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Congress' Tech Agenda 103

Posted by Hemos
from the moving-forward dept.
A reader writes: "Fox News is running a story on Congress' Tech Agenda. We have all been reading about plenty of legislation as each bill is introduced or considered, but it's nice to see a major news outlet picking up on the larger trend."
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Congress' Tech Agenda

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  • by maharg (182366) on Monday February 17, 2003 @06:53AM (#5318280) Homepage Journal
    this sounds like a step in the right direction. Fair use and all that.
    • There's a bold heading in the link stating:

      New Taxes Are Not on the List
    • by plasticquart (75467) on Monday February 17, 2003 @08:16AM (#5318419)
      I'm assuming that the majority of Slashdot folk are in favor of keeping the Internet tax-free -- at least for the time being. (IMO, new regulations forced on the internet sector for online sales and Internet access would have a horrible affect on an already hard-hit portion of our economy... but then again, I'm biased... but aren't we all.)

      As mentioned in the article, legislation has been introduced in both the House and the Senate that will extend the current moratorium on new taxes for Internet access and e-commerce activity.

      Contact your members of Congress and voice your support for House Bill H.R. 49 and Senate Bill S.52

      Contact Congress concerning H.R.49 Here [congress.org]
      Contact Congress concerning S.52 Here [congress.org]

      Polite emails (and/or snail-mailed letters, as they carry the most weight) simply stating your support for these bills will suffice.
      • Companies should pay a 'tax' on electronic transactions envolving details of private persons.

        the tax should be spent on keeping the infrastructure of the internet upto date, and reducing the cost of access to people.

        This will help e-business, intuen reducing costs and overheads for everyone, and help make companies think before swapping private data.

        This is easier than you would think, since a few companies hold most of the credit/consumer data.
      • I'm very much in favor of Net sales tax. So, I will be contacting my congressmen, asking them to support mandatory sales taxes online.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          These types of short sighted laws, e.g., DMCA, is the number 1 one reason why you should vote out any congress member over 45 years of age.

          The older members come from a time when only the federal government could decide what entertainment/tech innovations made it in the marketplace.

          Younger congressional members will be much more open to innovation.

          We never want another thing like digital audio tape machines to be killed via industry lobbying and congressional stalling.

          Vote out all of the obsolete older ones.

      • If one agree to the principle of taxes on sales, there is no reason for the internet to be exempted.
        If all sales are treated the same, the best system prevail by its merit.
        If there are tax incentives, government distord the market, favoring some solutions over others. As an european, tax free internet doesn't exist for me, as long as I buy from european union. If buy on the net, it is for the quality of the medium.
        But I'm surprised americans don't see tax incentives as a disguised government interventionism. Or perhaps they are too greedy to pay 7% on goods if they can (here, the norm is 19.6%), distording free markets and concurence in the process.
        I see no reason why government should protect business models based only on the non-contribution to society.
    • One step forward two steps back. Its all right when these guys make such laws, but there are so many loopholes in these laws which BSA ppl can interpret easily as they want. In the end all this DMCRA wont get you anywhere. Even if a few good men try to get it right your Hon. Senater Hollings will ensure that there are enough loopholes big enough to get a dinosaur through.
    • by twitter (104583) on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:20PM (#5320049) Homepage Journal
      this sounds like a step in the right direction. Fair use and all that.

      No, it's a step towards legitimizing the DMCA which should be repealed. Copyright law is so strong already that the Supreme Court's favorable opinion called it "unwise". DMCA outlaws technology instead of enforcing copyright. "Circumvention", making use of things you own, and reverse engineering, simply understanding how things work, should not be crimes. Do not support half measures so that you can be comfortable in your slavery and your children will think you are a criminal for being curious. Laws that make specific exceptions to the gross and unconstituional language of the DMCA are not good for anyone.

      Wholesale redistribution, aka publication, of other people's content is wrong. It deprives artists and publishers of fair returns for their efforts. This is what copyright is all about.

      Using your own media and recieving radio waves that pass through your house is not wrong. Sharing the media you enjoy with a few friends and playing for yourself when you feel like it is not republication and nothing is wrong with it. Decrypting radio waves passing through your house is not a republication. Outlawing your ability to do these things and share that information with your friends is what the DMCA is all about.

    • Yes it is, but Zoe Lofgren's bill was even better. It took aim at shrinkwrap EULAs as well. I hope she re-introduces it. In addition to asking our congresscritters to suppport such bills, we can boycott big businesses opposing them, such as the recording industry. [dontbuycds.org] Clear Channel, [clearchannelsucks.org] and the MPAA. [democratic...ground.com]
  • by TopShelf (92521) on Monday February 17, 2003 @06:54AM (#5318281) Homepage Journal
    1) They blocked the big-brother information gathering system that the Pentagon wanted to put in place (run by a convict who lied to Congress), and

    2) The DMCRA

    Is it just possible that they're getting a clue? As a coworker says, "dawn breaks on marble head..."

