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Copyright [CBDTPA] Bill Universally Rejected 506

smcavoy writes " Globe Technology is carrying a article about the CBDTPA. "We haven't received one e-mail in support of the Hollings bill," said Judiciary Committee spokeswoman Mimi Devlin. "It seems like there's a groundswell of support from regular users." I wonder if the technology industry was pro CBDTPA, would we be hearing as many bad things about it, in the press?"
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Copyright [CBDTPA] Bill Universally Rejected

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  • Information (Score:4, Informative)

    by BrianGa ( 536442 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:23PM (#3319455)
    Information on the Security Systems Standards and Certification Act itself is available here [216.110.42.179].
  • Woohoo! (Score:4, Funny)

    by 11thangel ( 103409 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:24PM (#3319467) Homepage
    I guess all those people from my CS classes that were mailbombing congress with "SCREW THE CBDTPA" weren't JUST trolls...

  • by clarkgoble ( 241742 ) <clark@lextek.com> on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:25PM (#3319468) Homepage
    The control that media conglomerates have on the press is vastly overstated. Generally I think the press does an adequate job. The superficiality of the press' reporting is due more to the time constraints we, the readers, put them under. You try to gather a huge amount of interviews and information in a few hours. I'm not saying the press is fully accurate, but the problem is that accuracy takes time. By the time that thoughtful analysis can be done, most people no longer care. Further if the press tends towards sensationalism (including in these copyright issues) it is because we the readers tend to go for that angle more.

    i.e. quit the gripping about the press only reporting what MS or so forth want.
    • I don't recall the media covering the DMCA, and that was pretty damn sensational. I know that they dumb it down quite a bit because they think we're all stupid in America, and toss in lots of news about the music and movie industries and hype issues for the same reason, but they've definitely dropped the ball rather conveniently on issues at times that would paint their owners in a bad light.
      • I don't recall the media covering the DMCA, and that was pretty damn sensational. I know that they dumb it down quite a bit because they think we're all stupid in America

        Or maybe it's because of the fact that not only are most of the major media outlets controlled by massive conglomerates (<sarcasm>thank you FTC for giving a shit about antitrust issues</sarcasm>) that have a stake in the *AA, but they know damn well that if the public knew anything about these issues, they would be opposed. And if the public became opposed in large enough numbers as could happen here, the issues might not pass. The corporations can't have that happen, now, can they?
    • by Sarcasmooo! ( 267601 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:55PM (#3319672)
      I would [barnesandnoble.com] tend [cjr.org] to disagree [kuro5hin.org].

      The press has always been responsible for it's own failure or success. You can't expect people to regulate it, or steer it in the right direction, when people can only possibly learn of it's misdeeds and mistakes through *gasp*, THE PRESS! The media dips into sensationalism because it allows itself to be driven by profit and whatever it's ratings are, they're NEVER enough. Not ALL people are going to care about what's on the news, it's as simple as that. You can't ruin the news trying to cater to idiots who don't care what's going on outside their small world, and yet, that's exactly what's happened. Sept. 11th should've been a wake up call for the media, as well. I don't know how people could stand for that kind of coverage. Anyone who's watched serious news like the BBC might agree. It was no less than 20 minutes after the planes hit, that NBC had created a 'music video' for the tragedy, with slides of fire, explosions, and people covered in ash flying across the screen as corny, dramatic music played in the background. Despite everything that was happening, it still made me want to turn off the television.

      And I think a lot of people are sick and jaded by the nature of our news media, but it's hard to say if anyone will ever know how big this problem is because, again, they'd have to hear about it from the news media.
      • by jafac ( 1449 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @06:10PM (#3319780) Homepage
        IIRC, NBC was just copying off of the VERY successful model CNN pioneered for the Gulf War. Don't you remember the Gulf War? The event that propelled CNN to it's skyrocketing success? They had their own Gulf War logo, their own Gulf War theme song - da works. Prior to the Gulf War, CNN was really not taken very seriously as a news organization at all. But the fact that people could turn to them 24 hours a day for the latest coverage, and the fact that they had guys IN Baghdad the night the bombing started, I think were the real reasons CNN became so popular. But I guess when copying success, they'd rather focus on the logos and theme songs. Quite pathetic, really.
    • The press in the US is definitely biased towards large corporations. The media bias manifests as a lack of substantive reporting on issues that give corporations a black eye. The reason is that media conglomerates are supported by advertising. Guess who spends the most cash on advertisements?

      And this problem is getting worse now that media conglomerates are getting into other businesses. A journalist is going to get even more pressure to ignore transgressions of the parent corporation.
  • Never give up (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tenman ( 247215 ) <slashdot DOT org AT netsuai DOT com> on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:26PM (#3319481) Journal
    This is a great day in the US. Not that our technology legislation is that much to be proud of, but today is a great day.
    • Yes, this is a great day in US history. I was just telling someone that I didn't think that public outcry could muster enough strength to make a difference in any given arena, and here I am proven wrong less than a day later. I am very suprised, especially given that I was almost certain that people who held the same opinion as I do regarding technology legislation were in the minority.
      • I hate to be the cynic to rain on your parade, ok, I don't realy hate it, but it sounds more polite to start off that way.
        This was not a victory of the little guy over the huge corp. With heavy hitters like Intel lined up against this bill, its more like a Battle of the Titans than David vs. Goliath. I doubt the yelling and screaming of the masses had anything near the influence of the dollars of the tech sector. While I agree that this is still a great result, I just don't think we should be deluding ourselves about the reasons behind this victory.


        • I doubt the yelling and screaming of the masses had anything near the influence of the dollars of the tech sector.


          While I agree that having Intel on "our" side was the major reason the CBDTPA is going down, I think the yelling and screaming of the masses didn't go unnoticed:


          "We haven't received one e-mail in support of the Hollings bill," said Judiciary Committee spokeswoman Mimi Devlin.


          Keep up the yelling and screaming!
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:26PM (#3319484) Homepage Journal
    I'd much more like to see Hollings' career go down in flames. Can concerned citizens still buy those mud-slinging political commercials right before an election? Or did they ban that in the last campaign finance reform package? I think the people of South Carolina need to be told that their guy is trying to make sure they'll never be able to tape another TV show or burn another mix CD for their car.
    • by JordanH ( 75307 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:45PM (#3319613) Homepage Journal

      Is Hollings up for reelection in November? If so, then the CFR that just passed is not an issue. The congressmen conveniently exempted the upcoming election from the provisions of the bill.

