed, as long as proof of the license exists. So does that mean if I accidently break a copy of Tony Hawk 3 for Playstation 2, I should then have to pay another 40 dollars for yet another license of Tony Hawk 3? Or shouldn't I be entitled to then buy a CDR and burn Tony Hawk 3 from an ISO? (Yes, I'm aware PS2 isn't CD, it's a hypothetical thing), or perhaps mail away a trivial amount of money (a few dollars for shipping and cost of media) to obtain another copy of Tony Hawk 3? Shouldn't it work that way? So far it hasn't, anyone I've talked to or emailed won't send me a copy of a music CD I scratched badly and doesn't play, even though I'm willing to pay for the portion that's actually the physical media.

    For example, a friend of mine was borrowing a DVD from his brother. My friend's laptop was stolen, with the DVD inside. Obviously the laptop is the bigger issue, but he had to go out to Best Buy and plop down another 24 dollars for a DVD to replace the one that was stolen with his laptop. Why couldn't he call Columbia or Paramount or Universal and have them ship him another disc after he provided some kind of verification that he owns a license for it? The actual DVD media costs what, 50 cents max? But nope, it doesn't work that way..

    They're treating the data as a sold product and as a licensed product, depending on how it suits them at the time.. And thats wrong. It's that old saying, you can't have your cake and eat it too..

  • Take a look at digitalconsumer.org [digitalconsumer.org]- they have an easy "click here to fax your senators and house rep" button [digitalconsumer.org]button which is of course inferior to writing something yourself, but better than doing nothing. The fax supports a common-sense Consumer Bill of rights- for more info, read Joe Kraus', founder of Excite's well-though out and to-the-point testimony [digitalconsumer.org] on the page.
  • The Movie/TV industries want to increase their profits, so they are lobbying for legislation that will require the technology industry to develop, at its own expense, technology to allow "protect" them. Am I missing anything here?

    While I condemn the SSSCA purely for its effective outlawing of open-source software, I also find it quite ridiculous from this angle.

    Clearly, the technology industry is not going to achieve increased profits by doing this. They're a smart bunch of folks... if they saw money in it, they would have already done it. I have no idea how strong the computer industry's lobbying platform is, but I wish it all the best on this one.

    Writing to Senator Feinstein only resulted in an explanation of why the *DMCA* is a good thing.

  • by I Want GNU! (556631) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @07:07PM (#3204355) Homepage
    Am I the only person that wishes Rep. Boucher was in the Senate instead of Hollings? He's the one person I can think of in politics who is technologically informed and not in the pockets of big media conglomerates.

    We can remember him as the person sending the letter to the RIAA [dotcomscoop.com] questioning their practice of labelling copy protected CD's as normal CD's, and drafting up tech friendly legislation.
  • by Alien54 (180860) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @07:07PM (#3204361) Journal
    As seen in the wired article:

    One bright spot for free software advocates: Any software that implements the standards must be "based on open source code." Hardware copy-protection schemes can remain proprietary.

    Now this ought to prove interesting

  • by erasmus_ (119185) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @07:08PM (#3204369)
    Remember that email link we had in another story that allowed you to submit comments to the government committee regarding this issue? Well, I submitted my voice, only to get this today

    We are no longer accepting comments via e-mail, as we have created a new,
    web-based submission form. I encourage you to please re-submit your comments at
    http://judiciary.senate.gov/special/input_form.cfm ?comments=1 [senate.gov].


    So although it's too bad that this apparently means that all those emails were ignored, here is yet another chance to make your voice heard. Please take advantage of it. In my case, I just pasted my email to the comments form.
  • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday March 21, 2002 @07:08PM (#3204371) Homepage Journal
    Honorable Senator Durbin,

    On March 21, 2002, Honorable Senator Hollins presented a bill to the Senate called the CBDTPA (the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act). This bill, if voted into law, would prohibit the sale of of kind of electronic device, unless the device had copy-protection standards built-in as set by the federal government.