    • by Corpus_Callosum (617295) on Monday February 17, 2003 @07:10AM (#5318312) Homepage
      A quote from the article:

      "Government programs such as the Defense Department's Total Information Awareness Project, data-mining activities, biometric initiatives and various forms of tracking programs have already come under fire for privacy violations.

      Congress, however, defunded TIA in the 2003 omnibus spending bill it passed Thursday night. In passing the rule, Congress said it wants a guarantee that the government's database program will not infringe on civil liberties before it approves its continuation."
      -----

      So this is far from dead and the demand by Congress that they "want a guarantee that the government's database program will not infringe on civil liberties" does not sound, to me, like an effective counterbalance for our freedoms over the long-term. What we should be pushing, lobbying (and fighting) for is EXTREMELY STRICT oversight of any project that involves collection of personal data for ANY reason. But only if we fail to stop the damned projects in the first place.
    • by jkrise (535370) on Monday February 17, 2003 @07:26AM (#5318346) Journal
      ALL the points mentioned in the Fox News report have been covered by David Coursey of ZDNet in his unique style. It's an open secret that David is the Chief Microsoft Apologist at Anchordesk. What remains to be seen is whether the agenda is that of the govt. or Microsoft's. Links from the last few weeks at ZDNet:

      1. Internet Tax: A lame troll by David.
      http://www.zdnet.com/anchordesk/stories/st ory/0,10 738,2910920,00.html

      2. Cell phone rights:
      http://www.zdnet.com/anchordesk/stories/s tory/0,10 738,2910207,00.html

      3. DMCA, Lexmark and printer refills:
      http://www.zdnet.com/anchordesk/stories/ story/0,10 738,2910015,00.html

      4. Hollywood, DVDs, DMCA Fair-use rights:
      http://www.zdnet.com/anchordesk/stories/s tory/0,10 738,2909517,00.html

      5. Copying music, Boucher-Dooliitle:
      http://www.zdnet.com/anchordes k/stories/story/0,10 738,2908975,00.html

      Judging by the Talkback generated by David Coursey, it seems he's got the 'average-Joe' readers excited with his unique sensationalist style of journalism.
  • by jkrise (535370) on Monday February 17, 2003 @07:03AM (#5318302) Journal
    This seems to be on the agenda of mainstream news agencies as well. Media reposts tend to equate real-life security with online security bigtime. http://www.zdnet.com/anchordesk/stories/story/0,10 738,2909590,00.html This article talks of Bill Gates and Sep11 in the beginning. Towards the end, there's mention of a "War Against The Bad Guys" as long as we use PCs and networks. Bears investigation.
  • Warm Safe Feeling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kahei (466208) on Monday February 17, 2003 @07:25AM (#5318341) Homepage
    For some reason, I found that reading this article gave me a warm, safe feeling as if it's all being taken care of by wise, kindly people. Sure, they may have their arguments but ultimately they're all working together for my benefit.

    Looking closer, I found that the main debate is between 1) Keep the DMCA and enforce it better, and 2) Completely wacky measures like banning unprotected digital media.

    But since that's kind of worrying, I think I'll just sink back into that warm, safe feeling now... mmm...
  • by lambadomy (160559) <lambadomy AT diediedie DOT com> on Monday February 17, 2003 @07:57AM (#5318384)
    Your elected officials get things half right? Or get half of what you want done. Example:

    Backing the entertainment industry, Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C., may reintroduce a bill to prohibit the making and distribution of "digital media devices" unless they include government-approved copy restriction technology.

    Hollings has said that he really doesn't want the legislation, but some type of compromise is needed. Various tech industry groups and the Recording Industry Association of America recently promised to fight any such mandates and work out the piracy problem.


    ---

    Hollings, along with Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., and Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., are also likely to introduce a comprehensive privacy bill to protect online surfers, who before Sept. 11 were pre-occupied with identity theft, but now must add government surveillance to their list of concerns.

    I guess with all I've been seeing recently, half right is better than expected. But my frustration with our two party system grows. Too often I see two candidates who both agree with me on half the issues and disagree with me on the other half. I can't send a message by voting for either of them, other than "this set of my beliefs is more important than that set". Other than writing letters, or running for office myself, what really can be done to get the message across?
    • I would expect that when Senator Disney...er Hollings seems to be introducing sane legislation, it's just a candy-coating for the riders his handlers...er lobbyists have insisted upon.
      • by lambadomy (160559) <lambadomy AT diediedie DOT com> on Monday February 17, 2003 @08:53AM (#5318519)
        You're 100% right, Hollings is a bad example, and probably tech in general is a bad example of what I'm talking about. But the fact remains that I'll rarely if ever find any legislators that agree with me on a large majority of the issues, and there is something wrong with that. I know that over time what is important to political parties changes quite a bit, so maybe my question is, how do we influence that change? If a third or fourth or seventeenth political party is not going to work it's way into relevance, what has to happen to change either or both of the parties we have into something closer to what I want?
        • Money.