      If he's up in a subsequent election, you can still give to Hollings' opponent, that's "hard money" which had the contribution limits raised by CFR, who may or may not run mud-slinging political commercials.

      Unfortunately, you won't be able to run issue ads, with or without mud-slinging, about how absurd this bill is right before the election. No, that particular type of free speech has been elminitated by CFR. You can't speak your own mind on issues with media ads right before an election, no, you have to give to a candidate to do it for you.

      There's hope that CFR won't stand Judicial review.

      Hmmm... I wonder if I don't see a loophole. You could run as a third party candidate, on the ballet or not, and run ads that were essentially issue ads slinging all the mud you wanted. All done with "hard money".

      These silly soft money/hard money rules are not going to get the money out of politics, it's just going to move it around.

    • You can still buy mudslinging ads. The only reform that "might" happen will conveniently be enacted the day after this election.... Then after that the Supreme Court will declare it as unconstitutional as it violates the 1st Amendment.
  • by vkg ( 158234 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:26PM (#3319486) Homepage
    Remember the Clipper Chip? Encryption export restrictions? The DCMA? The SSSCA?

    The drive to regulate the internet and new technology in general, to force it back into the old way of doing things, isn't going away.

    Even if we beat this one, there will always be another. Don't get complacent.
    • by Picass0 ( 147474 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:57PM (#3319688) Homepage Journal
      Even if we beat this one, there will always be another. Don't get complacent.

      I can't help but notice the hammer keeps getting bigger.

      I keep feeling like there's a party and it's about to end.
    • Maybe we should push for new laws that explicitly allow certain things. It's harder to overturn an existing law than to pass a new one.
      • by pagsz ( 450343 ) <pagsz81@yahoo.com> on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @06:39PM (#3319932) Journal
        This is difficult on a couple of fronts. First, a law that has specific allotments would likely have trouble as technology evolveds, and as new technologies are introduced. Second, the media companies are looking for a law that blocks circumvention tools, not the actual act itself (as I understand it, I could be wrong). The media cartel and puppets (like Hollings) would surely find a way to slip it by existing laws.

        In my opinion, no new law is needed in the first place. Piracy is already illegal, why do we need a law that bans the tools? It's like banning guns or cars because they could be used to kill.

        What the media companies really need to do to protect their profit margins is offer the public something that pirated media canot . . . selection, quality, security (in relation to viruses, etc), preferably all three. Unfortunately, this is not likely. As is the case with MS, the media companies are better at litigation than innovation. It's also cheaper to buy legislation to protect your profit margin than it is to develop better quality.

        Now, for the more optmistic part of the rant . . .
        Thankfully, the American public (and technology industry) aren't stupid enough to allow a crap bill like this to pass. People aren't generally willig to give up their rights so some lawyer can fill his pocket. And as the bill puts the tech indusry's profit margin in danger, they naturally moved to kill it. Thankfully, the interest of the big tech companies is similar to the average consume r. . . to allow general-purpose computing to continue uninterupted by the idiocy of the media companies

        Now, back to pessimism . . .
        What we need to watch out for now are the seemingly "safer" bills that will follow. Having been defeated (or so it would seem) in the attempt to get it all at once, the media companies (and said puppets) will try again in increments.

        If this comment makes sense in any way, I apologize. It was not my intention,
    • digitalconsumer.org (Score:3, Informative)

      by Cardhore ( 216574 )
      DigitalConsumer.org is doing something about it. [digitalconsumer.org] We are advocating a Consumer Technology Bill of Rights that will positively assert a consumer's rights to fair use. The Bill of Rights will guarantee your ability to use your own digital media in the way that you choose. With the support of consumers, we are working to have the Bill of Rights passed into law. Our proposed Bill has already gained support from numerous consumers as well as prominent executives and venture capitalists, but there's a lot more that we need to do in order to let Washington know that this is important.
  • by petree ( 16551 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:27PM (#3319491) Journal
    I always have wondered about the actual effect that talking/writing to your representitives has had. It seems like, at least in this case, the decision against it was based almost entirely around citizen outrage. Although there was not the support from the technology sector that would be needed, it feels good to know that there is some balance of power that is not in favor entirely of the RIAA/MPAA. Mmmm...makes me feel all fuzzy inside to know that -all- my rights are not determined by corporate interests.
    • I always have wondered about the actual effect that talking/writing to your representitives has had.

      Agreed. This is one of those few times I actually got off my ass, read up on the info at the EFF and wrote Senator Leahay and Senator Hollings. I was polite but firm in my disgust of the bill. Seems like we did make a difference...I'm shocked and impressed.

    • A great victory for consumers. Congress held an inquiry, got swamped by all of our* emails opposing it, and figured that Mickey Mouse Hollings was nuts.

      Fair enough, we could have told them that for free. Oh wait, we did! Well done.

      Best part, Hollings can't understand why the tecchie companies won't cooperate with him. "please write me a DRM system for free" he asks, and all he gets back in return are attempted beatings with a clue-stick.

      *Your emails, not mine. Pity non-americans can't bug congressmen for this stuff that'll be applied worldwide, but we can go through the EFF.

    • Perhaps not. If you look at the history of the Children's Internet Protection Act [68k.org]... it or variants of it were submited to Congress at least 9 times over the course of 2.5 years, until it was finally passed as a rider on an appropriations bill.

      Also, there's the tactic of submitting a really extreme bill, which gets rejected, and then submitting a bill that's only moderately extreme, so senators are swayed by thinking "this one isn't so bad".

      This will be back. Mark my words.

  • by spookysuicide ( 560912 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:28PM (#3319498) Homepage
    At the end of the day, Campaign Donations from media companies like Disney and Universal only go so far. If enough voters are against something, elected representatives tend to vote against it as well. I would urge people to keep writing letters in protest of the bill, as they do seem to make a difference.
  • by czardonic ( 526710 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:29PM (#3319501) Homepage
    . . .to Hollywood to step up the "donations".

    Seriously. Since when do politicians listen to their constituents over deep pocketed industry types? I declare rumors of this bill's demise to be greatly exagerated.
    • by letxa2000 ( 215841 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:51PM (#3319645)
      Seriously. Since when do politicians listen to their constituents over deep pocketed industry types? I declare rumors of this bill's demise to be greatly exagerated.