    As you may know from previous letters I have sent to you, I am a strict privacy and consumer rights advocate. In the 2000 election, many of my friends, clients, and collegues considered my recommendations before they cast their votes. This bill will quite possibly be the most important vote you will cast in my consideration for voting to continue your incumbency in your next election. I urge you to vote NO to this bill, or any bills with similiar intent.

    As is consistent with the soft-money problems the Congress and Senate have been facing, this bill has been created solely to protect the copyright holders, and to prevent consumers from utilizing all the rights given to them in the numerous copyright laws that have been past over our nation's history. I believe this bill is justly unconstitutional, and it would be against your oath of office to vote such unconstitutional text into law.

    I am a firm believer in a copyright holder's right to protect their works, but no law should prevent copyright purchasers from exercising their rights. The CBDTPA goes too far in condemning piracy -- it prevents MANY of the rights given to the purchasers of a copywritten material. Let the free market offer better ways to protect the rights of the copyright holders, such as better research into encryption technology, or let the software manufacturers create their own hardware that will only play their products. There are ways to totally lock the consumer out of their rights, without resorting to laws that will infrindge on those rights. Let the software authors and publishers work them out themselves.

    If you vote YES to this bill, I will assume that you have fallen pray to the large donations your campaign has received from corporate proponents of this bill, such as $2000 you received this year from the MPAA, or the $1000 you received this year from the NAB, or the $5000 you received this year from the National Cable Television Association. If this is the case, then I know that you are no longer working for your constituents or for the common man, but for big business, and my vote will not be YES to keep you in office.

    Your constituent,

    xxxxxxxx
  • by mmusn (567069) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @07:08PM (#3204374)
    News Corp. and Walt Disney Co. stepped up their high-profile campaign Wednesday to enlist Washington's help in stopping Internet thievery,

    With reporting like that, how can there even be a rational discussion? I mean, no law-abiding citizen could be opposed to "stopping thievery", right?

    Since companies like Disney are succeeding in recasting the debate in a form in which the any use of their content that they don't approve of is called "thievery" and "piracy", the debate is already lost.

    The real thiefs, of course, are companies like Disney, which have built business empires on reusing public-domain content while at the same time increasingly violating fair use and public domain provisions of copyright, and even paying off legislators to give them special privileges.

  • if it really does "[prohibit] the sale of any kind of electronic device -- unless that device includes copy-protection standards to be set by the federal government." But it's a scary thing to think of. If this ever passed, 20 years from now we'd be technologically behind where we are today. I know the 1984 references are old and tired, but I seem to be reminded of:
    Science and technology were developing at a prodigious speed, and it seemed natural to assume that they would go on developing. This failed to happen, partly because of the impoverishment caused by a long series of wars and revolutions, partly because scientific and technical progress depended on the empirical habit of thought, which could not survive in a strictly regimented society. As a whole the world is more primitive today than it was fifty years ago.
  • You can prevent this...

    ...and all it takes is a bit of activism. Write up a letter to your local representative, find ten friends, and have them all write a letter as well as finding one or two friends each. Then, they will pay more note to the issue and quite possibly change their opinion. They are supposed to represent their constituents and often will even if they don't believe in the cause.

    I _would_ also recommend writing senators, but that might be a bit more ambitious since they usually represent much larger numbers of people and thus would be harder to coerce.

    Oh, and recommend they join Rep. Boucher's informed technological reps bandwagon.
  • Don't they mean the "Computers are Bad, Disney is Terrific, Politicians are Arseholes" Bill?
  • From Diane Feinstein's response to a condemnation of the SSSCA (emphasis added):

    America's music, movie, and software industries are second to none, and we export far more intellectual property than we import.

    The software industry is second to none? Looks like its third.
  • by rarose (36450) <rob&robamy,com> on Thursday March 21, 2002 @07:11PM (#3204396)
    On to Washington! Give Linus or maybe Stallman a bullhorn on the monument steps. :-)
    • by jdbo (35629)
      Actually, this shouldn't be funny. We should do this.

