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CBDTPA / SSSCA Won't Be Passed This Year, Say Leahy 240

filrock writes "It looks like we'll have a little breathing room before the CBDTPA/SSSCA becomes law. Senator Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is against the bill. Read the article on Wired. Good to see someone in the Senate with some common sense."
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CBDTPA / SSSCA Won't Be Passed This Year, Say Leahy

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  • Real common sense would prevent it from being passed at all
  • And I was so looking forward to owning pre-ban computers!
  • by dattaway ( 3088 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @05:20PM (#3255789) Homepage Journal
    They are working on a better offer we can't refuse.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 30, 2002 @05:21PM (#3255791)
    Leahy will only pass a bill with such a name as the JLTDMCAWWTTTAAOYRAMAP (Just Like The Digital Millenium Copyright Act, We Will Try To Take Away All Of Your Rights As Much As Possible)
  • by chennes ( 263526 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @05:22PM (#3255796) Homepage
    This only delays it a year, which is a notoriously short amount of time. We can't say to ourselves "Good - now I can go back to bed." This give all of us another year to deluge our representatives with letters expressing the danger of this legislation. We can't keep relying on people like senator Leahy to save our asses for us. WRITE!!
  • by Jouster ( 144775 ) <.slashdot. .at. .angelfaq.com.> on Saturday March 30, 2002 @05:22PM (#3255803) Homepage Journal
    It has been the case, on several occasions, that bills have been sent to the "wrong" committee to avoid a hostile chair. Since the Speaker (who decides where bills go) is Republican and is known to be tightly linked with Hollywood, this seems a very real possibility. The only thing stopping it is that the bill has already been assigned, but when the next round of bills comes to the fore, watch for incorrect assignment to occur.

    Jouster
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 30, 2002 @05:29PM (#3255838)
      Just want to set your facts straight: The Hollings bill is a Senate bill; there is no Speaker in the Senate, only a Majority Leader, who is a DEMOCRAT -- the party closer to Hollywood. You can bet the Republicans, who get less that 30% of what Democrats get in soft-money from Hollywood, will favor tech (really big-business) over content (somewhat big-business).

      Slacker

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Speaker (who decides where bills go) is Republican and is known to be tightly linked with Hollywood

      Except that the vast majority of the sponsors of this bill are Democrats. As were the big cheeses behind the DMCA.

      I understand why you think that Republicans are evil incarnate. I can't understand why you apparently don't feel the same way about Democrats.
      • The republicans however arent as educated evil.
        Bush and his friends dont really know how to handle technology at all, then you have the democrats who understand the technology but want to control it like China.

        Both sides are wrong, we dont really have a side which understands the technology yet understands our rights. We need a new party in government.
      • The dangerous thing here is that this issue is not split along party lines like most others. It all depends on who gets money from the entertainment industry, not who is a Democrat or Republican. If you start thinking of it along party lines, you will end up missing half the sponsors of the bill.
    • Since the Speaker (who decides where bills go) is Republican and is known to be tightly linked with Hollywood, this seems a very real possibility.
      First, the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert (R-IL), has absolutely nothing to do with what bills get discussed in the Senate!

      Second, maybe you should do a little research before you make accusations. This list [opensecrets.org] of the top 20 industries that contributed to Hastert doesn't even include the entertainment industry. Compare that to the contributor list [opensecrets.org] of the CBDTPA's author, Sen Hollings (D-SC), which lists TV/Movies/Music as the 2nd highest.
    • Well, this is actually the Senate, which means it's the Majority Leader, Gephardt, and he's a Democrat.

      But, yeah, he's linked to the entertainment industry. They're his #8 contributor, as can be seen here [opensecrets.org]

      He's, in fact, the third-highest reciever of media contributions in the Senate (TV/Movies/Music #3.)

  • by dciman ( 106457 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @05:25PM (#3255813) Journal
    Now, someone in the congress should take notice to the obsurd proposal the RIAA has to charge extra fee to internet raido stations. The Screen Savers had the founder of WOLF FM on the other night talking abotu this issue and it amazed me. The guy does this out of his own pocket basically and already pays the normal fees that any other broadcast radio station pays. Now they want to charge him MORE than that, on a per user basis that is retroactive back to 1998!!! He would have to literally pay millions of dollars if he wanted to stay broadcasting.