      You need to understand that politicians listen to deep-pocketed industry types because they give them lots of money so they can fund their reelection campaign. All the industry blood money in the world isn't going to help their campaign one single bit if 50% (+1) of their constituents is pissed off at them.

      So politicians will only be swayed by the almighty buck as long as they can get away with it without perceiving a threat from the voting public. When the public speaks loudly, it speaks much louder than all the campaign contributions that could possibly be forthcoming.

      Don't give up. We, the people, have power. The problem is that we often don't excercise it and, in that void, corporate interests take over. If it's the Corporate States of America it's because we the people are not doing OUR job.

    • A number of yers ago, the speaker, when giving a speech to the Jrs would say:
      "If you can't drink there licqure, take their money and fuck their women, then vote against them, your in the wrong business."
    • Politicians always listen to their constituents. Normally, they don't hear from enough of their constituents to make a difference. In this case, however, it seems like the bill is sufficiently obvious that the constituents aren't overwhelmingly apathetic.

      Of course, in this case, the bill is also opposed by the majority of the deep-pocketted industries, which might be the real reason.
  • Whew! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by return 42 ( 459012 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:29PM (#3319502)
    Well, that's a relief. Won't have to worry about it now. Nosirree, it's dead, dead, dead. We can all relax.

    I hope no one here is dumb enough to hold this attitude until it really is dead...

  • For all the huffing and puffing I hear about Special Interest Groups, money changing hands, corruption, and the like, occasionally something Really Important comes up that renews my faith in our Government of Checks and Balances.
    • Oh, by the way. It's not REALLY dead yet.

      I'd say it's not dead until Mr. Hollings is...or perhaps not until Disney Co. is...

      The monkeys in Washington DC might have heard us, but believe me, they'll find another way to earn a good ROI on the money given them by the large corporate interests - public opinion be dammed!

      Cheers!
    • For all the huffing and puffing I hear about Special Interest Groups, money changing hands, corruption, and the like, occasionally something Really Important comes up that renews my faith in our Government of Checks and Balances.

      What exactly do you think a Special Interest Group is? Its a group of people who see an issue that they consider Really Important and come together to lobby hard about it. What exactly do you think the geek community (for want of a better term) has done over the Hollings Bill? Mass lobbying is a well used and effective form of Special Interest Group organization.

      Special Interest Groups are an inevitable and proper part of any democratic system. The systems without Special Interest Groups are those where most people have no say over how they are governed.
  • The CE Industry (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lysander Luddite ( 64349 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:30PM (#3319508)
    Hey the Consumer Electronics industry and the software industry isn't against DRM and copy protection per se. They just don't want to have the method dictated by the government.

    Remember MS received a patent on a DRM OS. They will use that to court everybody who wants to restrict information access, and use it internally to sell/control their own software.
    • Yes but if DRM isn't mandated by law Microsoft has nothing to go on.

      Their PR would be "Buy our great software with new feature to protect Hollywood and big record lables." vs. their competitors "Buy our software to listen to music and watch DVD's" or to put it another way "rip, mix, burn" ;-)
      • Perhaps. I agree that products that restrict content access will fail in a free market. But really, do we have a free market? If 90% of the consumer electronics market make DRM interoperable then I believe most people will continue to buy it. Not everybody, but a lot of people buy MS for no other reason then everybody else does.
    • As long as copy protection isn't government mandated, Microsoft's patents do diddly-squat for them. DRM OS implies building control management into the operating system...i'm sure you can think of plenty of ways to build DRM into a system without putting it in the operating system. The only function microsoft's patents were intended for is killing OSS in America if the CBDTPA passes.
      • If the DRM is at the OS level they can hide it legally via DMCA and trade secrets. The agreement between MS and the Feds allow DRM technologies specifically to not be released to anybody. Most peopel are not goign to be hackign around with system level components whereas if they can just attach a dongle to their USB port to disable DRM they will.

        You can bet the DRM OS will be Windows. Maybe not for another 3-5 years given MS timetables, but it *will* be Windows and not an addon.
    • All the people on Slashdot who wish Microsoft would go away should hope and pray they get in bed with RIAA and MPOA. That is the one thing that could kill them quickly.
  • "They seem satisfied to try to attack it in the press rather than trying to make it work," said Sen. Hollings spokesman Andy Davis.

    I'd be satisfied too, so far it looks to have been a pretty effective strategy. Let's hope it is successful enough to get this malignant bill killed at the earliest possible opportunity.
  • Yes, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zen Mastuh ( 456254 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:33PM (#3319534)

    Public opinion doesn't stop autocrats from making repugnant decisions (look at Nixon-Reagan's drug policies for historical perspective). These politicians have already been paid by their investors (RIAA, etc...) to manufacture their product (:%s/SSSCA/nom de jour/), so this bill will become law soon and a majority of Americans--the majority whose opinions match the opinions of their favorite television news personality--will come to believe it is a Good Thing®.

  • I really didn't think the Coyboyneal Big Diaper/Toilet Paper Act was something that should be passed by congress.
  • As the difficult-to-remember renaming of the SSSCA worms its wicked way through congress, I'm seeing a *lot* more press about it. With the exception of the SF paper, most of the articles I've seen about it have focused on the opposition to the bill rather than the 'new age of Broadband' Disney would like us to think they're trying to usher in.

    In fact, so many of those articles are getting so negatively slanted that it's becoming sensationalistic. Just like the lurid love affair the press had with O.J.'s (100% Not Guilty!) dirty deeds, the papers, newsrooms, and online news sites have picked up on something that's a 'winner' in terms of public outrage, tabloid sensationalism, and outright bribery.

    Can we hope for Gary Condit-esque levels of mudslinging? Dare we aspire to John Wayne Bobbit levels of exposure and discomfort?

    Fritz Hollings is getting his name dragged through the mud right now, and the press couldn't be happier than to have a new kicking dog in him and in the form of the CDBTPA or whatever the hell it's called.

    For once, sensationalism works for geeks....
    • It's not sensationalism. It's the truth. It's working through the entire web of implications coming out from what they want to do. All you have to do is start with the bill and play a few "what if" games and you get to scary things right away. I think we would be better off sticking to things that people can understand and care about, like not being able to videotape a wedding because you could record music as a side effect.