          So what you Americans that don't have huge amounts of money really need, if it isn't blindingly obvious already, is a MUCH fairer system to the ludicrous current electoral system that allows a president to be elected without obtaining the most votes, preferably one that involves PR.
          • I can agree with Money being a big help (anywhere, not just in the US), but calling the electoral college "ludicrous" is, well, ludicrous.

            This article here [avagara.com] gives a decent overview over why the electoral college is probably superior to just counting straight votes. It mostly has to do with lessening the power of voting blocs. Of course, voting blocs reminds me of the huge problem with gerrymandering in this country. Sigh.

            Perhaps the electoral college is really a problem, and I'm not looking at it correctly, but I really doubt it. Twice in 200 years have we had the person who won the popular vote lose the election, and that seems like a small problem if the system decreases the power of large blocs.
          • I'd prefer an America that doesn't allow large cities and states such as NYC and CA to elect the president thereby giving those places the most power. The electoral system works just fine as it is.
            • I think the electoral college system gives less weight to your vote if you live in a congested area like NYC or CA.

              Greater weight is given to voters in sparse rural states. If you want the greatest say in a presidential election, then become a resident of Wyoming.

              Even greater influence than that, of course, can be had for a price.

              • That's the point. It keeps highly populated areas from gaining too much power. Your suggestion of moving to Wyoming doesn't make much sense since the people of Wyoming only get 3 votes but states like Idaho, Indiana and Minnesota will get visits. If a candidate sticks to major cities and a few large states, he's won the election. Hell, Clinton didn't visit Nebraska until the last year of his term because he didn't need it during an election.
                • "Too much power" sounds like a value judgement that probably depends on whether you're a member of a highly populated area or a sparsely populated area.

                  The recent election of GWB showed the critical importance of getting votes from the sparsely populated states, since he was able to gain an electoral majority despite garnering slightly less of the popular vote than his opponent.

                  I think the time-tested best strategy depends on two things: a strong showing in the earliest primaries, and a financially robust campaign organization.

                  Given those two ingredients, it's all pretty much reduced to a beauty contest for striking an emotional reaction with the voters. You'll need hair on the top of your head, not on your face, no glasses, a friendly smile, etc. Good actors have an advantage.

                  • I'd also like to remind everyone that the difference between GWB getting the majority of the popular vote and not getting it, is withing the statistical variance of the polling system. When people state that GWB didn't get the majority of the popular vote, they are merely stating their ignorance of votes and how they're counted.
                • The one change that I would make in the electoral system is to have all states use the Maine/Nebraska system (each Congressional district vote maps to one electoral vote; the state as a whole maps to the two electoral votes corresponding to its Senate representation). This would prevent outlying areas within a state from being effectively disenfranchised by a few cities, while preserving the weight of rural, urban, etc common interests.
          • You obviously don't understand how our system works, or how it came about. Getting rid of the electoral vote would really screw things up. The reason we have it is to level things out and keep a few small but hevily populated areas from controlling the whole country. These protections were required by the smaller states when our constitution was created, and removing it would only mess eerything up. I sure don't want to have a couple cities in the northeast and california telling the rest of us what to do. Besides, only twice in 200 years has someone lost the popular vote and won the electoral, that still does make him president, despite what a few far left-wing liberal hacks would like you to believe.
            • Getting rid of the electoral vote would really screw things up. The reason we have it is to level things out and keep a few small but hevily populated areas from controlling the whole country.

              Whereas now, you have a few people in rural areas being given WAY more power than a large number of people in urban areas. I just totally disagree with you as to what 'fairness' is. To me, giving each person, no matter where they live, an equal voice in democracy is a lot more fair than giving each similarly-sized region an equal voice.

              Besides, only twice in 200 years has someone lost the popular vote and won the electoral, that still does make him president, despite what a few far left-wing liberal hacks would like you to believe.

              Of course it makes him president. The 'left-wing liberal hacks' aren't trying to argue that this isn't the case; indeed, they're saying that this is what's wrong with the system, and I agree!
              • wrong again, each state is given a number of electoral votes comminsurate with the number of people in the state. It is designed to make sure each state gets fair representation. To get rid of it would cause over half of the states in the union to be unrepresented. and, if you go back and look...yes there are a number of far left-wingers who are still saying Bush is not really president because he did not get the popular vote.
          • The flaws in the electoral system are irrelevant when you have problems in the voting system itself. Exit polls are used to verify the integrity of foreign elections. For the past few years, exit polls have been failing to predict accurately the outcome of elections in America. And no, the problem isn't in the poll system, which works well enough to verify elections outside the US.

            The problem: exit polls have failed in inverse proportion to electronic voting systems being adopted. These systems are closed source, frequently unaudited, and are more and more not giving any sort of paper receipt that the voter can check and verify that that was their vote.

            Enter Microsoft. Yep, that's right, that voting machine software and the database behind it might be a Microsoft product. Why pay three times more than Enron (2000 elections) when Microsoft's proprietary voting system can just elect whoever Microsoft likes once Microsoft has enough market share in the voting system market? Audit? Why you can't audit Microsoft! That would endanger their precious IP! [Insert grumbling about "terrorist scum" here.]

