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More Details on the CBDTPA 503

Gemini and many others wrote in with still more info regarding CBDTPA, formerly the SSSCA. Wired has a story. Cryptome has transcribed the text. The Senate Judiciary Committee has a web-form where you can submit comments (although directly contacting your representatives may be better). IMHO, the best thing people can do is explain to less-knowledgeable folks exactly what is at stake. When ABC News (Disney) and Fox News (News Corporation) discuss this, they're not going to be spending much time talking about the downside. Update: 03/23 00:55 GMT by M : EFF has an alert with a sample letter to Congress and background on the issue.
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More Details on the CBDTPA

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  • FOX News and Disney are unified in support. They're at opposite sides of the political spectrum (Rupert Murdoch's "empire" -- including FOX, the NY Post and others -- is conservative and Disney is much more liberal). It seems that they are banding together for the purpose of world domination... or something like that.
    • Yea, I was surprised at Murdoch's decision too. Like you said, he, along with just about everyone on FoxNews, is conservative. They also don't get along with Disney. I think the buck stops with him though.. Anything for the buck.
      • Yea, I was surprised at Murdoch's decision too. Like you said, he, along with just about everyone on FoxNews, is conservative. They also don't get along with Disney.

        Murdoch is very consistent in his politics, he is a selfservative. He serves his own interests to the absolute exclusion of all else.

        Murdoch has supported left and right wing governments, for a price. The price being carte blanche to do whatever his self interest demands. He has consistently demanded that anti-trust laws be dismantled as far as they apply to him. He has been campaigning against the EU for years out of fear that it would not submit to his regulatory demands.

        Murdoch is not against regulation of course, only those that don't serve his interests.

        I don't know why people have such difficulty believing that conservatives who praise the persuit of self-interest believe in what they preach. Their self interest, not yours, their tax cut, their corporate welfare, their regulations.

    • Disney is liberal? That doesn't accord with my impression... what causes you to say that?
      • Disney is very least senior managment is! They decided that having pirates chasing women in Pirates of the Caribbean wasn't PC anymore so they have them chasing men now!
    • by SomeoneYouDontKnow ( 267893 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @09:47PM (#3211036)

      It's all about the money. Never forget that. These companies (Disney, News Corp., and the other media companies) are in business to make lots of money, and this will let them do that. They're going to be throwing lots of cash around to try to push this through. We don't have that much cash, so our only chance is to make Congress fear for its political life if this passes.

      Political ideology has no bearing on this. It's going to be a test of wills. We've been waiting for a showdown with the entertainment industry. Well, here it is. It's going to be hard, and it's going to get nasty, so it's time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

  • by KenSentMe ( 528496 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @08:05PM (#3210632)
    Sen. Hollings says the reason broadband isn't as popular today as it should have been is because media giants are afraid to provide large quantities of digital content to the masses over it. Therefore, the public has no 'interest' in broadband. This is blatently wrong. Then he goes on to say the entertainment industry needs a "nudge" in the right direction... which is presumably to come up with a standard for thwarting piracy. Then, the best part, he says that, in order to increase public interest in broadband, the government needs to step in to regulate the digital media industry a little. So my point, and question, is: Since when is it the government's job to promote public interest in a certain area, especially with regards to entertainment????
    • Hollings says the reason broadband isn't as popular today as it should have been is because media giants are afraid to provide large quantities of digital content to the masses over it.

      I knew that whole, "I would use it but I can't get broadband service in my area" argument was a ruse.

      To answer your question: This is more of the same trickle down nonsense that has been dragging this country down for decades. But more specifically, entertainment is the future of America's economy. Ensuring it's success will be a boone to us all. Just you wait!
    • Good point! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by $beirdo ( 318326 )
      What a marketing strategy for Hollywood - get the Federal Government to start pushing their products. Wow. Does anyone still think Congress isn't for sale?

      What if Congress was this interested in promoting education [] and science [] instead of movies []? You would be better off.
    • He's lying. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sulli ( 195030 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @08:38PM (#3210783) Journal
      I sell broadband for a living, and this has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with it. AVAILABILITY of broadband is why people can't or don't buy. Video on demand doesn't even enter into the equation!

      Hollings is lying.

    • by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @09:09PM (#3210925) Homepage
      Sen. Hollings says the reason broadband isn't as popular today as it should have been is because media giants are afraid to provide large quantities of digital content to the masses over it

      Hollings knows that his bill is desperately unpopular and is looking for a disguise. I suspect that by now the US public knows that a bill labelled 'bill to do good things for old people' is most likely a bill to rob them of their social security, half their pensions and medicaid.

      The key points to keep repeating are

      • The car industry gets ten years or more to introduce safety measures like seat belts and air bags. This gives the computer industry a year to introduce measures whose only purpose is saving the pockets of Holling's campaign contributors.
      • The measure would have serious negative consequences for the computer industry. There is no royal road for security technology, or a congressional one for that matter. It has taken ten years to develop specifications for IPSEC and DNSSEC and they are only just being deployed. PKIX/X.509 took ten years to see significant use and it has taken the US govt a further five to develop technology to deploy in the federal govt.
      • The SDMI scheme was proposed with a similar timetable and the unrealistic schedule was one of the (admittedly many) reasons it failled. The decision process rejected any technology that could not be on the shelves by Xmas. The inevitable result being that only snake oil technologies ended up being considered.
      • All content protection mechanisms are encumbered by patents. Most are encumbered by multiple patents. While most of the patents are bogus the proposed bill would put the computer industry at an unfair disadvantage to the patent trolls who would be unjustly enriched at the expense of industry and the public.
      • Existing content protection schemes such as the CSS scheme used in DVDs have been abused by the content owners, in particular to enable the price of DVDs to be artifically increased in certain markets.

      The biggest argument against the Hollings Campaign Contributors Interests Protection Act (HCCIPA) is that it is largely addressing a problem that is being addressed successfully in the courts.

      Napster's original business model based on promoting piracy was dismantled in short order by the courts. Morpheus and the other commercial piracy rings have been forced to bundling scumware with the product to make a buck. Morpheus' current business model appears to be based on redirecting referals to Amazon's affiliate program.

      The RIAA and MPAA are overreaching here. Instead of asking for a rational extention of the DMCA to address piracy networks they are making a naked grab for their self interest.