      Also, boycott Star Wars because this is only one little skirmish, and the companies will want everything forever, and they will keep trying to get everything forever, even if they have to get it in little bits over time. I think getting SW to tank would make a much bigger statement than thousands of letters being sent to Congress.
  • by Binky The Oracle ( 567747 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:34PM (#3319541)

    From the article:

    "They seem satisfied to try to attack it in the press rather than trying to make it work," said Sen. Hollings spokesman Andy Davis.

    Of course they didn't "try to make it work." Why would any tech company risk being associated with stripping the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens. I think the tech companies have recognized that the media conglomerates are going to get their way no matter what. Why lend credibility to the "solution" by participating in a sham process?

    Media companies did learn a valuable lesson with DiVX: don't trust your interests to consumer pressures - it's far more effective to buy legislation instead.

      • Why would any tech company risk being associated with stripping the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens.

      I don't think that tech companies are so terribly concerned with stripping the constitutional rights of US citizens as they are with stripping their products of functionality.

      That's why Intel was so down on this. They're smart enough to see that this bill would turn PCs into fancy DVD/CD players. They're not in that business, they're in the computer business and want to sell general purpose computers, which implies all those nasty things like editing, copying, transferring, communicating and other functionality that would be lobotomized by the provisions of this bill.

      It's not just the groundswell of public opinion against this that saves the day, but the opposition of the whole tech industry (I guess maybe Sony might be the exception), which is far larger than the entertainment industry, that (hopefully) spells doom for this bill.

    • by llywrch ( 9023 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @07:09PM (#3320074) Homepage Journal
      He received numerous phone calls, emails & letters from informed computer users & professionals stating in careful detail why this was a bad bill.

      And how did the esteemed senator respond? ``You're not one of my constituents, so I won't listen to you."

      BTW, why would someone moderate the parent comment ``Flamebait"? Sheesh!

      Geoff
  • ... not until the bill and its variants have been withdrawn! This is the worst time possible to develop a sense of complacency.
    • by Amazing Quantum Man ( 458715 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:43PM (#3319600) Homepage
      Sen. Leahy, chair of the Judiciary Committee, came down with an attack of good sense, and said that he won't let it out of committee [wired.com].

      It's dead... for this session at least, but you're right, we need to stay vigilant.
      • Sen. Leahy, chair of the Judiciary Committee, came down with an attack of good sense, and said that he won't let it out of committee.

        Good for his fellow Democrats. I don't think I'm alone in that I will not vote for any member of congress who votes for the CBDTPA. Actually, I will go out to the polls specifically to vote for the opponent of anyone who votes for this bill. Plus, I will actively campaign against any sponsor or strong supporter of the bill who happens to be a representative of my state or district.

        I wish Leahy had let it out of committee. It would make my job on election day that much simpler.

      • From the Wired article [wired.com] on Leahy's stopping CBDTPA, there's this nugget:

        "Also this week, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California) told Wired News he was drafting a House bill that would be similar to the CBDTPA."

        Looks like Mr. Schiff, the "representative from Disney", representing the mouse's backyard in Glendale, CA, also now needs to be slapped down. What saddens me is that it's reps from my own party (Dems) that are doing this. Just goes to show that whoever is paying for the candidacy gets to make the law. I'm willing to support someone else in the primary over this issue alone.

  • Do something (Score:4, Informative)

    by MxTxL ( 307166 ) <mlutter AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:37PM (#3319562)
    Be sure to check out the site [digitalconsumer.org] referenced in the article. They helped the effort, and apparently want to do more.
  • by Arethan ( 223197 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:37PM (#3319565) Journal
    "Until you have a positive assertion of what consumers' rights are, that debate is left in the hands of media companies' lawyers," said Mr. Krauss, who founded Excite, the now-defunct on-line portal.

    Excuse me, but last time I checked, my rights were inalienable and included everything that I didn't willingly give up for the good of society. It has nothing to do with what lawyers have deemed acceptable for me to have. If your business sense is as acute as your legal sense, it's no wonder your portal is now "defunct".
  • Interesting... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DickPhallus ( 472621 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:38PM (#3319574)
    I found this blurb interesting

    Media firms could also take a page from the antipiracy playbook of software companies, who concentrate on shutting down large, commercial piracy operations rather than trying to control individual users, he said.

    I would wager that it would be easier to buy a bill than it would be stop some companies like Kaaza or Morpheus...

    Or an even better idea... make digital music cheaper and more usuable.
  • by MongooseCN ( 139203 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:38PM (#3319576) Homepage
    "They seem satisfied to try to attack it in the press rather than trying to make it work," said Sen. Hollings spokesman Andy Davis.

    What did they expect?

    Hollings: I'd like to pass a bill that will take away all your rights to using digital media.
    Consumers: Hmm how about just some of our rights?
    Hollings: Will taking a way 2/3 of your civil rights be good?
    Consumers: Ok that works for us.
    • by Roland Walter Dutton ( 24395 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @07:37PM (#3320189)

      That is apparently uncomfortably close to the truth. Apparently the CBDTPA is mainly intended as a stalking horse [eff.org]. Its proponents don't seriously hope it to pass in anything like its current form, much as they would love if it did. It seems that what they're really aiming for at present is legislation specifically to enforce their plans for digital TV [eff.org]; after their opening demands have been rejected, they'll barter down to that. The resulting legislation will then be praised as the product of compromise and consensus. Both sides will claim a partial victory. And the studios will have exactly what they were hoping to get. Whenever they want some more, they'll simply repeat the process. Eventually it will become politically feasible to pass something like the current CBDTPA, since it will be possible to plausibly claim that it would only tidy up all the piecemeal copy-protection acts and amendments that by then will already be law.

  • by drew_kime ( 303965 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:43PM (#3319603) Journal
    Technology firms did not want to testify in the hearing, did not offer input while the bill was being drafted, and have offered plenty of criticism but little helpful suggestions since, a Hollings aide said.

    "They seem satisfied to try to attack it in the press rather than trying to make it work," said Sen. Hollings spokesman Andy Davis.