            You know, we ought to do something about this, before we get Bill Gates elected president by an electronic landslide. All in favor of accountable voting systems, raise your hands.

            "Ridiculous, you have no claim. I'll sue you for interfering with private enterprise."
            Kumoyama, Happy Enterprises, "Mothra vs. Godzilla", 1964
          • Except that the states are not administrative districts of the nation, but are semi-autonomous. Being a union on states means that what is important is not who gets the most votes, but who gets the most support of the various states.

            IMHO, this is the number one thing most often misunderstood about the US system.
        • I think the biggest solution to your problem would be to have no political parties at all. Think about it. You would be able to vote on each candidate based on their individual merits instead of what is often cookie cutter party platform. The way things are run now, a politician is more answerable to his / her party than the voters.

          • Originally there were no political parties, and if I remember correctly some portion of the more important founding fathers were very against them (quotes escape me). But they formed almost instantly regardless, and they seem to be a pretty automatic formation.

            I agree that politicians are more answerable to their party than the voters, but for example Bob Dole was quoted during his 1996 campaign as saying "I'm not bound by the platform. I probably agree with most everything in it, but I haven't read it."

            Joe Lieberman would be another example of a politician that is far from his partys platform - I'd say most people are surprised he's not a republican. John McCain is another obvious example of not always going with the party line. I think that a partial solution to this problem, instead of eliminating political parties, would be the elimination of the ridiculous gerrymandering of voting districts that goes on and has gone on for what seems like ever. When the republican or democratic candidates don't have any worries about losing in a district, it definitely makes a cookie cutter, party line candidate easy to pass through.
        • Some advice on causing actual change:

          #1. Recognize that the reason there are two parties, is that in most cases, people vote negativly, not positivly. People vote against a candidate far more than people vote for a candadate. That is the reason negative campaigining works.

          #2. Stating this, what you need to do is convince a majority of the population that your memes/ideas are the correct ones. Here is the kicker..

          THIS IS COMPLETELY NON-POLITICAL

          Combine #1 and #2, and you can see you have much more power working in a coalition to try and slowly effect policy and social change than trying to convince people to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Convincing people that you are right has nothing to do with your vote. If the population changes, the government will go with it.

          The ONLY reason why government is corporate controlled is that you have a large section of the populace who supports this on the foolish idea that maybe one day they can have the power and put the knuckle to those under them. This is a cultural problem, and one that must be addressed before any change happens.
      • mikeophile wrote:

        > I would expect that when Senator Disney...er Hollings
        > seems to be introducing sane legislation, it's just a
        > candy-coating for the riders his handlers...er lobbyists
        > have insisted upon.

        Actually, when Disney is not yanking on his chain, Hollings is an average Congress-critter with the occasional good idea. It's just when Disney yanks his chain that he is evil, and then with increasing reluctance.

        For the bad stuff he introduces, Disney and a system that allows corporations to leash Congress-critters is as much to blame as the man himself.

        None of that makes CBDTPA less evil or less of a threat to the future of the computer and consumer electronics industries, or less of a threat to citizen's fair use rights.

        "The path of peace is yours to discover for eternity."
        Japanese version of "Mothra" (1961)
    • We're just going to do the same things over and over again until we slowly degrade the quality of our legal system. Soon our laws will look like nothing more intelligent than our latest disney cartoons. All because people like you will keep voting for one party or the other, over and over again, thinking, "This time it will be different", "They're on our side now", or whatever.

      But nobody has the balls to look over all the candidates, read through their political and economic views and think critically about which one would do what's best for all the people living in this country. Most people just think about which one will help their stock gain 30% or keep the gas prices low. The rest only care about jobs or health care. But nobody is willing to stand up for what's right. People before profits. Taking care of people and providing them the proper environment to grow mentally and physically is the right thing to do. And nobody is doing it.
    • If you want to get your message across to a political figure (Senator, Congressman, etc.) go ahead and Write The Damn Letter. I think it works best when it's hand-written, short, and to the point. And if you're writing to several of our "Public Servants", write each letter individually, rather than writing one and then making a copy for each receipent. I think individual, hand-written letters are more likely to get attention. However, I had a friend some years ago... retired lawyer and Navy Commander... who would get half drunk and fire off a collect tellegram to his Senator or Congressman. They were always accepted. Oh, pardon spelling and grammar errors... just going to pour my first cuppa coffee.
  • attitude? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tanveer1979 (530624) on Monday February 17, 2003 @08:21AM (#5318432) Homepage Journal
    "There will be numerous bills this year that will take a run at the DMCA that will raise concerns for us," Cresanti said."

    Giving rights to their customers is a concern to the corporations now. I wonder what happened to the great so called ideology "customer is the king" that these companies pretend to practice.