      • by Erris ( 531066 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @11:28PM (#3211371) Homepage Journal
        The RIAA and MPAA are overreaching here. Instead of asking for a rational extention of the DMCA to address piracy networks they are making a naked grab for their self interest.

        This bill is the logical extention of the DMCA. Encrypted formats were trade secrets, and had NO LEGAL protection at all, until the DMCA was used as we knew it would be. The goal of the exclusive franchise created by copyright is to increase what's available to the public domain. The DMCA severly restricts what gets out to the public domain, as readers of "protected" formats won't work when the copyright expires (crutently 75 years). Unfortunately for the entertainment industry, these formats are not as popular as unecumberd formats, so they have introduced this bill to MANDATE their formats. This will eliminate the public domain altogether as it will eliminate user control of the devices used to create and distribute digital media. In the future, there will be nothing but digial publication, therefore there will be no publishing exept by approved and authorized software. It will outlaw free software. If you don't think that non free software restricts what you say, you need to re examine your non free EULA. Right now, I don't care if Microsoft decides that I can not ever use their software again (as they can by their EULA). If this bill passes, that will mean that I can't publish.

        The only rational extention of the DMCA if for the supreme court to strike it down as a clear violation of free speech.

        In the mean time, I am going to hand write my representative. Want to guese which letter will have a greater effect, this one or that one? Hmmm, it might be time to use some old fashion press to influence the local comunity. In the future, an inflamatory handbill might not pass the "protection" program in my copy machine. See where things can go?

    • by mangu ( 126918 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @09:56PM (#3211074)
      Before they wrote the US Constitution they wrote a preamble explaining why they did it: "in Order to form a more perfect Union, etc..."

      Well, the Honorable Senator Hollings' law will have a preamble, too: "We the Lawmakers of the United States, in Order to form a more profitable Media Industry..."
    • by BlueboyX ( 322884 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @11:51PM (#3211431)
      I think that this may be something to consider (taken from a letter to my Senator)

      "The movie industry as a collective has had great interest in recent years in selling multimedia machine- basically a highly specialized computer with copy restrictions built in. In a capitalist economy, such a produce would compete against older forms of media and traditional general-purpose desktop computers. All things being equal, the computer market is large enough to support their special machines alongside regular computers. However, it turns out that not all things are equal. When their products were tried in the marketplace, they failed miserably (the DivX machine is the most well known example). Most consumers refused outright to purchase hardware that they labeled as erestrictedf and the few who did purchase these media machines found that the restrictions they contained gave the machines extra technical difficulties and were more difficult to use in general.

      Despite their failure in the marketplace, the movie industry seems to still want to sell their movies on similar machines. Having failed in a free market, this legislation would force consumers to buy general purpose computers that have been twisted into essentially being their multimedia players (making them no longer general-purpose. I have read about proposed hardware protections, and there is no way to implement them without limiting how they connect to other computers and without breaking many existing software tools.) Not only are they cheating the consumer out of a truly general purpose computer, they are forcing the computer hardware industry to pay the tab for producing hardware for the movie industry to sell their special protected files for"
    • I think that Sen. Hollings meant that Disney are afraid to provide large quantities of digital content due to the so called lack of copyright protection.

      IMHO what Disney means (for me Sen Hollings is a puppet) is that they are not ready for the new economy and the new digital era. I think that Disney should learn how to adapt itself to new technologies (just like most of us have to do) instead of trying to change the technology and make US citizens pay for its lazyness.

      CBDTPA is a legal freak, just like DMCA, and shows that the representative system (also know as democracy by US dear president), the way it is organized today, is flawfull and cannot be supported anymore.

    • The renaming of this bill into an act for the promotion of Broadband etc., is certainly Newspeak and would definitely make Orwell proud to see that 1984 lives on.

      Lets be absolutely fair, this bill is about one thing only, total control over the production and distribution of digital media. If anyone non-technical cares to listen, they may be reminded why Hollywood exists.

      Hollywood was founded to escape from tight control and enforcemnt of various key patents on the production and display of movie pictures (a lot owned by our friend Edison). This was based around New York, so the guys who wanted to make pictures did so as far away as possible (but with better weather), so they went to the west coast.

      Why do I bring this up, well perhaps Hollywood itself should be reminded that tight IP isn't good for business. One of the most productive cinema industries in the world is "Bollywood", in India. Their products are smaller scale but are widely pirated. However, they still seem very profitable.

      I say to give the industry a choice. They can have perfect protection of IP. Then they should have copyright lasting five years only. After which the stuff can sent via HDTV or broadband and nobody need to give a damn about protection.

  • "When ABC News (Disney) and Fox News (News Corporation) discuss this, they're not going to be spending much time talking about the downside."

    That is, unless they can relate it to the plot of a movie their production studios currently have in wide release. Then it will be the lead story!

    Read our Oscar Predictions! []
    • "It would in essence turn your PC into only a VCR playback machine, and you wouldn't have the capabilities to move digital content around like you do today," complained P.J. McNealy, a research director for the Gartner G2 firm.,2933,48567,00.html

      I have yet to see a story on Cnn.Com or MSNBC.Com.

  • Advantages (Score:5, Funny)

    by zapfie ( 560589 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @08:07PM (#3210644)
    Probably the largest advantage the CBDTPA gives corporations over the SSSCA is that it is extremely hard to pronounce or remember, and is sufficiently long enough to keep it from coming up in day-to-day conversation.
    • by trudyscousin ( 258684 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @08:29PM (#3210734)
      It's easy to remember. Just think of Porky Pig saying it:

      "see bee-dee tee pee-...uh, A."
    • by Zach` ( 71927 )
      Looks like a virus too. Take notice of the bill's odd tendency to morph itself into new acronyms, each one character larger. I am positive the eventual anagram will be: "AAAAAHAHAHAWEWINJAILTHEGEEKSTHEYAREWEENIES".

      Take note: SSSCA, CBDTPA.

      Ahh, you see! Fight back!
    • From the bill:
      (d) SECURITY SYSTEM STANDARDS. -- In achieving the goals of setting open security standards that
      will provide effective security for copyrighted works, the security system standards shall ensure, to the extent practicable, that --
      (2) any software portion of such standards is based on open source code.