      Really, what else could possibly raise the mainstream's attention in regards to "protecting our online rights in order to protect our civil rights"?
  • by CathedralRulz (566696) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @07:12PM (#3204409)
    Despite what some people may think, most Senators try to do what is needed to make their constituents happy. I've worked in this "industry" for a very long time. Here is what I suggest you do to defeat this bill:

    Write an actual letter to your two Senators and House member. Do not bother to email the office - it gets deleted. Make sure your letter is at least two pages long and is well written - typed, not handwritten. We use to have a wall where we would put up "nut mail" - make sure your letter doesn't wind up here.

    Find out who the legislative assistant is for this issue. The senator or representative has literally hundreds of issues to deal with on a daily basis - so he delegates research and advisory power to people on an issue by issue basis. One guy may do defense and foreign affairs, another maybe judiciary and constituent service, etc. Find out the *name* of the legislative assisatant for this issue and communicate with them directly.

    Get a group of similarly minded people to meet with the Senator/Rep and his senior staff. Don't feel like going to Washington DC? Remember that your member probably has several offices spread throughout your area and he always come home on the weekends. Remember - it's important that the member have a senior staff member PRESENT when you meet with him. This means he is taking you seriously.

    Be polite. Do not make a damn fool out of yourself and put on a tie. Always be reasonable and patient. This is an easy case to make - maybe /. people can organize "lobby presentation package" that you can use when you meet with your member.

    Good luck. I believe that digital media needs to be legally protected, but this is not the way to do it. Civil litigation, not federal legislation.

  • by Patoski (121455) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @07:20PM (#3204458) Homepage Journal

    The chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property Howard Coble (R-North Carolina) opposes the bill and won't bring it up therefore the bill is DOA.

    You can get more info over at Wired [wired.com]. That little Disney shill Hollins can try and repay his evil mouse ear masters but it won't avail him...

  • ...something very, very profane.
  • by diaphanous (1806) <pgarland@gmaEEEil.com minus threevowels> on Thursday March 21, 2002 @07:42PM (#3204595)
    If you read page 9, lines 15 and 16, in a list of the technical requirements for the standard it reads:

    "(2) Any software portion of such standards is based on open source code"

    --Phillip
  • by gnovos (447128) <gnovos AT chipped DOT net> on Thursday March 21, 2002 @08:06PM (#3204749) Homepage Journal
    In your letters, don't go on and on about "fair use". That is all well and good, but doesn't register with senators. Talk about how this bill with DECIMATE the tech/hardware industry and set us back years, which in the tech industry, is tantamount to complete economic collapse. Talk about how many jobs will be lost, nay, GIVEN to foreign interests, talk about the money and the talent that will be streaming from this country out into the rest of the world. Most importantly, be nice, be pragmatic, be logical, but never stray from the message: If this bill passes, the senators that vote for it will go down in the history books as the men who destroyed the American economy.
  • by cacav (567890) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @08:24PM (#3204843)
    OpenSecrets lists donations from the TV/Movie/Music industries to senators. For example, this link [opensecrets.org] shows donation totals over all election cycles they have info for all of the senators.
    One thing I found interesting in that page is that Hillary Clinton is #4 in the $ amount for senators in all cycles with $601,345; >90% of that was in 2000 alone. Damn, she works fast... And to further screw those of us in New York like myself planning on writing both senators, Schumer wasn't far behind with $519,935 total; and he was #1 in 2002 with about $95K. Somehow I doubt they'll listen to my opinions on the matter...
  • Higher quality copy. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Irvu (248207) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @08:35PM (#3204899)
    A higher quality copy of the bill is availible at Cryptome [cryptome.org]
    • out of date (Score:3, Informative)

      by FredGray (305594)
      A higher quality copy of the bill is availible at Cryptome

      The copy at Cryptome to which you linked is not the bill that was introduced; it's an old draft from last September. For instance, it doesn't have the provision concerning open source software that several people have brought up.

  • by KaiserSoze (154044) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @08:37PM (#3204908) Homepage
    Here is the letter I just wrote. Please plagiarize as needed to get your point across to YOUR representative:

    I would genuinely like to know why our government would insist on providing legal protection to companies so they can continue to turn profits.