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

      by runderwo (609077) <runderwo@mailRAB ... minus herbivore> on Monday February 17, 2003 @10:09AM (#5318836)
      I wonder what happened to the great so called ideology "customer is the king" that these companies pretend to practice.
      It went away when the "customers" became "consumers" and stopped caring about the quality of product and service that they received.

      Capitalists respond to demand. If they can sell their product to people regardless of its quality, then why try to improve it? Obvious exceptions being companies with a real commitment to the customer and commitment to building a quality product, but you don't find those very often in publicly-traded corporations. Mostly because the price of quality would be slightly higher, which causes the consumers to go elsewhere and deal with a less scrupulous company save a buck. Thus, the board of directors demands that sales be raised at any costs, sets unrealistic expectations, and the company cuts corners to meet those expectations, resulting in a product that frequently meets no more than the minimum standards of marketability at best.

      The blame can be placed on the poorly educated, dependent, and apathetic consuming public as much as it can on the soulless companies who'd sacrifice any aspect of their product or corporate karma, if it meant saving a dollar down the road. Don't take advertising at face value, don't buy products from people who won't let you examine them before purchase, and don't buy from companies who won't stand behind their products. That's the only way this situation will improve.

      • It went away when the "customers" became "consumers" and stopped caring about the quality of product and service that they received.

        It went away when customers stopped getting a choice in the matter. Present a nation full of so-called uncaring customers with a convenient system for downloading music off of the internet (Napster), you'll find that millions will start to pay attention.

        Take that sort of choice away and put them back in a world where the content industry determines the parameters of the deal and the electronics industry dances along, you get a populace of helpless, unconcerned idiots.

        That's the problem with the "free market". Choices are bad for business, and the average consumer can't build his own CD player (and if he could, there'd be a DMCA to stop him.)

        • Thanks for the reply. One point:
          That's the problem with the "free market". Choices are bad for business, and the average consumer can't build his own CD player (and if he could, there'd be a DMCA to stop him.)
          Aha, but a market with the DMCA is not a "free market". A truly free market is one in which government only steps in to ensure its free-ness. In the case of the DMCA, the government has stepped in to protect a special interest from competition and elasticity of demand. That is BAD.
          • Aha, but a market with the DMCA is not a "free market". A truly free market is one in which government only steps in to ensure its free-ness. In the case of the DMCA, the government has stepped in to protect a special interest from competition and elasticity of demand. That is BAD.

            My point is that the market can make itself non-free just as easily without government intervention. This is regularly overlooked by so-called "free market" types, whose ideology begins and ends with taking the gov't out of the equation.

            In many cases, bad government regulations like the DMCA are just icing.

            • This is regularly overlooked by so-called "free market" types, whose ideology begins and ends with taking the gov't out of the equation.
              Eh, those are anarchists you're talking about. The vast majority of free-market idealists (such as myself) are a little more realistic than that.
              • This is regularly overlooked by so-called "free market" types, whose ideology begins and ends with taking the gov't out of the equation.
                Eh, those are anarchists you're talking about. The vast majority of free-market idealists (such as myself) are a little more realistic than that.

                I would say that belief applies, to a certain degree, to a lot of people who are in power now. Take a gander at the current push for deregulation in so many industries, combined with an ideological antipathy to the Antitrust regulations.

                Or look at the mad rush to deregulate the telecommunications industry-- a business built on the back of a government-mandated monopoly, and one that is just itching to re-integrate itself into that monopoly. Mainstream politicians and lobbyists will passionately argue for both of these courses, on the grounds that it will get big, bad government off business's back and encourage competition, and yet they will fail to point out that those businesses themselves have made an art-form out of restricting competition.

                Many of these arguments are made out of political self-interest. But they clearly play well with a certain segment of the voting public.

                • Mainstream politicians and lobbyists will passionately argue for both of these courses, on the grounds that it will get big, bad government off business's back and encourage competition, and yet they will fail to point out that those businesses themselves have made an art-form out of restricting competition.
                  Yeah, but what do you do otherwise? Regulate them forever? Times change; just because they were a monopolist in 1980 doesn't mean they would do the same thing now. Fortunately, today we have many choices for telco service that would be difficult to destroy, and the Bells would be watched closely for evidence of regressive behavior.
                  • Yeah, but what do you do otherwise? Regulate them forever?

                    Regulate them as long as they continue to control the majority of the market with their natural monopoly. Getting rid of the regulations doesn't promote a free market, and it's not something you do just because you're tired of regulation.

                    Cellphones and cable are only beginning to make inroads into the market. Attempts to get the Bells to open their network have been only marginally successful; they charge a premium for the service and they've proven quite adept at discriminating against smaller carriers.

                    Times change; just because they were a monopolist in 1980 doesn't mean they would do the same thing now

                    All of the Bells are and have been monopolies; the breakup didn't change their monopoly status, it just made them smaller. A quick look at Verizon should show you how quickly they've been re-amalgamating-- almost at the speed that US law allows it. They fund the expansion through the guaranteed profits afforded by their monopoly.