      Anyone else find this ironic. At least Linux won't likely be left out of the loop if it passes...

      OTOH, enforcing open source implimentations of DRM could be quite funny to watch...

      • I saw the full clause posted below as well. How can they have let that slip through? The MPAA will shit a brick when it sees this. I think someone has seriously misunderstood the nature of software-based security and open standards. Hackers won't even have to try hard to create the new equivalent to DeCSS. Just imagine: RedHat 9.0 gets released including DRM technology, with full code, and some 14-year-old kid in Russia posts the full "fix" for it a day later. What's the point? (Not that I'd mind; the damage is still done, though, if technology companies have to waste their time covering for content providers or face legal penalties.)
    • Corny
      I have no problem remembering the CBDTPA.
      but yeah
      SSSCA is a little better.
    • by PurpleFloyd ( 149812 ) <(moc.ibtta) (ta) (02onez)> on Friday March 22, 2002 @09:23PM (#3210957) Homepage
      Agreed. It should be renamed to


    • This is precisely why we need to come up with a good, descriptive term for it, and keep hammering away with it until everyone who hasn't already sold their souls to the media content companies gets it through their heads. Select whichever you think is catchiest, or add to the list:

      * The Crippled Computer Bill.
      * The Digital Media Scarcification Act.
      * The Hollywood Handout Act.
      * The No Copying Act.
      * The Napster Strangler Bill.
      * The Proposed Law for Keeping the Music Industry Profitable by Forcing the Costs of Copyright Enforcement Onto Hardware Vendors. (too long, I know)
      * The "You're Not Authorized to Play That Song on This Device" Bill.

      All in all, I think the first one is the best. Sure, I'm trying to be funny, but there's also a serious point to be made. If we can give this ugly bill a catchy name, and make it stick, maybe we have half a prayer. Any suggestions welcome.
  • Websites? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thenextpresident ( 559469 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @08:08PM (#3210646) Homepage Journal
    Could this even include websites?

    "The definition will cover just about anything that runs on your computer -- except maybe the clock,"

    As seen in the recent Google fiasco, they could possibly bend this to even including websites.
  • Call your Senators (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gclef ( 96311 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @08:08PM (#3210647)
    I called both of my states (MD) Senators earlier today to make sure that I got in my "Don't you dare vote for this" early.

    Neither office even knew the bill had been presented to the Senate.

    This isn't on everyone's radar yet. We need to make sure it *gets* on their radar, though. Call them. Bug them. Make them realize just how unpopular voting for this will make them. (But, as I'm sure others will say, don't be rabid about it...just firm.)
    • This isn't on everyone's radar yet.

      I was wondering about this very issue. I will certainly be writing my senators about the CBDTPA, but it seems like there might be a risk of having my comments pushed to the back corner of some desk if they arrive too far in advance of the vote. Does anyone have any thoughts on the best time to submit a letter?

      • by Irvu ( 248207 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @08:38PM (#3210782)
        I'm not sure if there is a "best time." If you submit the first letter on a particular toipic then they may read it, if ony to find out what the hell you are talking about. This might be a powerful point to shape their views. On the other hand a massive onslaught of letters at one time all in favor of/opposed to an issue might make more of an impact from a "will this get me re-elected" standpoint. I think it probably depends upon how they do things there.

        This isn't on everyone's radar yet.

        That may not be the case. I called one of my senators a few months ago to discuss a bill on the day of the vote and the people in his office had no idea what I was talking about. I beleive the exact comment was "He usually tells us his position at some point, I think." I'm hoping that i just got the new person and this won't happen again.

        Just to make sure though I've decided on a plan. I plan to begin with e-mail, and then a letter, and then a phone call, and then flowers (nobody really sends flowers any more). Then I'm going to move in next-door to him and play the text of the bill on my stereo really loudly all night long. Then I plan to move into his house and talk nonstop about the bill all the time. Then, finally, just when his daughter is set to marry me, I'll tell him that all he has to do to get me to go away is to vote against it. I'm hoping he'll accept.

        Then I'll probably marry his daughter anyway...
  • More background (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The Politech site has more background here [], including press releases from supporters and opponents. EFF and ACLU have not said anything on this new bill yet -- I hardly think they support it, but some statements would be nice.
  • by Zspdude ( 531908 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @08:11PM (#3210660) Homepage
    I haven't seen anything recently that comes near this in terms of killing innovation. Am I the only one who envisions people everywhere hoarding dinosaur computers running ancient yet empowered software? Coders in hidden bunkers with a stockpile of unhampered obsolete motherboards, and vast cd librarys of ancient kernels and applications ??
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Comment removed based on user account deletion
    • Collateral damage (Score:3, Insightful)

      by broter ( 72865 )
      I haven't seen anything recently that comes near this in terms of killing innovation.

      That's an interesting point. The one thing I keep thinking of, while I code away at a lab notebook for the TB consortium, is how this would kill off non-commercial software projects because the technology's cost is "not cost prohibitive," instead of free. I realize that this would end upgrades to the beowulf cluster upstairs that protein folding, protein interaction, sequence alignment, etc. is being done on. This may end the lab notebook because it runs on software that could "reproduce copyright material." This may end most of the low cost Bioinformatics software projects around the country.

      Although it's probably possible to make the standards work with the technology in use, I doubt that the industry leaders involved will let that heppen.

      Bioinfomatics has nothing to do with Hollywood, the record industry, or Napsterization; but it will get killed so that the Dizzy corp can make another million on taking peoples' rights away.

      I'm rather pissed-off about that...

  • by jonatha ( 204526 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @08:17PM (#3210686)
    so you want to tell your Senators "vote no on S 2048". They'll understand...
    • Hey we are almost all techies here so lets give the bill an ID we can remember.

      vote NO on S-2K.


      • by Trepidity ( 597 )
        When you actually talk to the Congresscritter make sure to convert S-2K back to S-2048 or they'll be wondering why you're ranting that a bill [] to amend the IRS code to provide depreciation allowances on certain property is going to kill the technology industry.
        • So true. You do have to make sure there are no possible confusion points when talking to Congresscritters. We don't want to give them any excuse to ignore our comments.

          I guess I should have labeled it as an inside joke. :-)

    • There's a slogan in there somewhere:

      Anti-copy bit...