    How much evidence does he need that we don't want it to work? It is a law designed to prevent people from engaging in legal activities, at the sole discretion of corporate interests with no oversight. That's why no, we're most definitely not trying to make it work.
  • by entheon ( 561673 )
    What if you WANT to give it away for free? Is it cool that people pirate music? not really, I have, but as a musician I can say I'm less concerned with whether people buy my CD's than I am with whether they show up at my concerts.

    I'd rather have them get a copy of my CD for free, realize they like it and then want to see my concert. The box office is where much the killing is made. For musicians, at least those not on the top 40 - read, most of the musicians that exist - selling CD's is not gonna bring home the bacon. Seeing a live show is just not the same as listening to a CD, there's something about being there, the sheer volume and the whole experience that makes it different. Not that I was there but I doubt Woodstock '69 the complete CD set would have the moxy that the show itself did.

    so, to somehow stay on this story's topic, this bill goes against that which music and art is - freedom of expression and getting that expression to the general populace. I'm glad to see people standing up for this bill. think about it - because people want to make a buck they're forcing you to NOT give away your stuff for FREE.

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:48PM (#3319625)
    "[Tech firms] seem satisfied to try to attack it in the press rather than trying to make it [CBDTPA] work," said Sen. Hollings spokesman Andy Davis.

    <FLASHBACK>

    Imaginary interview with Hollings and Davis:

    Hollings: It's like the time we tried to legislate that pi=3, and these stupid tech forms didn't want to make it work! They kept doggedly insisting that it was this long number, like 3.14159something, and that it couldn't be expressed as a rational number!

    Davis: Yeah, I mean, they wouldn't even compromise on the issue - during Congressional testimony, we had Andy Grove of Intel on the stand, and we offered him "3.14?" He said, "no, it's pi" "22/7?" "No, pi is a transcendental number." Utterly ridiculous. As if good Christians should have to put up with this sort of new age Transcendentalist movement. Maybe in California, but not in South Carolina, by gum!

    Hollings: And the engineers were worse than the mathematicians. We got letters from all these so-called rational thinkers tryin' to convince us that simple things like the wheel and the suspension bridge weren't based on rational numbers! Can't they see that they're the ones being irrational about this?

    Davis: There's just no negotiating with technology people. They don't want to make it work, they don't even want to try to make it work. Why won't they even try to see things from our point of view? Hollings: So we're moving ahead with the legislation. They kept trying to get us to move from 3 to 3.14whatever? We subtracted double than their beloved 0.14159265whatever, and came up with 2.718281828. They can have pi=2.718 or nothing at all!

    Davis: They're bluffing when they say math won't work with our proposal. Maybe it'll just make a few things harder for them in the short term, but when the law makes pi=2.718, they'll have to innovate in order to build anything!

    Hollings: Yeah! Now we'll see who really knows how to promote engineering and mathematical innovation our children's schools!

    </FLASHBACK>

    • Looks like Alabama [communityvoice.com] and Indiana [jmas.co.jp] beat you to it. :)
  • by dcavanaugh ( 248349 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:51PM (#3319647) Homepage
    Now that our complaining has killed SSSCA and scored a direct hit on CBDTPA, we should go after Hollings by encouraging the geeks of South Carolina to hold him accountable for these bills in every public forum they can find. If he is voted out of the Senate, then other potential Disney appointees will realize that acting as an errand boy for the entertainment industry is not without risk. Turning him into a national laughingstock is amusing, but the only people who can make him go away are the people who put him there: the voters of South Carolina.

    According to opensecrets.org [opensecrets.org] he was elected in 1998, which means the next election is 2004. Is it mere coincidence or is the midpoint of a Senate term the ideal time to deal with the sleaziest bills that PAC money can buy?

    I find it really odd that this guy is a Democrat. I'm a Republican, and it's usually my guys who specialize in catering to anti-consumer interests like this. The Democrats ususally waste money on social programs and tax the hell out of the middle class to pay for it. He really should make up his mind: either be sleazy or counterproductive; it's not good to be both.
  • The battle at this point is only half done. As one user mentioned,...remember the DMCA, SSSCA..

    It might worthwhile to consider starting a grass roots effort to now oust Ernest Hollings.

    Need to let congressmen know that there are penalties for stupid legislation and perhaps other congressmen might think before doing this.

    This would be the "two" of the "one-two" punch.
    Then again geeks aren't known for fighting.....
  • by 0nion ( 536822 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:56PM (#3319682)
  • One article does not a victory make. Yes, it's comforting to hear that the politicians are (maybe) actually listening to their constituents, but that does not imply that the battle has been won. Keep up the fight. Keep writing the letters, sending the faxes and donating to Digital Consumer and EFF.

    And above all, don't become smug and complacent. We still have a long way to go.

    And remember, as long as the bill is still alive in Congress somewhere, it's still a threat.
  • by SmileyBen ( 56580 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:58PM (#3319696) Homepage
    I think things really have gone out of perspective. The thing that really needs to be remembered in all of this, is the fact that these bills really shouldn't be allowed to happen without support. The thing about copyright is that we have it because, believe it or not, people supposedly want it.

    Essentially, copyright is there to protect society from freeloaders - of course people that /really/ like some pop group / film maker / etc. will pay in an attempt to make sure they make more of their product, but society has agreed that it shouldn't fall to the obsessed few, but instead anyone who gains enjoyment from this sort of thing should contribute - in just the same way everyone should have to pay for trains, not just those that /really/ believe in mass-transport.

    The thing that is forgotten, however, is that this happens because society wants it. The moment the population decides that the cost / benefit proposition isn't good enough, they should be able to get rid of these laws. Hence, if people /really/ want to download music for free, and nobody is willing to pay for it, society should stop forcing people to. Perhaps some people will stop making music, but, as I say, there isn't some God-given right for them to do this for a living if society doesn't value it enough.

    So basically, whilst many things obviously aren't put to the vote, since copyright can only be defended on the basis that if people really think about it they support it, if people really don't it can't be defended. So if people are really against this sort of bill, it would be ridiculous to pass it.
    • Actually, copyright exists to ultimately enrich the public domain. Strange quasi-religous notions about the sinfulness of "getting something for nothing" really have nothing do with it.