    This is all about the RIAA wanting to put indepent people out of business...period. They want to control every outlet that consumers have to get content.... and it is disturbing. People need to get their haeads out of their asses and stop this. Call your Senator daily....write letters....send email... and spread the work. We shoudn't have to deal with this "everything in the world must be copy protected crap."
    • What's to stop people buying imported non-copy protected goods? I mean any law that tries to just have blanket copy protection is written by someone nieve, misguided or both!
    • 'The Sons of Liberty'

      The way you describe the situation sounds alot like the storyline you get at the end of the game... I guess our political problems are so bad that people in a country on the other side of the planet are making videogames base on it. :P
    • Now, someone in the congress should take notice to the obsurd proposal the RIAA has to charge extra fee to internet raido stations.

      They aren't trying to charge "internet radio stations" a dime. They are just trying to overcharge people who broadcast their (RIAA's) stuff. If you are not engaging in promoting RIAA products, you don't pay RIAA anything.

      That's why I don't give a flying fuck what happens to the broadcasters that are whining about this: because they're just working for the RIAA anyway.

      If you're actually doing a worthwhile broadcast, then you already have your neighborhood underground metal band's free permission (or at worst an incredibly cheap license) to broadcast their music (or you're broadcasting your own content) so this doesn't affect you.

      It is a complete non-issue for everyone except RIAA tools.

  • by Screaming Lunatic ( 526975 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @05:27PM (#3255825) Homepage
    Leahy says he will block the bill, but he doesn't state why. What are his intentions? Does he feel the bill is just a plain bad bill or is their some lobby group he is looking out for? I think it's usually the latter when senators try to block bills. Or it could be just partisan politics. PK
    • I doubt it's partisan politics, since 5 of the 6 sponsors are Dems, and Leahy is a Dem.

      OK, we've got a reprieve. Now USE THE DAMN TIME WISELY!!!!
    • by SomeoneYouDontKnow ( 267893 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @05:43PM (#3255949)

      Leahy is an oddity in Congress. He's someone who seems to have his principles and sticks to them. He really seems to understand that there's such a thing as the First Amendment.

      I wonder if there's a chance that Slashdot could do an interview with him. I'd like to see that happen.

      • As I recall, this came up with the anti-flag-burning amendment as well. Though he had (along with most people) supported the amendment in previous years, last year he spoke out against it at a veteran's rally and voted against it, since he said it wasn't worth weakening the Bill of Rights over.
      • As a Vermonter, I have heard nothing but good things regarding personal repies to e-mails by my friends and family. The Senator is also known as a savvy web user and his site can be found here [senate.gov]. I would like to see his responses to Slashdot's questions also.
      • by tfoss ( 203340 )
        Amen.

        Makes me proud of my Vermont heritage. Remember The other senator [senate.gov] from Vermont caused a pretty big stir when he stuck to his principles [senate.gov] as well.

        Leahy is one of the few politicians who can give politics a good name. In high school, he came to speak to our black history class (mind you, a class of 15 people, not the whole school, not an assembly) and discussed racism and politics. From that time on, I have had immense respect for him, while his policies [senate.gov] and actions such as this only deepen it.

        -Ted

  • by JordanH ( 75307 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @05:33PM (#3255881) Homepage Journal

    If it comes up next year, it will be after the midterm election. Congressmen are a bit more easily swayed by grass-roots campaigns before the election.

    What this means is that we really need to spend the time getting [digitalconsumer.org] organized and involved [eff.org].

  • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) <jmorris@bea[ ]rg ['u.o' in gap]> on Saturday March 30, 2002 @05:33PM (#3255884)
    A Democrat that still believes in the Constituition! Just shows they aren't all like Fritz "the Senator from Disney" Hollings. Keep writing those cards and letters folks, but send them to the Senator from Vermont in the form of thank you notes. He will now be the subject of extreme lobbying efforts by Hollywood and the DNC so he could use some encouragement.
  • Interesting... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lie as cliche ( 266319 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @05:42PM (#3255942) Homepage
    ...considering the source. Isn't Wired owned by Viacom, which also owns Paramount / Blockbuster / Showtime / UPN etc.? How nice to be reassured by corporate film interests that we can stop worrying about copy protection initiatives for a while.
  • I think the Republicans could really use this as ammunition against the Dems. It would be easy to flashback to the moral majority days and start trumpeting that those "godless Democrats are the handmaidens of the immoral movie industry." It's the lever Republicans need to deflect attention away from their role in the Enron scandal.

    IMHO, the U.S. needs one of those hidden reset buttons to set everything back to factory (i.e., founders') defaults. We are truly FUBAR.

  • by loucura! ( 247834 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @05:49PM (#3256003)
    Most of the USian population could care less about time-shifting, or space-shifting, they don't care about fair use rights, they just want their entertainment in pre-packaged slices, like 'American' cheese.