                    And the Bells would be watched closely for evidence of regressive behavior.

                    I see no evidence that anyone was watching the Bells while they systematically demolished the independent DSL providers who were leasing their lines. The problem with stupid deregulation is that political wheels move much more slowly than business. Once you get rid of the regulations, generous campaign contributions will make sure nobody develops an enthusiasm to "watch closely"... At least not in a timely manner.

  • Fox News and Congress actually getting a clue about consumer rights and technology is like a politician vowing vote in the interest of thir constituents. It just doesn't happen in the long run.

    Make lots of speeches crying that they are for the average person, but when the campaign donations start rolling in we all know what's going to happen.

    If you don't believe me, just look at the DMCA, UCITA, and COPA. Whose interest are they really concerned with, those of thier biggest donors.
    • by fenix down (206580) on Monday February 17, 2003 @11:21AM (#5319269)
      Fox News. Heh. Did anybody else see their little 80-second world news thing a few days ago? The last launch of the Ariane II, which has been launching for "116 years"? And I saw the same segment twice, about 6 hours apart. They really need somebody working there who actually watches the channel. I'm not gonna even talk about their "tens of thousands arround the world" bullshit with the protests...

      Anyway, it's not the big donors they like, it's the clear cause-and-effect and reliability of their support. Real people care about abortion and terrorism and shit, companies only care about one thing at a time. You pass DMCA, we give you fat sack 'o cash money. Dealing with the complex opinions of actual voters is too much work, and your average polititian really isn't smart enough to deal with the ammount of imput necessary to actually represent people. You either need interest groups or qualified polititians, and unfortunately, all the qualified polititians are too busy running interest groups to run.

      This is why I send the EFF a few bucks now and then. We need somebody to point out that Sony isn't actually representing us, which, honestly, is what they usually manage to convince congress of. Since their mailboxes and phone lines are spammed by interest groups, your representative's perception of what you want comes from spokesmen for companies and the polls those spokesmen give them.

      I'll bet at least half the people who voted for the DMCA honestly thought it would help the people get better movies, and keep the poor 'ol studios from having to raise DVD prices, if they thought anything about it at all, that is. We just managed to point out the massive flaws there, and congress is responding.

      There's no massive shift here, so don't celebrate. Congress is still clueless, the next godawful law will just disguise itself as something we haven't specifically adressed yet.

      Also, life is a endless road paved with pain and sorrow, and there's two goddam feet of snow outside my door. Fuck you global warming! Fuck you jet stream! Fuck you Gulf currents! Fucking nature.
  • Great... (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrByte420 (554317) on Monday February 17, 2003 @08:53AM (#5318520) Journal
    but it's nice to see a major news outlet picking up on the larger trend."

    Now I just can't wait for a credible one to do so too...
    • Re:Great... (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Read Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distorts the News by Bernard Goldberg and you will see that Fox is actually more credible than ABC, CBS, or NBC. PBS's biases are too well known to need documenting.

      • Re:Great... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by SirOgre (610068)
        or, read Blinded by the Right: Confessions of a right wing hitman by David Brock and you will begin to see how conservative Fox News is.

        Fox News is run by Roger Ailes for Christ's sake...a two bit Republican strategist from the Reagan-Bush era.

        • Fox News is run by Roger Ailes for Christ's sake...a two bit Republican strategist from the Reagan-Bush era.

          Or, more interestingly, the mind and money behind Rush Limbaugh's radio show.
  • by ctellefsen (625088) on Monday February 17, 2003 @09:08AM (#5318574)
    "Cresanti said the concern is that lawmakers are putting in too much effort altering the DMCA -- which the industry says is in pretty good shape -- rather than enforcing the existing rules."

    I thought the DMCA was used mainly to scare scientists and prevent crypto research, keep DVDs off Linux, hinder free enterprise and free trade, make toner cartridges more expensive, keep lists of store prices off the net, avoid having to obtain court orders to get access to private information, and other nifty things like that. Maybe it is "good shape" for the industry, but it certainly is "bad shape" for everyone else.
    • by moncyb (456490)

      This article was written by Fox News, a part of News Corporation. News Corp is one of the companies who "encouraged" Master Hollings to write his SSSCA / CBDTPA bills.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 17, 2003 @10:16AM (#5318868)
    Rupert Murdoch, his News Corp, the Fox News subsidiary have just about the worst track record of sacrificing truth to profit.

    For example, consider his relationship with the Chinese Gov't:

    - Chris Patten, the last British governor or Hong Kong, wrote a book about Hong Kong's transistion to Chinese rule. It wasn't flattering to the Chinese gov't. They objected, so News Corp killed publication worldwide.

    - The Chinese gov't didn't like BBC news being broadcast over a satellite owned by Murdoch/News Corp. As in many places, the BBC was the only reliable source of news available; it's even more valuable to people with totaliatrian gov'ts oppressing them. Murdoch removed the channel.

    That's only a couple examples. I never watch Fox myself -- how do I know when it's the facts, and when it's Murdoch kissing someones a**?