      Power of two...

      I'll think of it in a minute.. :) Gotta get the S in there somehow. It should be self-referential too, right?

  • Take to the streets (Score:2, Informative)

    by darthBear ( 516970 )
    This was brought up before but it needs to be re said. We need to be ready to go beyond contacting our senators. We went to the streets for Dimitry and the same needs to happen if we are truely serious about stopping this.
    The key is getting the word out, at the end of the day /.ers and other aware people don't matter when it comes to votes. However, there are enough people that do care to make it matter. The key is making sure they know.
  • ... things like this would never be considered. But of course we don't live in an ideal world.

    It is beyond my imagination to try and think how these people come up with these stupid ideas in the first place. Do they not realize this is hindering my right to free speech? How can it be that I cannot distribute a "hello world" program without "authorized anti-piracy" software?

    How is it that I will design the next generation PVR and keep my costs down while ensuring the adherence to federally mandated standards?

    Sure.. let the bill pass, but please be sure to write down the names and addresses of all persons responsible for this lunacy. This way I'll have less work for my attorney to do when I sue them for hindering my ability to create new and innovative tools/gadgets.

    (Score: -3 Ranting)
  • by Meridun ( 120516 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @08:18PM (#3210692) Homepage
    I'm not kidding here. I work for a small company that recently fought against some unfair legislation that the Insurance Industry was trying to push and we learned some VERY interesting things about what tactics work for getting attentions.

    CALL YOUR SENATORS. Handwritten letters are nice too, but what really matters is calling. You will get answered by a congressional staffer. Say the following:

    "Hi, my name is _____ and I live in _______ in your district. I am calling to register my opposition to Senate Bill 2048. Thank you".

    That's it. Unless you include a large check, they don't care WHY you oppose it really, but they DO care they you can vote for or against them.

    Think about it this way: they can't spend the money, except on getting re-elected. Therefore, your vote costs a certain amount. If you call them and tell them the way you wish them to vote, they know that if they don't vote that way, they've lost a vote regardless of how much they spend. AND if you called, that means a lot of people probably think the same way, but weren't motivated enough to pick up the phone.

    It's quick, simple, and took me all of 5 minutes, including looking up the phone number. DO IT.

  • Several Objections that come to mind:

    1) While technology will often come up with a solution that is "good enough" to do a job, it is quite another to make something technically perfect. Absolute requirements for all devices everywhere to meat a certain perfect standard will meet as many difficulties as mandating a perfectly safe car.

    2) No Law should enforce draconian measure to protect an industry that is unable to keep up with the market.

    3) Contrary to media industry spokesman, Actual sales on CDs went up during the time that Napster was running, and have since declined since Napster was shut down. Part of this was the browsing capability of the software. This was similar to you visiting a friends house, and seing what books, music, etc are in their collection, and so deciding to check it out since they already have things you like to begin with. Now this shut off.

    4) People are becoming more educated about non-mainstream artists, and are starting to broaden their horizons. Therefore, they are not buying the same old product that is pumped out by the pop mills.

    5) People may avoid the technology like the plague, and will get really upset for being forced to upgrade their equipment that they bought years ago.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, 2002 @08:25PM (#3210714)
    Are you trying to fuck everything up? Are you trying to turn the clock back to the fucking dark ages?

    How can so many of you sit on your fat fucking asses and let this happen? I can't do anything about this because I don't live in the USA... but it doesn't matter because sooner or later you'll wind up exporting your stupid fucking laws to my country via treaty or something like that. My own government and people will look to you as an example, and I weep for the leadership you've abandoned.

    You're really starting to scare the shit out of me down there, you Yanks. What happened to the land of free? How could you have sold out your precious freedom to big business and corporations? How could we have let you?

    The America told in stories, the America talked about in your beautiful constitution is now dead to the world.

    You're too big to take on now. I weep for what this world will become.
  • I know Intel and other big-name hardware companies are opposed to this bill. They ought to sponsor a march/techfest on Washington to make the point.
  • "When ABC News (Disney) and Fox News (News Corporation) discuss this, they're not going to be spending much time talking about the downside."

    That's odd. Fox News did an article [] bashing the SSSCA. Not that I like Fox News that much, but like MSNBC, they aren't going to skew their story to what their company feels. That would just piss off readers.
  • Got My Reply... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ronfar ( 52216 )
    Well, today I got my reply to the letter I wrote to Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida). I'll post up a copy on my Web site eventually, but the gist of it is, "Thousands of copies of movies and hundreds of thousands of songs and software programs are illegally traded on the Internet every day. The content providers were patient in hoping that the tech industry would provide a solution, but since they haven't we have to force them."

    I really wish I could figure out what to do. Reason isn't going to sway these people and neither is the fear of the destruction of the future of computing (not even the future of computing in America).

    You know, I honestly wish I could believe the stuff he wrote in the letter about really being concerned about digital theft because then I could try to reason with him. Unfortunately, the way the letter is written, it seems that he has simply chosen the Disney/Fox side of the issue. I mean, the letter is very passively worded but there is no way to look at this except as legislation against the digital technology industry.

    I explained the issue carefully in my initial letter, but the points I raised are not addressed in his reply.

    I'm pretty stubborn, so I'm going to write a reply to his reply. I don't know if it will help or not. (Still, I've always enjoyed tilting at windmills...)

    • Re:Got My Reply... (Score:2, Informative)

      by kscguru ( 551278 )
      "Thousands of copies of movies and hundreds of thousands of songs and software programs are illegally traded on the Internet every day"

      Your senator is right - I don't think anyone can dispute these numbers. Not even Slashdot, unfortunately. However,

      Thousands of cars run red lights and hundreds of thousands of cars speed every day.

      If the act in the Senate suggests embedding copyright management technology in all digital devices, then for the same reason we should also embed technology in every single car sold in this country that prevents the car from running red lights and speeding. A car manufacturer will tell you it is impossible to create that technology (how does a car know if it's near a red light? What about scooting around the corner to let the firetruck through, or avoid the semi behind you?). And Slashdot will tell you that it is equally impossible to protect copyrights in a reasonable and fair manner on digital devices - there are too many unknowns (some things don't have to be copyrighted, not everyone has access to the copyright protection standards or certifications, etc.).