    Buuuuut...

    Most of the population 'hates' pr0n, especially the Southern Baptist Convention and their ilk.

    Too fight the CBDTPA, we should mount a campaign against it claiming that it protects the illicit profits of pornographers, after all, what is most traded on the Gnutella network?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 30, 2002 @05:50PM (#3256009)
    The point of this bill wasn't to get passed, it was to make the next bills concerning this topic look less radical. I'm not going to find the link but in a recent cnet article they said how "Fritz" Hollings was a powerful influence because of his ability to point out an extreme and then get an alternative that's not quite as radical passed.
    • I actually did read this bill. If a bill like this MUST be passed one way or another, this was the bill we would have wanted to go through. It did have alot of good stuff in there. It required open source (although that part wasn't defined properly for legal format - a sign that the whole thing was BS as you said) and that the protections were required to not hamper generation of your own files. The description basically said that popping in something cheezy like alot of SDMI implimentations we have seen is simply not acceptable.

      The 'less radical' alternative they may pass later will almost certainly be worse than this bill.

  • by coltrane679 ( 118528 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @05:53PM (#3256037)
    which would mean that Leahy is OUT of his control position. A third of the Senate is up for grabs in November, and there is only a one seat difference now (and, as you might recall, the Democrats only have control now because the Senator from Vermont, Jeffries, switched parties last year). There is also a possibility that Sen. Miller of Geaorgia, a Democrat, may switch to the Republicans. I believe the Republican Senator who would take Leahy's position is Sen. Hatch of Utah.

    As a libertarian I really don't take a partisan view of such things--I view the Republicans and Democrats like the Bloods and the Crips, or the Corleone and Tattaglia families. I am pretty sure, however, that the DMCA passed the Senate (and House) while they were both controlled by Republicans, with Hatch then in the position that Leahy has now. Of course it was signed into law by Clinton, a Democrat. See my point about the Bloods and the Crips...?

    • by Chris Johnson ( 580 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @06:20PM (#3256236) Homepage Journal
      Well now that's interesting, because Orrin Hatch is not happy about what happened to the DMCA he helped to create, and he has NO love for the entertainment industry. This is the guy who has been in support of Napster. I think it is extraordinarily unlikely that he would support this in any way.

      Rather nice that no matter who ends up in the control position, they don't trust the entertainment industry (they'll take the money, but it doesn't guarantee 'results', evidently)

      • Well now that's interesting, because Orrin Hatch is not happy about what happened to the DMCA he helped to create, and he has NO love for the entertainment industry. This is the guy who has been in support of Napster. I think it is extraordinarily unlikely that he would support this in any way.

        Not happy about how the DMCA is being used eh? WTF. He supports Napster yet drafts a bill that destroys any chance of a service like napster ever being used. I think Sen. Hatch has pulled of a nice spin campaign to sway voters. SOmethign like this:

        • Take Hollywood's/recording industry/software industry's money. Draft/Pass bill
        • Decry what they are using your bill for. Claim it was never intended for that purpose
        • Tell all your constiuents you will 'fix' it if you get reelected...
        • GO TO 1
  • by HanzoSan ( 251665 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @05:59PM (#3256080) Homepage Journal
    Someone set up a non profit of some sort, allow us to donate money, I'll donate $5, everyone here donate $5, then when morpues and others go down we link to that site, millions donate $5, next thing you know we will have millions of dollars.

    We use this money to create ads, the ads will tell the public whats going on, how they wont have freedom on their computer anymore. Put the ads on MTV, and on shows college kids watch, let them start a real grassroots movement.

    We just need to get the word out.
    • Someone set up a non profit of some sort, allow us to donate money, I'll donate $5, everyone here donate $5, then when morpues and others go down we link to that site, millions donate $5, next thing you know we will have millions of dollars.

      The music and entertainment industry can clearly outspend us on this issue.

      If we are going to collect millions of dollars, I would rather see this money go to the Electronic Freedom Foundation [eff.org]

      We don't have to wait for anyone to setup donations. You can donate/join the EFF right now. [eff.org]
      • When we protest, they'll call us unAmerican communists, with pictures of nazis and hitler on channels like MTV and so on.

        Just like the "Dont do drugs or support terrorism "commercials.

        Sure we should support eff, but we still need to advertise.
    • Collect money for issue ads. Great idea! Free speech! Grassroots movement!

      Meanwhile, the Congress has just passed Campaign Finance Reform that the president has promised to sign. It'll take effect right after the 2002 November elections, before the CBDTPA/SSSCA will come up again.