    The RIAA/MPAA refuse to provide copyrighted material in a sane and fair fashion to those who desire it. They insist on demonizing their very customers to the point where making a videotape of something you see on TV is held in the same light as the rape of a woman [see previous statements of Jack Valenti]. The newly opened RIAA-sanctioned online music venues push consumers into an even more punishing relationship with the aforementioned group. For those people who haven't payed their monthly "music" bill, they lose not only the ability to download new songs, but all of their previously paid for songs as well.

    When did it come to this? Copyright was a deal between the public and copyright holders. They get a limited monopoly on money made, and ultimately the work enters the public domain for the enrichment of all society. When did our government decide that Hilary Rosen knows more about writing laws than the founders of our country?

    "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries ..." That's what the Constitution of our country said, and nearly all aspects of it have been trampled in the entertainment industries' search for more profit. The fact that I will never, in my lifetime, get public domain access to ANY work created in my time fills me with a deep sadness, for we are not talking about things like popular music and tomorrow's movie premier. We are talking about literature, music, and scientific research. Those words used to have meaning. They used to represent the aspects of our society that we cherished: the Arts. Now they're perverted so that a music executive earns another $50,000 bonus this year. People used to make incredible sacrifices to be able to learn how to read; now the publishing industry would like to charge every time a page in a book is turned. Music used to be an honorable profession, musicians were artists; now our music is churned out on an assembly line so that the RIAA members can increase their bottom line. I make such points not to slander the artists or authors, but to make a point that our society has slowly transformed from one that respects the Arts to one that consumes artcraft.

    I will make the bold statement that this legislation is bought and paid for. I say this not out of incredible naivety of our political system, but out of the frustrated realization that the entertainment industry has performed an end-run on our culture. They believe that they define our culture, that they should have the right to sell us our own culture, one byte at a time. I say that they reflect our culture, like a mirror, and they should thank society on their knees that we let them charge us at all.

    Why? Why is it that some parts of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are held in such high regard, such as the right to Free Speech, and others, such as copyright, are looked upon as the acts of the devil? Why is copyright extended every 20 years? Why can't I copy an out of print book from 1950 and give it to my friends? Are we ready to draw a line in the sand and say that profits are more important than education? More important than wonder? This is not about MP3s, or DIVX movie streams. This is about taking the basic deal between content producer and content consumer and twisting it until every one of us must pay for every second we are exposed to anything created by anyone. There is no more concept of property. I don't "own" a book, or a dvd anymore. I am merely leasing it from the company.

    In court, we are frequently asked to deliberate on the "intent" of the law, rather than the wording. I say that the original intent of copyright law does not exist even slightly anymore. Moreover, instead of a bill that gives ever more rights to copyrightholders and ever more penalties to copyright consumers, perhaps our elected representatives could swing the proverbial pendulum back in our favor by stripping the entertainment industry of its most devastating weapon against freedom of information: the DMCA.

    I sincerely hope that our dear Senators take to heart the fact that they are putting the pleading of an industry above the country's Constitutionally provided contract with its own people. For those who have read this far, thank you for your time.
  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Thursday March 21, 2002 @08:38PM (#3204912)
    At the hearings Sen. Hollings held, Intel co-founder (and Executive VP) Leslie Vadasz was the only person there who spoke out against the SSSCA, earning him charges of "supporting piracy" from the other people there. Send him a letter indicating that you appreciate his and his company's support of consumer rights; if you purchase Intel products (not just chips, they make a ton of stuff) let him know that too. I know a lot of you aren't fans of Intel, but for whatever reason when a company does the Right Thing we should let them know we support it (in hopes of encouraging them to take similar stands in the future).

    See the EFF page [eff.org] on the issue for contact info and additional information.
  • by ClarkEvans (102211) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @08:45PM (#3204945) Homepage
    (what I sent to a select few congress people)

    I am writing regarding Sen Holling's SSSCA and request your attention
    since I am a D.C. resident who does not have a voting senator. I
    listened to the hearings on this bill and was not happy with the
    one-sided nature of the discussion. I'd like to take time to point out
    a few flaws in the argument.