      This is a classic case of enforcing existing laws. We already have laws against speeding; we already have laws against unauthorized copying of copyrighted material. There is no need to mandate that technology change to enforce existing laws - instead, just enforce the existing laws!

  • by Zach` ( 71927 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @08:28PM (#3210732)
    when Fox is THE ONLY news outlet to have carried an editorial explaining why the SSSCA was bad, in layman's terms nonetheless.,2933,47296,00.html []

    Come on Michael. You can do better.
  • Anyone know whether or not there's a date set for voting on the bill? I want to call my senators to voice my opposition, but their offices are closed until Monday. I'd rather speak with a staffer in person rather than leaving a message on a machine.
  • The content providers continously claim that they're losing Billions and Billions of dollars to "piracy".

    But when you look at the quarterly report they send to their stockholders, do you see an entry showing a huge loss to "piracy"? Hell, no. In fact, you won't even find such an entry!

    Oh, I won't deny that "piracy" happens. But when these companies continue to report increased earnings, it should be obvious that "piracy" isn't having the effect they claim -- their claim of huge losses is complete bullshit.

  • by The Cat ( 19816 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @08:32PM (#3210754)
    Does this mean that choosing *not* to publish with content protection is also illegal? Would that not be a mind-boggling violation of the first amendment? Does it not also totally eliminate the public domain and fair use for digital works?

    This reading doesn't seem to agree with the Senator's introductory statements of yesterday. Seems that Disney has decided we're all along for the ride whether we like it or not. Good way to put the competition out of business too.

    Remember when the words "competition" and "free enterprise" actually meant something?
  • by youngsd ( 39343 )

    I'm not trying to be obtuse, but I don't understand why the Hollywood content types would be pushing this. As I understand it (and please let me know if I am missing something), this law would require computing devices to have some kind of copy control mechanism. As has been shown countless times before, only hardware copy controls have any chance of being robust and effective.

    So, it would seem that the effect of this law would be to require hardware devices to be integrated into future digital devices. But, if the content producers could, on their own, come up with a workable hardware solution, they could simply start releasing content that is only viewable through such a hardware device. That would cause the hardware industry to include these copy control pieces into the devices that people intend to use to watch content. The beauty of this would be that all of the folks who believe that movies and music on a PC are (and always will be) awful, can choose a PC without these control devices. True, we won't be able to watch all the wonderful Hollywood content on our PCs, but then, I don't believe most people want to.

    What I am afraid this law would do is require that I foul up my computers with various control devices (e.g. will I still be able to record music in my home studio and mix in on my computer? How much harder will it be?), even though I have no intention of watching any of this Hollywood content on my PC. What does Hollywood gain by that? Without their hardware control devices, I can't watch their encoded content, so why can't I have a "Hollywood content-free" PC that is configured to work the way I want it to work?


  • Throughout history, governments have been subject to corruption and all too often have sold the rights of their citizens away to the highest bidder. The US now faces such a time, as it has before. Therefore, I offer this proposal to solve the problems of rule by the highest bidder.

    Now, before I am labelled as an anti-establishment hippie, allow me to present my case to you. I will outline the historic case of government corruption in the United States as well as offering a method to ensure that such corruption will never happen again. Hear me out before you make your decisions. The Historic Case: America in the Gilded Age (1870-1930) The years following the Civil War in the US, often called Reconstruction, are also known as the Gilded Age. [] During this period, political parties, using political machines like Tammany Hall [], they were able to harass, threaten, and force people to vote in the manner the party wanted. All government actions were in control of the party. Appointments, elections, campaigns, etc were all controlled by corrupt party bosses. Voters were often gathered together like a flock of sheep on Election Day, taken to local bars, intoxicated, and then taken around to vote at several different polling stations under the lead of party bosses. Edgar Allan Poe died because of these party bosses, who filled him with liquor (which he was allergic to), took him around to get him to vote five or six times, and then left him for dead.

    Such concern for the public is touching, is it not?

    Also, during this period, Big Business, fueled by the Industrial Revolution, grew more and more powerful and more and more corrupt. Standard Oil, the Rockefellers, Carnagie, the RailRoads; all of these businesses used a system of bribery and quid pro quo to keep the government from investigating their illegal and immoral practices. The Railroads changed rates, gouged customers, impoverished farmers, all to make a profit. The meat factories in the cities exploited their workers. Upton Sinclair, in his book The Jungle, described the unsafe and unsanitary conditions under which meat was packaged. The American Federation of Labor lobbied for workers' rights and protection against the abuse of Big Business.

    Finally, under Theodore Roosevelt, Big Business was muzzled. The FDA, the Pure Food and Drug Act, and other Progressive legislation were all passed. Big Business had a standard to live up to. Workers had rights and dignity guarenteed to them. Finally, the evils of the Gilded Age seemed to be at an end. Will We Never Learn? America in the Second Gilded Age (1950-2002) Now America faces a new Gilded Age. Money is considered a form of Free Speech. Corporations are allowed the rights of citizens (except that a corporation doesn't have to pay taxes and can't be tried for criminal conduct). Once again, industries are trying to enslave their workers and their consumers, all for the Almighty Dollar.

    The Recording Industry Artists Association, a group of distributers who can't play Mary Had A Little Lamb on the piano, are now legally allowed to hold the copyright on any work they distribute in perpetuity. The Satellite Home Viewing Act of 1999 has a clause that makes all sound recordings works-for-hire. Courtney Love has spoken out against the RIAA and its illegal actions at []. This bill was altered after all the arguments and debates were settled. There was no chance for a revisiting of this issue before it was sent off to the President. A boy who only had the authority to spellcheck the bill altered it at the request of the RIAA, in such a way as that no one had a chance to fight the alteration.

    The RIAA, the MPAA, Disney, and other Hollywood industries are now trying to force another bill through the Senate. The Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA) [], a bill that outlaws all fair use rights of the consumer as well as outlawing innovation in technology has been proposed by Senator Fritz Hollings of South Carolina. This Senator recieved over $300,000.00 in campaign contributions from Disney alone. Tell me there is no quid pro quo going on now.

    As bad as the RIAA is with its desire to enslave musicians in contracts illegal under California law [], Disney is worse.