      The government granted monopoly is only a means to achieve that end. No one is entitled to make money off of "intellecutal property".
  • by jafac ( 1449 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @05:58PM (#3319697) Homepage
    And who jumped on the bandwagon in a big way before any other industry? The music industry. When they converted everything from LP to CD. They had consumers throw out all their old equipment and music collections - and what the consumers got in return was, higher quality audio (of course, some audiophiles debate that. For the sake of argument, fuck them).
    What did the music industry get out of "going digital"? Remarkably lower production and manufacturing and shipping costs. Cheap digital sound processing equipment. Cheap razzle-dazzle digital effects processing. High quality mastering equipment, cheap. Easy to use production tools (cheaper studio labor). Cha Ching! this went right into the record companies' profits.

    However, they squeezed out the digital toothpaste, and once they realized that this allows people to make infinite perfect digital copies, they decided they maybe didn't want digital technology after all.

    RIAA-
    I'll tell you what. Switch back to vinyl. 'k? Really. It'll kill off the music pirates once and for all (shhhh! don't TELL them!!). I know that you lose all those nice benefits that the computer industry gave you with the commoditization of digital technology - but it will also save you from the ugly side effects of the commoditization of digital technology! Gasp! Everyone now has tools on their desktops to make infinite perfect digital copies at no cost!!

    Methinks you guys should have gone and taken a few computer classes before you bought into this whole "digital technology" thing.

    *snicker*
  • I've noticed a very cool trend lately: mainstream opposition to this bill. I've seen a number of letters to the editor and editorial columns and even overheard a few non-geek conversations, all trashing it. I even heard some discussion on talk radio last week.

    Today, however, I heard the coolest example yet. I flipped on the radio to one of the rock/alternative/metal stations I listen to, and the DJ was ranting about the CBPTPA and inviting listeners to call in. The callers were about as articulate as you'd expect (one of them was obviously *very* stoned), but they still made many of the same good points about this piece of crap legislation that you read on /. and other fora.

    Word is getting out -- and *nobody* likes this piece of crap bill, except the RIAA. Not even artists, as far as I can tell, and the RIAA would have us believe its for the musicians that they're doing this.

  • In other news... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Khaed ( 544779 )
    "We haven't received one e-mail in support of the Hollings bill," said Judiciary Committee spokeswoman Mimi Devlin. In other news: Duh. People (who use computers that would be stripped down by this) aren't going to run off to e-mail these idiots all happy about the fact Hollings has bent them over and is aiming for penetration.
    • "We haven't received one e-mail in support of the Hollings bill,...
      ...well except for this one from this guy named Three-one-three-three-t-three h-four-x-zero-r saying that we have been r-zero-zero-three-d, not sure what he meant by that" said Judiciary Committee spokeswoman Mimi Devlin.
  • by Crash Culligan ( 227354 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @06:04PM (#3319732) Journal
    Technology firms did not want to testify in the hearing, did not offer input while the bill was being drafted, and have offered plenty of criticism but little helpful suggestions since, a Hollings aide said.

    Can you blame them? The CBDTPA is really just like a gigantic unfunded mandate laid at the doorstep of the tech community with a note tied around it reading "Fix this for us and we'll let you live."

    Bear in mind how much effort it would take to DRM-safe all the computer equipment sold in the country, if not world. Proposed DRM standards would spring up from the ground like swarms of rabid fruitbats, and whenever equipment designed for these DRM systems barfed on legally purchased media, it would be the *tech* sector that gets stuck with the blame, not the *media* sector.

    The media sector tried to save itself money by drafting a bill to prevent piracy and whatnot, and save their income. No surprise there.

    Faced with the expense of all of this new DRM R&D, implementation, and fielding of complaints, the tech sector chose to fight it rather than allow it to pass, and save their income.

    This is probably one of the *few* things that defeated the bill: that all large corporations, not just the media hegemony, are typically greedy and lazy, in that order; I don't believe that grassroots action had anything to do with it.

    The bill will come back. It was the SSS-whatever, it became the CBDTPA, and it will metamorph into something else as long as the Senator From Disney is in office. In the meantime, the best thing we can do to the media companies' war chests is not fill them.

  • The second MP3 wave has yet to hit. How many of us can say our parents are actively downloading MP3's and burning them onto CD's? Answer: Very few. How many people do you know who have never burned an audio CD? Answer: Plenty.

    The first MP3 wave hit hard. Most technical savvy people have a large MP3 collection. When the second wave hits and MOST OF AMERICA uses MP3s, the US population will believe it's their *RIGHT* to download free music, and the MP3 revolution will be complete. Until that time, the MP3 revolution is vulnerable. Bottom line: Don't get too happy about the rejection of this copyright bill.

  • by SomeoneYouDontKnow ( 267893 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @06:12PM (#3319793)

    I think it's great that Congress is getting all these comments against the CBDTPA, but anyone who thinks it's dead is terribly naive. It won't be officially dead until the end of the Congressional term, and it can and probably will be reintorduced next year. The absolute worst thing we can do is to stop now. If we do, our opposition will soon be forgotten, and the bill will get pushed through.

    The best way to put this into perspective is to realize that we do have the power to raise awareness and get people's attention. This doesn't mean we've won. Far from it. It just means that the big media companies and their allies in Congress know we're here, and they'll now have to counter that. Does anyone honestly think that Jack Valenti will call up his buddy Fritz Hollings and say, "Fritz, we honestly didn't know that people would get so riled up over this. Look, we don't want to irritate our customers, so let's just pull this bill." Hell no! If they're talking about anything, they're discussing ways to put a positive spin on this monstrosity.

    Now is not the time to get complacent. That will doom us more than anything else. Keep sending those letters, making those phone calls, and talking with friends and colleagues. If we can get their attention by doing what we've done so far, we can do much more if we take this to the next level.

  • I'm glad to see that U.S. elected officials still have some common sense!
  • by Monkelectric ( 546685 ) <slashdot@NOSPAm.monkelectric.com> on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @06:33PM (#3319906)
    Thats what they want! They *never ever* expected this bill to pass. This is merely mis-direction so they can get what they want when no one is looking. Now we have to start all over -- find out what new bill is evil -- get the word out again. This is classic strategic manuvering. *Don't fall for it*
  • Hollings must go. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rev Snow ( 21340 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @06:52PM (#3319990)
    The only way a special interest group gets respect in Washington is to make a difference in elections. It's not enough to stop this bill. We must now defeat Hollings in his next election, making it clear that the SSSCA is the reason why. There need to be press stories in November 2004 about the important "geek lobby" that defeated Hollings, and how important it is that politicians consider their interests.