    First, the bill is to require specific "security" measures in personal
    computers and other electronic devices to prevent copying of
    materials, such as music, videos, books, etc. We don't require such
    "security" measures for handguns, which can kill people... why have
    such measures on electronic media which educate people?

    Second, the witnesses to the hearings were all large corporations and
    "common folk" or people representing consumers were not present. Sen
    Hollings didn't even attempt to discover what potential problems his
    legislation may cause, nor did he question some of the (rather absurd)
    testimony by the Recording Industry. He could have included people
    such as Lawerence Lessig, for example. But he didn't. This is so
    clearly legislation by the corporation, for the corporation. The
    public had no voice.

    Third, it talked as if large number of people would violate the law if
    they didn't enact the measure. The discussion failed to take into
    account that _most_ reasonable people follow the law... if they think
    the law is fair. If there is a bulk of illicit copying going on, it's
    probably a sign that the laws regarding copyright may not be fair.
    Indeed, those resonable people who would normally speak out about
    injustice are privately pleased by and encourage illicit copying.
    Why? Beacuse Copyright law as it stands now is questionably
    constituional (Eldrige vs Reno). So, why are we moving so quickly
    when copyright itself (namely the extensions and massive protection
    the recording industry enjoys) is under question?

    Fourth, a large part of the testimony was about how the Recording
    Industry is having a hard time making a profit (despite the increasing
    profits despite the illicit copying). What struck me as amazing is
    that the RI admitted that for every very successful movie, there are
    100s of them that are not successful. As a business person who owns
    my small business, I'd be bankrupt if I had such a high failure rate.
    So, it seems that the RI wants extra monopoly protection (via
    copyright law and "security" measures) so that they can continue being
    innefficient. If I was on the committee, I'd send them back to their
    drawing board... perhaps there entire industry could use a shakeup.
    With new digital cameras, small productions are becoming more and more
    prevalent. Perhaps we don't need a big Recording Industry anymore?

    Lastly, the whole legislation seems premature, largely based on
    speculation. Everything works "ok" now... why mess with the dial? It
    could come out much much worse if we do. Why not wait till the RI comes
    forth with "massively decliining profits" (which I doubt will happen)
    and then ask if small recording groups have filled in the hole? If
    small production facilities emerge, this could mean _more_ variety,
    _more_ arts, and _more_ jobs (taxes) ... not less jobs as described by
    the recording industry.

  • Incredible (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Cat (19816) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:14PM (#3205044)
    Accordingly, only early adopters have purchased high definition television sets or broadband Internet access, as these products remain priced too high for the average consumer. The facts are clear in this regard. Only two million Americans have purchased HDTV sets. As for broadband, rural and underserved areas aside, there is not an availability problem. There is a demand problem.

    Hold it. A "demand" problem is not the concern of Congress. If the products are priced too high, and there is little demand, then it is up to the businesses to reduce the price.

    This is wanton "profit by legislation," just like the auto insurance laws. How long before it will be illegal not to own one of these products? Oh yeah, and for all the "slippery slope" trolls: look what's happened to the copyright laws themselves over the past 100 years.

    Roughly 85% of Americans are offered broadband in the marketplace but only 10-12% have signed up. The fact is that most Americans are averse to paying $50 a month for faster access to email, or $2000 for a fancy HDTV set that plays analog movies.

    Right. Because they can't afford it. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that all these huge companies are RAISING PRICES WHILE THEY FIRE THE PEOPLE WHO SHOULD BE BUYING THEIR #%&@$$^_)(*@$% PRODUCTS!! WHAT ABOUT THAT, SENATOR??

    Oh, we should let the market decide there, right? So it's ok for some mumbling, inept, incompetent corporate middle-manager to destroy someone's career, (and indirectly take their home, and security, and money, and investments, and health insurance, and references, and quite possibly their family and children) whenever they feel like it, but the employee must hand over their money whenever marketing rings the bell?