    Disney has stolen and made its fortune from the public domain without giving one thing back to the very people they have stolen from. Where would Disney be without Snow White? Without Cinderella? Without Pocahontas? Without the Little Mermaid? Disney has raped the public domain and not given one whit in return. Every time the trademark on Mickey Mouse gets ready to expire, Disney lobbies to have the trademark law extended. Sorry, uncle Walt, you can't have your cake and eat it too. You raped the people, and they demand the Mouse and His Furry Friends for sacrifice.

    And Einser, the CEO of Disney, is the chief backer of the CBDTPA.

    Let me tell you what will happen if this bill passes:

    1. It will be illegal to record anything off of your TV.

    2. It will be illegal to listen to CDs you've bought on your computer.

    3. It will be illegal to own an MP3 player.

    4. The computer you are currently using will be illegal since it's not fitted with Copy Protection.

    5. It will be illegal to innovate, to create, or to even write without the blessing of the Entertainment industry.

    I've already spoken at length about this here []. The Solution Since we can't outlaw soft money altogether to get rid of the quid pro quo going on right now, we'll have to regulate it. I propose that all campaign contributions over $5 be forced to be anonymous. Claims can't be made for tax write-offs on campaign contributions.

    Think it over. If all donations are anonymous, there can be no quid pro quo. That way, it doesn't matter how much Disney et al give. With no quid pro quo, Congressmen can't be bought as they can now. They will have to face the people who elected them and do their will.

    Does this seem too simple? Well, maybe it is. Maybe only the firebombing of California off of the map of the US will stop this garbage. But, a girl can dream can't she?

  • Four more people to add to my list of people who'd make the world a better place if they were dead:

    Ted Stevens (R-Alaska)
    Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii)
    John Breaux (D-Louisana)
    Dianne Feinstein (D-California)

    What a crock. Every computer-related device having to have copy protection? Can you imagine how much that would slow down even the simplest programs like Vi? Not only would it dramatically hinder performance, it would violate OUR rights. The congress/senate doesn't have the right to deny MY fair use rights, or force THEIR fucked-up ideas about computers on me.

    These people know nothing about computers. They shouldn't be making any decisions about them.

    Not only that, but no one has the right to regulate Free Source Software (FSS) or Open Source Software (OSS). Projects like these done for no price, as a service to the public, should not be crippled and hindered because some assholes in hollywood are worried about their shitty movies being distributed on the net.

    The last thing most of us want is to spend 24 hours downloading a copy of the latest crappy holywood movie, like Deep Blue Sea.

    • Dianne Feinstein (D-California)

      I'm ashamed to be a Californian right now.

      People, when you contact your congresscritter, if he has no idea what you're talking about, refer him to Rick Boucher (D-VA). There's a guy who has a clue.
    • Fair use is mandatite by congress. They have the constitutional right to take it away.
      read the constitution.
      I suggest you help by calming down, right down what and why you feel this is wrong, call your representitves with the list in front of you and say:
      "My name is ______ I live in _______ district, I am against 'S 2048'. Thank you"
      if in the unlikely event you get asked why, you'll be prepared.
      Then send them either a letter, or go to there website and submit your reason clearly concisely and professionally.
      Many letters are getting delayed. My Senators site they state there prefer people use the web site.
      If you can afford it, toss in a campaign contribution, 1000 dollars gets good attention, but 100 bucks can work as well.
      Keep your notes with you, and publish them to the web. If you meet someone who is interested, but for some reason can't talk to them about it, give them a business card with the web address that explains your feelings.
      We all must strive to be informed and professional when dealing with this matter.
      Someone might engage you in coversation, and it might be that persons ONLY contact with this cause, and if you don't present it well, your just one of "those" people.
    • wow... i just added dianne feinstein to my list of female senators i want to hit doggy style... ironic.
  • From the bill text:

    (a) IN GENERAL. -- A manufacturer, importer, or seller of digital media devices may not (1) sell, or offer for sale, in interstate commerce, or (2) cause to be transported in, or in a manner affecting, interstate commerce, a digital medial device unless the device includes and utilizes standard security technologies that adhere to the security system standards adopted under section 3.

    Ahh, but nothing in section 3 defines the security systems standards this is to be defined later by some industry panel or the FTC, neither group an elected body.

    The bill does spell out a list of goals for the security systems standards:

    (d) SECURITY SYSTEM STANDARDS. -- In achieving the goals of setting open security standards that will provide effective security for copyrighted works, the security system standards shall ensure, to the extent practicable, that (1) the standard security technologies are -- (A) reliable; (B) renewable; (C) resistant to attack; (D) readily implemented; (E) modular; (F) applicable in multiple technology platforms; (G) extensible; (H) upgradable; (I) not cost prohibitive; and (2) any software portion of such standards is based on open source code.

    Nothing in the bill says how these goals would be met, only that the industry panel or the FTC should achieve "the goal of promoting as many lawful uses of copyrighted works as possible, while preventing as much infringement as possible, the encoding rules shall take into account the limitations on the exclusive rights of copyright owners, including the fair use doctrine."

    This is a very end-around way to implement restrictions on computer hardware with very limited public debate. Nothing is the bill does anything to protect the usability of computers or state that these security measures work on multiple operating systems -- the industry committee or the FTC is free to mandate whatever bonehead regulation that they want.

    It should be the job of those who own copyrighted works to find as many lawful uses of the work as possible. The government shouldn't be in the business of marketting Aladdin V or whatever new flick comes out.

  • The New Boob Tube (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Threed ( 886 ) <nowhere.atall@com> on Friday March 22, 2002 @08:46PM (#3210816)
    The DMCA makes it illegal to crack, this new one makes it illegal to ship anything that doesn't need cracking.

    Oh no, they're tyring to legislate Linux out of existance! They're going to take away my MP3s!

    Well, yeah... But those are just side effects of the real intent of this bill: Turning the Internet into the next big broadcast media - making the internet another dollar generating machine for Big Content, locking out the little guys, forcing the old paradigm into the new media.

    All arguments regarding fair use are moot - if you read Hollings' speech, it's clear that he believes fair use will be protected. I don't see how that will work in practice though. Say I pay for and download a Simpson's episode with DRM, and I want to do a screen grab to make a picture of the Simpson's family to hang on my wall. Is that fair use? Well, I paid for the image, and many thousands like it (the video stream), so probably yes. Will DRM allow a screen grab? If it won't, then they've violated fair use (I think, IANAL), but if it will then what's going to stop me from grabbing every frame in succession and piecing them back together later? Are they planning on degrading the quality of all these works with some kind of watermark to prevent copying? We already know that doesn't work.