      CFR will make it illegal to run issue ads 60 days before election day. Somehow, we're all worked up about the CBDTPA, but when Congress attempts to rewrite the Constitution and curtail free speech right, it gets ignored here. In the post CFR world, grassroots movements are going to have to organize differently than sending your 5$ in the the EFF or other organization that you'll hope will run issue ads to get the word out.

      I applaud Leahy for opposing the CBDTPA, but he's a supporter of CFR in it's present form [truthout.com]. I give him a failing grade for protecting our basic rights, but he's in good company with practically the whole Democratic Party, John "Keating 5, stop me before I sell out again" McCain and George W. Bush.

  • Leahy's top contributor is the Entertainment industry [opensecrets.org] at $150,000. Maybe he's just mad that Fritz got $260,000 [opensecrets.org]!
  • by overlord2 ( 136876 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @06:18PM (#3256214)
    OK everyone -- I already wrote both of my senators (one of which in on the Judiciary Committee), but it would appear that the Committee wants more comments.

    So, in addition to posting here -- post here too!!

    Comment form for the Judiciary Committee [senate.gov]

  • HEY!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Cat ( 19816 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @07:43PM (#3256793)
    Is it possible, JUST POSSIBLE, that some of those letters found their way to the Distinguished Senator from the Great State of Vermont, and that he actually read them and was persuaded by them????

    Could it be that the government is working???

    Could it be that those who govern are actually listening to the people they took an oath to represent????

    <sarcasm>I'm... I'm.... I'm shocked!! </sarcasm>

    This could very well be a good example of just how effective the citizens' voice can be in shaping the future of the nation and its laws. Don't forget the other two branches of government, either.

    Just a small observation.
    • Re:HEY!! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Saturday March 30, 2002 @09:20PM (#3257338) Homepage
      I'll point out, as someone who has spent a lot of time in northern New England, that one part of being an elected representative, particularly a senator, is being accessable and responsive. Vermont is odd, too, because it has more senators than representatives, so Leahy and Jeffords each stand for roughly 300,000 people. That's a very small voting population, which means each person counts more, and even a couple thousand letters means a lot. Trust me on this one: If Leahy had supported this bill, and someone in Vermont found out about it, he would have been in serious trouble. Vermont is split between liberals and libertarians, neither of whom would like what they saw in this bill. So yes, in some places citizens actually affect their 'representatives' votes.
  • good cop/bad cop (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Just another variation on good cop/bad cop. This is an election year. What do politicians need? Money(and a bitchslap, but that's beside the point). How do we raise money? Let's introduce a bill that a big industry/heavy contributor really wants. Let's get hearings. Make noise. Shake the money tree.

    Now that the money's been shaken loose, lets look at reality. This could cost us votes. Many seats will be won or lost by slim margins. Can't pass this bill this year. Or let the debates continue closer to the election, some sheep may actually have memories...

    Did we get the headlines/attention/money we needed from Hollywood? From Sony? From Disney?
    OK, now lets bury this sucker. We'll bring it up next year. Not an election year. We can pass a modified version then. Shake more money loose. Fill the coffers with honoraria. And shift donations to slush fund/campaign workers cash payment fund.

    This is Congress.

    They knew exactly when they would introduce this bill. Exactly when they would have hearings on this bill. Exactly when they would get the money. Exactly when they would kill this bill for this election cycle. And already have a target for re-introduction next year, so they can insure that money tree will grow new greens.

    Seventy year old senile old men couldn't give a rat's petuty about low level controls on hard drives. They just wanna shake that money tree. And wield the power. Be it in congress, or on the local co-op board. That's all they have left. They can't chase interns around the chambers any more. Bad publicity is detrimental to their re-election efforts.
  • by Voivod ( 27332 ) <cryptic@@@gmail...com> on Saturday March 30, 2002 @08:56PM (#3257259)
    I'm sure it'll just end up in a wastebin somewhere, but I just wrote the following letter to Diane Feinstein, who is my representative.

    ---------

    Dear Mrs. Feinstein,

    I'm just writing to let you know that I will not be voting for you in the next election. I've been a Californian all my life, and have always voted on Democratic party lines. However, due to your shamefull sponsorship of the so called "Digital Television Promotion Act" which is a direct attack on not only the technological innovation which makes the state you represent great, but also attack on the lives and careers of millions of the citizens you represent, I will never again vote for you.