    Well, in the case of the overpriced broadband and HDTV products, the market has decided, and Content Inc. lost. Deal.

    But if more high-quality content were available, consumer interest wou! ld l ikely increase.

    Let's see some evidence of that first. Let's see some content, any content offered by any large corporation besides Super Bowl commercials. Wait, there is one example. Cartoon Network offers web-based versions of some of their programs. They now have 80 million subscribers and are stomping the living crap out of every cable channel they compete with and are scaring the living crap out of the networks too. Hmmmm.....

    The movie studios, and the rest of the copyright industries

    Copyright industries? So, they manufacture copyrights? That is a fascinating and very descriptive term.

    are tremendously excited about the possibility of providing their products to consumers over the Internet and the digital airwaves, provided they can be assured that those products' copyrights are not infringed in the process.

    Sure, as long as they can re-engineer the entire high-tech industry (which manufactures actual products, by the way) before doing so. It wasn't always this way. First they had to lose a Supreme Court case back in the 70s-80s to "allow" the public access to VCRs.

    Although marketplace negotiations have not provided such an assurance, a solution is at hand. Leaders in the consumer electronics, information technology, and content industries are some of America's best and brightest. They can solve this problem.

    So what do we need this legislation for?

    the private sector needs a nudge

    A nudge? A letter is a nudge. This bill is a #%&@$^)(*@$ avalanche.

    consumers desire high-quality digital content on the Internet, and it is not being provided in any widespread, legal fashion.

    Because the Copyright Industries (heh) won't allow it. How about solving that problem? Why is this the "consumer's" fault. (I hate that word).

    mandate to ensure its swift and universal adoption.

    You meant nudge, right, Senator?

    Congress mandated that all television receivers include the capability to tune all channels (UHF and VHF) allocated to the television broadcast service.

    ..while this bill requires all computers to tune to the *one* channel allowed by the Copyright Industries.

    would not be permitted to thwart legitimate consumer copying of programming in the home

    Like Macrovision does?

    - for time shifting purposes, for example.

    How are they going to know the difference? This law mandates it's own uselessness.

    We have listened to their arguments delivered in dozens of meetings with my staff,

    ..and ignored them.

    and the bill we introduce today does nothing of the sort.

    Called it.

    Sigh... it sounds like Macrovision for computers. This will slow down the "Napsterization" of the Copyright Industries (heh) for about six hours. I'm saddened that Diane Feinstein was a co-sponsor of this. She seemed to be quite critical of the bill only a few months ago. Which leaves Californians with only one potential representative on this matter: Barbara Boxer. (ugh)

    The House will probably not pass this legislation, but letters to Senators, Congressmen, *and* the President would probably be a good thing(tm). If this becomes law, computers and software as an industry are going to be damaged and the Internet will become the exclusive domain of the Copyright Industries.

    This goes to show the Cluetrain was right:

    "Big Business sees the consumer as a gullet who's primary function is to swallow products and crap cash."

    The slogan for this bill?

    "Get back on the couch."
  • by wedg (145806) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:18PM (#3205058) Homepage Journal
    Newly developed digital compression and memory technologies make it possible to store two complete movies on a device the size of a postage stamp.

    Really? Why didn't I hear about these? It would obsolete DVDs, CDs, even hard drives in one go! Wow! When is the wonder technology available?

    Or maybe he's just talking about memory sticks. I guess if you compressed it down to like 32x48 with 8 or 9 FPS you might be able to fit two on a 256mb stick.

    Or maybe he's talking about actual hard drive space? I guess two movies, in mpeg2 (DVD quality) would take roughly 4GB. In a 160GB HDD, that's roughly 1/40th of the total space devoted to two movies. If you figure that the average harddrive has a volume somewhere around 10 cu.in., that means that 2 movies would be 1/4th of a cubic inch, right? That's still a lot bigger than a stamp. Oh well.

    God bless Politicians and their multiple axises of evils.
  • by MonMotha (514624) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @11:40PM (#3205634)
    If you complain/voice your opinion, be nice about it. The last thing your representative wants is to read a bunch of garbage from "Joe USAizain" who is just blabbing off about how he things this bill sucks because everyone at /. does.