    Moving on... Will we gain access to their entire archives? Probably not. More likely, we'll be told to "tune in" to a URL on Sunday night at 9PM to catch the latest episode. You'll be allowed to keep a copy for your own use, but you won't be able to remove the commercials because you won't have access to edit the file.

    If we do get access to the archives, which version will it be? The "first run" versions, or the ones they trim down for later reruns?

    I use the net for entertainment because it's so far outside the candy-coated crap that TV spews. I have broadband because it's useful to me for gaming and for my work. I already have my MP3 collection built to a comfortable level, and the latest batch of hit singles isn't really enticing me to buy OR download. So basically, I'm the antithesis of a good consumer and nothing is going to change that - other than The Simpsons and Friends, they can keep their copyrighted drivel. Yes, keep it. Keep it off our net.


    A couple additional points, harvested from the previous discussion:

    1) Big Content has never tried to go after the individuals, even though they have said they would do so if left with no other recourse. Doesn't their refusal to go after people who are actually doing the pirating (vs. attacking businesses whose otherwise legitimate tools enable it) constitute some sort of admission that the works are public domain? Like the rules that stipulate that if you don't defend your trademark, you lose it. Same for copyright, or is it different? If it's the same for copyright, then anything that's ever been traded P2P is now public domain and Big Content will just have to suck it up.

    2) You'll obviously have to identify yourself to pay for downloadable content, which is absolutely unprecedented. The only content consumers who are currently violated (in the most personal sense of the word) in this way are those who sign up for the privilege of participating in The Ratings. What's to stop them from using my personal information for marketing or whatever? There are huge privacy concerns that no one in congress is addressing.

    3) Final word on the matter... One poster (and I'm sorry for the lack of attribution on all of these points, but the comments are still available with the other story) mentioned that this bill will likely die due to senate politics. Seems that Copyright is NOT the commerce committee's ballpark, and the guy in charge isn't too happy about this bill.


      I bet that something like this (anonymous p2p) whill suddenly become popular if they try to do this. Someone will hack their box to spit out unprotected versions of tv episodes etc and anonymously post them on places like freenet.

      Instead of stopping piracy, they may actually make it easier in a way... or at least more widespread.
      • I bet that something like this (anonymous p2p) whill suddenly become popular if they try to do this. Someone will hack their box to spit out unprotected versions of tv episodes etc and anonymously post them on places like freenet.

        ..and the hardware will encode your hardware serial number and home adress in your posts so that the FBI can find you and take care of your illegal hardware.
    • by glwtta ( 532858 )
      You'll be allowed to keep a copy for your own use

      That's not what I've understood so far - you'll be allowed to make a copy with the purpose of time-shifting and you'll be allowed to watch it once. After all, with modern technology they are finally able to achieve the long standing dream of making you pay for each and every single time you watch or listen to something. And they are right, that is the best way to make the most money.

      This whole debacle has made me realize how glad I am to not care in the least about any of their content - otherwise it looks like they'd have me by the balls.

  • Is there any reason to stick around if this bill passes and doesn't get struck down by the Supreme Court within the year?

    I'd love to see what these idiots sponsoring this bill would think if suddenly there wasn't anyone left to hire to manage the IT infrastructure in the U.S. for them, or if all the engineering talent decided to leave the country for greener pastures (this pasture is turning browner by the minute). Or even if the large tech companies (like Intel and AMD) simply stopped selling any equipment within the U.S.

    That's just wishful thinking, of course...sigh...

  • KUOW [], my local NPR affiliate, did a call-in show [] last Friday about digital copyright, DRM, the SSSCA, and such matters. The guests were Cary Sherman, Senior Executive Vice-President of the Recording Industry Association of America, and Fred Von Lohmann, Senior Intellectual Property Attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

    the callers as a whole seemed pretty well current on the issues, knowledgeable about the technology, and anti-SSSCA.

  • I say all the IT people in the US have a "sick out" as a protest. That will get some attention, and if it doesn't get the bill dropped, we go on strike.
    I'm serious.
    We have more power then the trucking industry. If we ever orginize, we'll own the place.
  • We should also (separately) push them to add something like this to the bill under consideration:

    (c)(3) PUBLIC DOMAIN USE COPIES. -- No person may apply a security measure that uses a standard security technology to prevent the making of copies of a work or any portion thereof once the copyright on that work has expired.

    (under (g)(3)IMPLEMENTATION. -- Any final rule published in such a subsequent rulemaking shall -- )

    (g)(3)(C) require all secured copies of a work to carry a machine-readable notice of the copyright date and copyright holder

    (g)(3)(D) enable and facilitate the production of unsecured copies of the work, by inexpensive technical means and without any action by the former copyright holder, after the expiration of the copyright
  • by chuckw ( 15728 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @09:09PM (#3210923) Homepage Journal
    Just got off the phone with my Senators, much like many others have. It only took 5 minutes at the *MOST* and went a bit like this:

    1) Look up their website here []
    2) Go to their web page and get their local office phone number.,
    3) Call number.
    4) Simply tell the person, "Hi, I am (your name), from (your city), (your state) and I would like to register my opposition to SB 2048".

    One of them had me spell my name, and the other asked me what SB 2048 was. In case you forget, it's the CBDTPA (Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act).
  • So how will it be possible to write software under this law? I can't imagine how you'd make a compiler compliant with this wacky law. Will I have to send my source code to an NSA computer in Washington for every recompile?
  • Does anyone have an idea for a "user-friendly" name for the CBDTPA? It doesn't really have to have anything to do with the official name. I'm just thinking of the fight over the estate tax. No matter where you fall on that issue, you've got to realize that Republicans picked up a lot of traction with it when they came up with "death tax" instead of "estate tax".

    We need a similarly pithy handle for this bill, that can be used to strip away the mind-numbing acronym.