    For those who don't know: Murdoch owns News Corp. and everything named 'Fox' (well, maybe a few exceptions). News Corp. is one of those 5 large media companies that own nearly everything from movie studios to news outlets to music, the others being AOL-TW, Sony, Bertelsmann and Vivendi.
    • For those who don't know: Murdoch owns News Corp. and everything named 'Fox' (well, maybe a few exceptions).

      My favorite was in Simpsons "Missionary: Impossible" [snpp.com] where they had the PBS-like telethon at the end:

      Man: [walks in front of a dais, at which are seated characters from other "Fox" series, along with Rupert Murdoch] Sure, Fox makes a fortune from advertising but it's still not enough.

      Murdoch: Not nearly enough!

  • by HarveyBirdman (627248) on Monday February 17, 2003 @10:31AM (#5318956) Journal
    Rupert Murdoch, his News Corp, the Fox News subsidiary have just about the worst track record of sacrificing truth to profit.

    Nice to see the ad hominem fallacy is alive and well.

    The examples you gave were business decisions by Murdoch for whatever reason he has for courting the Chinese, and nothing to do with Fox News content. Please state actual, confirmed examples of Fox News lying.

    You're as bad as those that say they distrust CNN because they feel Ted Turner's hand is lurking editorially behind the scenes.

    Remember, kids, just say no to ideology. It'll ruin your brain faster and more effectively than a 9mm shot to the head.

    • I love the way you just completely overlook the fact that the original poster WAS RIGHT. Both examples he gave were evidence of News Corp. choosing profits over the truth, and by truth I mean they didn't tell a lie, but they made sure the truth wasn't told.

      Ideology may be a way to ruin your brain, but conservatism and right-wing corporatism is a sure way to ruin your heart.

    • The examples you gave were business decisions by Murdoch for whatever reason he has for courting the Chinese

      Your argument is a textbook example of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy (i.e. inventing new definitions on the fly in order to arbitrarily exclude evidence against your claim).

  • Shredding (Score:3, Informative)

    by Poeir (637508) <poeir.geoNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Monday February 17, 2003 @12:54PM (#5319887) Journal
    Naturally, I don't trust these guys. They're politicians. Here's a few bits that, assuming are valid as news, I don't trust, and why.

    First up is Robert Cresanti, vice president of the Business Software Alliance, trying to keep the DMCA unaltered. That's his job, but that anyone thinks the DMCA is reasonable is bogus.

    More relevantly is the DMRCA, most particularly, this bit: Among them is the Digital Media Consumers Rights Act, introduced by Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., that gives consumers more fair-use rights for digital products and calls for copy-protected CDs to be clearly labeled if they include copy-proof technologies.

    We all know there's no such thing as copy-*proof*. Copy-resistant, yes; but not copy-proof. If the bill in fact makes reference to copy-proof, then it really doesn't do anything but pay lip service to "consumer's rights."

    Fritz rears his ugly head once more, but since he's not in charge of the tech committee at this point he's less of a threat. He still demonstrates his complete inability to understand computers, here: Backing the entertainment industry, Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C., may reintroduce a bill to prohibit the making and distribution of "digital media devices" unless they include government-approved copy restriction technology.

    Hollings has said that he really doesn't want the legislation, but some type of compromise is needed. Various tech industry groups and the Recording Industry Association of America recently promised to fight any such mandates and work out the piracy problem.


    Yeah, "compromise." I recall reading here a while ago that if I want to cut both your legs off, you don't compromise by removing just the left one. The original deal was completely outrageous. Even halfway is far too far.

    Curious is the last sentence, saying that the RIAA is intending to fight such mandates? Forgive me if I'm skeptical, but if they follow through with reasonable approaches, this would be a fair compromise. They protect their revenue using traditional copyright laws, everyone else can do what they like with their IP. However, I'm not holding my breath. I find pre-dawn, kick-in-the-door, 1 48x CD-burner = 24 CD-burners much more likely.

    The MPAA is a bit more up-front: The Motion Picture Association of America's solution to rampant piracy is "to run to Congress and try to force a solution there that is a dangerous, ongoing process for us," said Cresanti, who argued the tech industry is too young to be more heavily regulated. Hardly surprising; however, why is Cresanti, the BSA representative, speaking on behalf of the MPAA?

    There's a large bit about giving tax credits for broadband deployments, and *not* adding new taxes to e-commerce; so those businesses that exist only online would do well to move to Nevada or other state with no sales tax and no tax agreements with other states.

    I also found this part interesting, The group recently released its Tech Environmental Quality Index, which shows that government is creating an increasingly hostile environment for innovation, competition and growth in the tech industry, but can't think of how to comment on that. Rep. Chrtopher Cox (R-CA) can speak for me, "Given the continued softness in the tech economy, this is hardly the time for new taxes on the Internet," Cox said in a statement. "Rather, providing long-term certainty about tax policy is one of the necessary ingredients for a tech rebound."