    Voice your opinions about why you think it's bad, not what others say. If you think it might lock OSS out of PCs, say so. If you think it might make a black market, say so. etc, etc. Try not to go off on tangents without tying them back in to your original topic (SSSCA or whatever it's called these days) and using it to furthur your argument.

    Also, KISS. Your rep gets lots of mail and doesn't have time to read 10 page rants. Keep it concise, and offer to provide more info should they be interested (put it on a webpage that they can visit at their leisure so they don't even have to contact you for it). Make sure you don't alienate the peopel who are trying to help you!

    --MonMotha
  • by elmegil (12001) on Friday March 22, 2002 @10:13AM (#3207127) Homepage Journal
    1) I am an amateur musician and need to be able to burn my own music to CD

    2) I am also an amateur artists who does album covers for other musicians

    3) I work for Sun Microsystems who makes general purpose computers, and the threat to the industry threatens my job.

    4) RIAA/MPAA are not poor; note the huge money spent supporting really awful music and movies.

    5) Artists such as Courtney Love dispute claims that they are being supported

    6) RIAA in particular has not put their music into any reasonable electronic format: if things are available at all, they are typically $1 per song. For $1 per song, I can buy a typical album, with uncompressed music, artwork, liner notes and a physical medium for storage. Why would I pay the same for a compressed format with none of the other benefits?

  • The bill is S.2048 (Score:3, Informative)

    by bluebomber (155733) on Friday March 22, 2002 @11:02AM (#3207427) Homepage
    Go here [senate.gov] and punch in "S2048" in the search box. When it has been entered into the system, you will see the text. Yes, the S is necessary.

    From the Congressional Record:


    By Mr. HOLLINGS (for himself, Mr. STEVENS, Mr. INOUYE, Mr. BREAUX, Mr. NELSON of Florida, and Mrs. FEINSTEIN):

    S. 2048. A bill to regulate interstate commerce in certain devices by providing for private sector development of technological protection measures to be implemented and enforced by Federal regulations to protect digital content and promote broadband as well as the transition to digital television, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.


    Committee members [senate.gov] are the following (note that both senators from Oregon are here, your call/letter will matter!). I'd include their phone numbers but the lameness filter doesn't like that...

    DEMOCRATS
    Ernest Hollings, SC, Chmn
    Daniel K. Inouye, HI
    John D. Rockefeller IV, WV
    John F. Kerry, MA
    John B. Breaux, LA
    Byron L. Dorgan, ND
    Ron Wyden, OR
    Max Cleland, GA
    Barbara Boxer, CA
    John Edwards, NC
    Jean Carnahan, MO
    Bill Nelson, FL

    REPUBLICANS
    John McCain, AZ
    Ted Stevens, AK
    Conrad Burns, MT
    Trent Lott, MI
    Kay Bailey Hutchison, TX
    Olympia J. Snowe, ME
    Sam Brownback, KS
    Gordon Smith, OR
    Peter G. Fitzgerald, IL
    John Ensign, NV
    George Allen, VA
  • by alispguru (72689) <bane@@@gst...com> on Friday March 22, 2002 @11:26AM (#3207617) Journal
    The biggest problem with a mandated content control regime is that we all know the mandated scheme won't follow ALL the rules of copyright.

    The content owners are all over the requirements regarding limiting of copying. They make noises about respecting fair use (we know they're lying, but let that go for the moment).

    But, I haven't heard ANY proposal that deals with the Constitutional requirement that copyright is for a LIMITED time, and therefore any scheme for automatic digital rights enforcement MUST have an automatic expiration - there must be a way to disable the protection when the copyright expires.

    This expiration mechanism must be built in at the same level as the copy-protection mechanism, because BOTH of them are required by the Constitution.

    What do you think the chances are that a mandated content control scheme will simultaneously prevent copying, allow fair-use copying, allow unlimited copying when the copyright expires, and be uncrackable? And if it can't do all those things at once, guess which ones will be dropped as infeasible.

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