    Looking at the giant campaign contributions you have received from media groups, I somehow doubt that your decision was actually based on considering the pros and cons of the bill. In the unlikely event that you are actually interested in facts on the situation, I beg you to do a little research into the repeating, inevitable reaction that media groups have shown throughout this century to new technologies, from VCRs and digital audio all the way back to the original record players, change threatens the pocketbooks of these industries, and they fight with all their power against these ultimately unstoppable trends. The sad thing is that in almost every case these dinosaurs ultimately benefit from these trends in reaching broader audiences with more interesting products.

    Are you blind to the fact that this last cycle was fought just 20 years ago, and that expensive Senators such as yourself rallied along side the movie industry to fight off the horror of the VCR, which (they claimed) would bring an end to American culture in waves of piracy? Instead, now billions of dollars each year are added to the banks of these same media companies because of that innovaction which they fought blindly to stop. What happened to that world where every living room was to feature a "copying device" (VCR) which would drain the entertainment industry dry? Today, the cast is the same, the script is the same, but the new terror is the threat of that den of piracy known as the Internet.

    Looking back, you may see your own reflection in the voices of senators from 20, 50 or even 80 years ago, who having found themselves solidly in the pockets of these frightened elephants proclaimed that no effort should be spared to protect these monied interests from the horrors of change. Have some shame and reconsider your foolish stand with them, so that they will again wake up and take advantage of this new medium instead of fighting it. In any case, you have lost my vote, and it will be a happy day for me when you are out of office.

    Sincerely,
  • by IQ ( 14453 )
    This looks like a classic bit of diversion. OK Geeks its ok now - stop making so much noise. Then when you lease expect it... Am I paranoid? No. I just know that Hollywood paid Lots of Dinero for this bill. And it will pass. Just when you least expect it. Maybe it will be the House version this time with Yet Another Acronym Crap sprinkled on top.

  • It's a shame to see the Democrats commit the final p-off to the Populists it absorbed a century ago. I'm wondering if it might be high time to create a new Populist Party for the 21st century. A party that fights for public interests and the public domain. A party that fights overextended corporatism and wins. A party that's centrist, practical and a breath of fresh air!

    I must be dreaming... :)

  • ...they just want bigger bribes in from the music/movies companies.
    • Here is a level that this bill doesn't make sense on that most people don't bring up.

      Hollywood thinks they can make a ton of $ by making a multimedia machine, but they have all failed in the marketplace. (CDi and DivX) People don't want stripped computers and restricted players. They want the 'real thing.'

      So now they are trying to force us to buy their multimedia player machines via force of law. The computer hardware industry picks up the tab for the funky hardware, and Hollywood gets the profet of selling the restricted media.

      Well, there is one thing wrong with that plan. The computer hardware industry is in trouble; why buy a 1.5 ghz machine when a 350mhz machine can run word and play mp3s? The comp hardware industry is having trouble selling superior hardware right now; it certainly can't sell 'restricted' hardware! IOW, the industry can't get people to buy better hardware, they dont have a chance of getting people to buy inferior hardware. They simply won't buy; they will keep playing mp3s and typing in word on their perfectly fine 650mhz or 350mhz or whatever. It whether the protections are effective or a pain in the neck isn't really important. What is important is that people don't like things that are 'restricted,'that normal people ask the local nerd what computers to get and that right now nobody feels like they MUST get a new computer.

      If the US public is forced to either buy 'restricted' computers or none at all, it will be none at all for several years. This could quite easily bury the computer hardware industry in the US, which in tern hurts the software industry.

      So exactly what political party wants to pass the bill that destroys our tech economy?

  • Here's Leahy's 14 March 2002 testimony [senate.gov] from his site. Basically, he says that the agrees with Hollywood on everything except government intervention. He says that government shouldn't get involved because it's "not close enough to the marketplace" to regulate DRM. Fair 'nuff.

    Talks at the end that the gov't is "ready to help move these private sector discussions to a timely conclusion." Since that Zinni guy's not doing anything, think they'll send him in?
  • by JDizzy ( 85499 )
    I still don't understand why the MPAA et'all need this law? I mean isn't the DMCA enough. Can the media companyts still create secure hardware without the law? If the media companies created a new hardware platform with built-in watermarking, digital signatures, and encryption... would it not be proptected with the existing DMCA if anybody attempted to research, or study the device? I'm very unlcear why this law is needed when the media companies are free to create any hardware of their dreams. Why would they need to destroy the areana of general purpose computing? To force somebody to add security to any device that can store bits is a very fundamental thing! Thanks in advance for any answers. =)
  • A better title for this article:
    "Leahy extorts future campaign contributions from RIAA, MPAA, and all major media corporations, ensuring the continuation of his political career."

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. -- Lazarus Long

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