    That means become single-issue voters and supporters. Who here will pledge $2000 of hard money contributions to any candidate who opposes Hollings? Or the max you can afford? Cause that's what it will really take to change things. And it needs to be done even if that candidate has other positions you disagree with.

  • by SomeoneYouDontKnow ( 267893 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @07:01PM (#3320039)

    According to this NEWS.COM article [com.com], Gateway is going to be voicing its opposition to the CBDTPA. The best part is that they're going to begin airing a national TV spot on the topic of downloading and burning music. Doesn't look like it's going to directly reference the bill, but people will doubtless see it, and it will prime them for exposure to information about what's going on. I'd recommend that everyone here watch for the ad and see if it can be used as a reference when writing letters to newspapers or your Congressional reps.

    Definitely a good thing here.

  • by jp93023 ( 84606 ) <jim@NoSPAM.jperry.net> on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @07:03PM (#3320046) Homepage
    I think the DigitalConsumer.org movement is generally a good thing, but this:
    "For example, the group has called for a law that would specifically spell out consumers' "fair use" rights, such as the right to record TV shows for later viewing, or transfer a CD to a portable MP3 player."
    is the wrong approach. Asking for a law that enumerates specific rights leads to the those being the only rights. We should follow the pattern of the constitution and enumerate a specific, restrictive set of rights for content holders, then specifically state that all rights not enumerated for the copyright holders belong to the people.
  • by Elias Israel ( 182882 ) <eli@promanage-inc.com> on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @08:43PM (#3320469)

    NEWS FROM THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY
    2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100
    Washington DC 20037

    World Wide Web: http://www.LP.org

    For release: April 10, 2002
    For additional information:
    George Getz, Press Secretary
    Phone: (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222
    E-Mail: pressreleases@hq.LP.org

    New copyright protection bill would turn government into entertainment 'rent-a-cop'

    WASHINGTON, DC -- The Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA), a bill that would supposedly reduce digital piracy, should be rejected by Congress because it would turn the government into a "rent-a-cop" for the entertainment industry, the Libertarian Party said today.

    "The Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act will not only inconvenience consumers and throw roadblocks in the way of new technology, it will vastly expand the power of the government," warned the party's executive director, Steve Dasbach.

    "While the federal government may have a legitimate role in protecting copyrighted material, that role does not extend to acting as a technology rent-a-cop to protect the profits of huge entertainment corporations like Disney, Sony, and DreamWorks."

    Last week, Senator Ernest F. Hollings (D-SC) filed S-2048, the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act.

    The bill would make it a federal crime -- punishable by five years in jail and a $500,000 fine -- to sell software or hardware that does not contain shielding measures that make it impossible to play or copy protected materials like songs, movies, or TV shows.

    The bill's provisions would apply to computers, video-editing software, CD players, VCRs, MP3 players and software, DVD players, and televisions, among others. The copyright-protection technology would be determined either by manufacturers and entertainment companies, or mandated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

    The CBDTPA is allegedly designed to stop digital piracy, which has become an increasing problem now that everything from songs to movies are in digital form, and downloadable from the Internet.

    But the CBDTPA goes far beyond any reasonable role the government might have in protecting copyrighted works, said Dasbach.

    "According to the Constitution, the federal government has the power to 'promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive rights to their respective writings and discoveries,'" he noted. "In other words, Congress can grant exclusive copyrights, which entertainers can defend, as necessary, by filing copyright infringement lawsuits.

    "The CBDTPA, by contrast, gets the federal government involved in the production of everything from televisions to computers, and software programs to operating systems. And, instead of just targeting criminals who illegally steal copyrighted materials, it treats every consumer as a potential digital pirate -- while turning federal bureaucrats into the Digital Police."

    Further, said Dasbach, the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act would:

    • Inconvenience consumers who want to use copyrighted materials they legitimately purchased.

      "The bill would make it impossible for you to turn a CD you purchased into MP3 songs to play on your computer," he said. "It guts the traditional notion of 'fair use,' which allows consumers non-commercial reproduction rights."

    • Act as an expensive form of "corporate welfare."

      "Federally mandated copyright-protection technology will not only drive up the cost of computers, DVD players, and VCRs, it may force consumers to purchase multiple copies of movies and albums -- pouring billions of extra dollars into the pockets of wealthy conglomerates," he said.

    • Make "open-access" operating systems like Linux illegal. Linux's source code is freely available, making it impossible to guarantee the secrecy of the copy-protection scheme, as required by the CBDTPA.

      "The bill is a dream come true for Bill Gates, because it could make it illegal to own one of the most successful operating system competitors to Microsoft Windows," he said. "The result would be to stifle competition in the computer industry."

    In short, the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act is an overly broad, overly rigid, and overly intrusive response to the problem of digital piracy, said Dasbach.

    "Digital piracy is a real dilemma, and the entertainment industry has a real challenge ahead of it -- to figure out how to make a profit and protect artists in a digital age," he said. "But the solution is not to pass the CBDTPA, which would turn the federal government into the omnipresent technology police, and treat every consumer like a criminal."

  • by Steve B ( 42864 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @09:51PM (#3320694)
    Technology firms did not want to testify in the hearing, did not offer input while the bill was being drafted, and have offered plenty of criticism but little helpful suggestions since, a Hollings aide said.

    Why, I offered several helpful suggestions in my letters to my senators:

    I suggested that protections for fair use rights be written into the bill (appending a copy of the Digital Consumer Bill of Rights [digitalconsumer.org] as a proposed model), and that the penalties for infringing those rights be made equivalent to those for copyright violation.

    I suggested that, to insure that the new standard did not unduly impair independent publishing, the requirements for the final standard would have to include a complete lack of patent, copyright, or trade secret encumbrances.

    I think I forgot to suggest that CPR teams be dispatched to watch Jack Valenti, Hilary Rosen, and Bill Gates before the new version of the bill was released for public comment. I can only hope that one of the staffers realized this necessity in time.

  • Regular Users!?!? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jackal! ( 88105 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @10:32PM (#3320848) Homepage

    "It seems like there's a groundswell of support from regular users."

    WTF? We're not taxpayers, we're not citizens, we're not people, we're 'users'!?!?! That's like one step from dropping all pretense and calling us 'consumers'. Even though this is good news, that one phrase sends shivers of terror down my spine.