    Finally, it looks like we're going to have an argument similar to "Are the X-Men humans or animals?" debates (an article a while back, which was caused by different taxation rates for toys representing humans, and toys representing animals, that I can't find in the time I have), based on this final bit: "This is a very thorny thing right now," Thierer said last week. "There are amazing battles going on about what's a granola bar."
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Topic 1: Stopping our VCRs from blinking 12:00
    Topic 2: Figuring out why Winders keeps 'crashing'.
    Topic 3: Gettin' that there computer to say hello, like on that Independence Day movie.

    Important tech discussion this session! Oh, I can't wait!
  • After reading the story, I sent the following to Fox, any comments?

    For a network that claims to be fair and balanced, your coverage of the DMCA and copyright issues has been anything but. I guess, considering that you have Hilary Rosen as an "adviser", that might be expected, but I would hope that Fox, in keeping with your motto, would recognize her perspective for the extremely partisan one that it is (not just for the RIAA, but also for the Democrats, remember "Rock the Vote"). When you refer to "The Industry" I presume you mean yours, the entertainment industry, or perhaps one or two tech companies who love to abuse consumer rights (like Microsoft). You clearly don't mean the tech industry, which has come out strongly against the DMCA, UCITA, and Sen. Hollings efforts. Your comments regarding Fair Use (claiming repealing or modifying the DMCA would _expand_ them) are also partisan and wildly inaccurate. All the tech industry (mostly through www.eff.org and www.cpsr.org) are trying to do is defend the existing fair use rights we have, which DMCA has severely impinged on our ability to exercise. We are also defending our rights to free speech and analysis, which DMCA has ALSO curtailed. (More info on the subject is available at http://www.eff.org/IP/DMCA/.) If you want to do a fair and balanced story on this, I suggest reviewing what happened when the MPAA tried to get VCRs banned/crippled, and then look at the similarities today. Hollywood has bought and paid for the acts of Congress in passing the DMCA, unfortunately for them, the Congresspeople it bought and paid for are no longer part of the majority. Further, the lack of easy access to entertainment on-line and in PCs is a big part of the reason for the current tech slump. The current administration, and the necessary powers in Congress (John McCain) seem to recognize this (as well as having no love lost for the almost uniformly left-wing media), so the group your piece was a thinly disguised press release for should turn their efforts to figuring out how to exploit digital media, rather than trying to put the digital genie back in the bottle. For some history of what happens to those who try to use the rule of law to staunch technology that renders their business model obsolete, I advise reviewing the effect of the laws that required a red flag to be carried in front of cars, passed at the behest of horse-cart manufacturers. Sure, it slowed the adoption of the automobile, which was not good for the economy, but in the long term, it was totally ineffective in protecting the group that lobbied so hard for it. In fact, it can be argued that by giving the incumbent industry a false sense of protection and security, it prevented them from working on exploiting the new technology, and as a result they, and the communities in which they operated, were relegated to the economic scrap heap. The analogy in the digital age is that music and movies WILL be provided, without copy protection, by someone, and machines that play them will be available. Even in those jurisdictions where such machines are supposedly illegal, it will be fairly easy to get or make them, because in order to make things profitable at a consumer level you inevitably have to make them from the bottom rung of components, and Moore's law shows that 18 months later, that will be the same price point at which you can get what is currently the most expensive. The only thing the US is doing with these efforts to use the law is ensuring, as with cryptography (the efforts to cripple crypto throughout the 1990s were a dismal failure that have resulted in the leaders in the field all being outside the US), that the economic benefits will flow elsewhere. This is especially troubling for music and movies, since those are a lucrative market that the US currently dominates, but it is inevitable if the current course of action is followed. A better idea would be for the entertainment industry to recognize that the Internet, Multimedia PCs, MP3 players, etc., provide a more convenient way for people to enjoy content. Broadband delivery makes impulse buying even easier, and reduces their cost of distribution to near zero. While it would be possible for people to download large numbers of songs to their home hard drives and then copy those to their friends, or share them a-la-Napster, if it is more convenient to do it legitimately, and the cost is not prohibitive, people will, in general, do the right thing. It is currently entirely possible for someone to make a good copy of a video tape that they rent from Blockbuster, or even to tape from HBO, and keep it to see again and again, or give it to their friends, but what percentage of people do? When you can rent a movie or get pay-per view for $2-$5 a show, why bother? I'm surprised at the MPAA's involvement in things like the DVD-CCA (which isn't about copy protection, BTW, you can make perfect copies of DVDs all you want without breaking CSS, CSS is about localization and staged releases based on geography, which is a stupid idea that should have ended when making prints of movies ceased to be a problem), given their experience with Videos, which they opposed, now representing nearly 40% of their revenues. The music industry could work on the same model, if they would just get their heads out of the sand and figure out how to USE technology, rather than fight it. In any event, I realize that this has been somewhat long, but I hope it gives you the impetus to go back, do some better research, and start covering this very important area in the way you do most other things: Fair and Balanced.

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