  • > I always have wondered about the actual effect that talking/writing to your representitives has had. It seems like, at least in this case, the decision against it was based almost entirely around citizen outrage. ... [petree:#3319491]

    This is a real demonstration of the power that large group of people, living in a democratic society, can actually impart on their government. We all know it doesn't happen that often. We've all seen scary bills come up - and pass, again and again. Just like that. Done. New law. More restrictions. Your life is now different. More words in the books to prevent what you can do - as a citizen - legally. Forced into submission. Why these new laws? Here's your answer: Lobbyists.

    We just sit there an let it happen. The lobbyists are paid to sweet-talk out lawmakers. Tell them it's 'A good idea for the people', 'it's the right thing to do' or that 'this will protect the good people; the god-fearing, law abiding, tax-paying citizens, from the scum of the earth - the good ones are the people you're working for sir.'

    These lawmakers listen to them - the lobbyists - BECAUSE THEY ARE THE ONLY ONES SPEAKING!!!

    People - if there's a law out there you don't like - do something people have been doing for hundreds of years. Do something very simple. Tell that person that makes the laws that you don't like what they are doing. Be honest with your lawmaker (in writing - handwritten) and tell them what you think. Just express your opinion. Takes 10 minutes (or longer - if you'd like). Get out a piece of paper and a pen. Blank page - but don't be scared. You can do this - even if you never have before.

    This is what our government is really about, remember? They are called "Representatives." Remember that word? You learned it in 4th grade - when Mrs. Crabapple told you about the various branches of government, and the checks and balances, and the lifecycle of something called a "bill." Ok think back to that. These people are representatives - that we elect - to us in the house of government. They represennt us - but they need to know how we feel!

    Forget the government you know of today. The one where things just happen and it feels like you have no control. These people are supposed to be representing you..... No - not the YOUr city, or the YOUr county, or YOUr voting district.... You as in YOU [insert your name here] - an individual. A person with thoughts and feelings, with bills to pay, with kids to take to soccer practice, with laws to abide by. You are the ones that matter. You are the ones that pay the bills - pay their salary! They better listen to you.

    >Now is not the time to get complacent. That will doom us more than anything else. Keep sending those letters, making those phone calls, and talking with friends and colleagues. If we can get their attention by doing what we've done so far, we can do much more if we take this to the next level.[SomeoneYouDontKnow:#3319793]

    Who makes these laws?

    Lobbyists make these laws and they think they are protecting you. Often they are. But more than often - they have NO IDEA ABOUT THE LAWS THEY ARE INTRODUCING. And who's the expert? - you. You're obviously concerned about it? Right?............. Well then.....<nudgeNudge> go ahead. Tell him. (or her) Do it in writing and encourage others to do the same!

    Ok - now. Remember that paper and pen you got out? Right. Now set them down in front of you - ok... Now write on the paper - in nice, neat letters: "Dear <insert your representative's name here>,"

    Good start. Now - tell him (or her - please rinse/repeat ther "her" thing throughout) which bill he has recently introduced that you will be refering to, why, or what parts of his decision you may support, OR would support his decision IF <insert modified clause here>, then tell him the things you don't like about it. Continue with how such a bill, if introduced, would change the way you live, would limit your freedoms, or would cause you undue stress or unfair setbacks. Plead with them to reconsider the bill in it's current state and to either drop it alltogether or modify certain clauses to cause you less distress or potential problems. What we all need to do is share our views with our representatives when we hear about a bill we don't want passed. I have alway thought that I wouldn't have much of an impact on my government decision-makers because I am only one person - one voice - on letter of angst. But obviously, as we've seen tonight, the common man can make a difference - IF HE SPEAKS LOUDLY ENOUGH. Raise a hussy. Tell them you don't like it! Be honest - it's your governement too!

    Heck - even if they end up passing the law - too much big money pressure - you can at least make them feel guilty about it. I know - the torture we put these guys through :) Just remember - they are supposed to be working for us - not JUST big money. Remind them of that. Give them your sob story. --AND DO IT IN HANDWRITING--

    Yes --DO IT IN HANDWRITING--

    Tell them you don't like their law. Tell them you know lots of other people in your comunity, or at work, or at PTA meetings, that feel the same way (if such a thing is true). Just be honest and put down what you'd like to say to them. Dont' be rude. Be civil and professional and express yourself in writing your feelings about their bill. (or about someone elses bill they will be voting on).

    If you've got somthing to say - fscking say it. Express your disapproval. Write your representatives. 10 minutes and a stamp. Take a night off of watching one TV show. (It's empowering to do something useful - for you and your country/county/state/whatever instead of watching advertisements and listening to laugh tracks).

    If you think that just one person can't have a big impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.

  • by Pig Hogger ( 10379 ) <pig@hogger.gmail@com> on Thursday April 11, 2002 @08:18AM (#3322247) Journal
    "We haven't received one e-mail in support of the Hollings bill," said Judiciary Committee spokeswoman Mimi Devlin.
    Bullshit!
    Here is what I sent them:

    Gentlemen,

    I am a computer professionnal, being active in the field of software development and IT administration since 1979. Although I am not an American citizen, I would like to comment on the CBDPTA being studied by your committee.

    This innovative bill, by crippling the ability of the U.S. computer industry to freely introduce innovative technology, will tremenduously favourize the (rest of the) world computer industry. Imposing limits on computer systems that would be illegal in many countries is a sure way to insure that the rest of the world computer industry will finally catch-up and leave in the dust the U.S. computer industry.

    The other 95% of the world will be eternally grateful to the (comparatively) minuscule Hollywood movie industry for having the much bigger U.S. computer industry ground to a halt by having to spend a significant portion of their ressources just to comply with the CBDPTA.

    Most other industries (those who use computers) will also benefit, as their U.S. counterparts will be hindered by less performing computers that are hobbled both in cost and performance by their expensive content monitoring "features", thus making them less efficient than their unencumbered foreign counterparts.

    Another foreign industry that shall benefit will undoubtely the illegal drug industry, as it will be easier to ship illegal drugs to the United States as the U.S. Customs service will undoubtely be very busy searching for illegal computer contraband.

    Please do consider the passage of this Act, as the world's computer industry needs a reprieve from the very innovative U.S. computer industry.

    Thank-you.

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