  • by seaan ( 184422 ) <seaan AT concentric DOT net> on Friday March 22, 2002 @09:32PM (#3210988)
    Although I've seen the issue of "encryption never expiring" mentioned in /. I thought it would be worth looking into a bit more deeply. The failure of DIVX provides a very good example of what can happen to DRM protected material. Everyone who "bought" DIVX media ended up with worthless "coasters" once the centralized DRM controller went out of business. Thus even in the short term, the DIVX example shows that DRM is not consumer friendly.

    As an amateur historian, I realize that in the longer term it is hard enough to find materials after the normal process of time. The digital revolution has made this much worse (for example a recent /. story mentioned that England could not retrieve census information that had been recorded c.1980 from obscure 14" optical storage disks). The use of encryption and DRM is going to make this situation much, much worse.

    The problem is that DRM does not expire when the copyright expires (assuming congress will eventually allow copyrights to expire, and does not keep extending them forever :-) The copyright balance requires that the work goes into the public domain once the copyright has expired. The only way that will happen with a DRM scheme is if the copyright holders are still around, and have some type of motivation to make it public.

    This is a difficult problem, with no easy solution. A minimal solution is to require that all copyright holders make their product available when it enters the public domain, but this won't help if the organization is no longer in business. Given this view, I don't know if DRM should be legal under copyrights. If DRM is legal, the only workable solution is to go back to the old method of copyrights (pre-1976) where you actually have to register for copyright protection. If you want to copyright something that is only "published" with DRM controls, an archival copy of the original unprotected version must be registered with the copyright authority (presumably Library of Congress, who will need new funding for this responsibility). This method has another real advantage, which is that it ensures that the copyright holder can be identified. The restoration industry has a big problem with "abandoned" works that are still technically under copyright, but they have no contactable owners.

    This is a long term problem, and typically people don't worry about the long term (companies have trouble thinking past the end of the quarter!). But the issue of archiving and availability is extremely important. It goes right to the heart of what copyrights are supposed to do: "promote the progress of Science and useful Arts". Widespread use of DRM will make today's tragedies small potatoes (such as movies from the 1910-40's that should be in the public domain, which are instead literally rotting away without any care by the actual copyright holders).

    Feel free to use some of these arguments in the letters to your congressmen!

    • by VValdo ( 10446 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @10:17PM (#3211141)
      As soon as locked DVDs move into the public domain, DeCSS suddenly has a very legitimate use-- to permit access to "free" content.

      The supporters of this bill are also working to see that stuff doesn't ever elevate to the public domain.

      But I wonder: Wouldn't it just take ONE copyright holder who's previously locked a DVD with CSS to say "AS OF NOW, My movie is now in the public domain" to totally legitimize DeCSS? It would no longer pass the "solely to circumvent protection of copyrighted works" test.

      On this view, copyright expiration and/or the potential for voluntary relicensing may legitimize every single anti-DRM tool.

      Has this been discussed before?
  • My letter (Score:4, Interesting)

    by phantomlord ( 38815 ) <(moc.hcetwrk) (ta) (todhsals)> on Friday March 22, 2002 @09:39PM (#3211009) Journal
    I just finished writing my letter. Anyone is free to copy any parts of it that you'd like for inclusion in your own letters.

    To the "honorable" Senator from New York,

    My name is Kenneth Witherow. I am a computer consultant and writer from the town of Livonia, NY. I am writing regarding a recently proposed legislative bill, S 2048 the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA). I strongly urge you to vote against this bill.

    The main premise of the bill is to create encryption systems to protect digital content but despite the good intentions, it will cause great harm to independent content creators, computer programmers, electronic hobbyists and others. It seeks to force digital mechanisms such as computers to restrict the access to various media content used in conjunction with it. In this pursuit, it restricts a person's ability to make copies for personal use as allowed under both law and rulings from the Supreme Court.

    Content producers claim that they cannot distribute the works via a digital medium for fear that the content will be illegally copied. The government should not have the power to sustain a business in the modern age because it's old methods are not any longer viable. Digital content is extremely inexpensive to reproduce and the reason why forays into this area fail is because the content producers refuse to lower their pricing to suit the new market. Why is it that a compact disc costs $18 while a tape, which is more expensive to produce, costs a mere $12? The content industry claims that the sky is falling with the introduction of every new advance in their field. Television would be the end of radio, VCRs the end of the movie business, MP3s the end of music distribution. Why is it that an independent band can generate revenues selling their music for a modest price on the internet but huge record labels cannot? The obvious answer is the music cartel, RIAA, knows it's business model is outdated and refuses to change because that would eliminate it's power. If this bill is passed, independent artists will not be able to create and distribute works due to the requirements of CBDTPA and the barriers to entry for non-wealthy creators. The MPAA and other institutions are in similar situations.

    Because Microsoft has recently patented the system of Digital Rights Management, the adoption of the CBDTPA would ensure that the Microsoft monopoly will continue well into the future. As a user and developer of an alternate operating system, Linux, Microsoft would prevent us from using DRM to comply with the CBDTPA and it would be illegal for Linux to continue without it. This bill stifles software development and ensures that a monopoly will be further seated in it's power, ensuring that it will hurt consumers even more.

    In 1998, another bill, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was signed into law. This law greatly restricts my fair use rights, especially because I use an operating system without a licensed DVD player available for it. One of the most damaging portions of the DMCA is that it makes illegal what made the PC possible in the first place - it outlaws reverse engineering. When the DMCA is combined with products sold under the CBDTPA, it is quite obvious that the result is content which is not available in a usable means, not copyable and illegal to retrieve via engineering methods. This ensures that content will never effectively enter into the public domain after it's copyright expires which is a gross violation of the Constitution's decree "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;". These two bills, not to mention the continual extension of copyright, ensure that the first two portions of this charge are violated. Restriction of engineering and software creation does not promote science. Inability to access works in a non-creator provided method does not allow exclusivity to last for a limited time.

    You also recently voted for the McCain/Feingold Campaign Finance Reform bill which means that you personally think money has a corrupting influence in politics. It is well worth noting that the entertainment industry was your fifth highest ranking donator so I am sure their money may influence your decision since you've stated it does. I never voted for you, nor will I ever vote for you, but if you vote for this legislation, my simple vote against you will turn into a local campaign against you assuming your Campaign Finance Reform "fix" doesn't ban me from speaking against you before the election as it currently does. Again, I strongly urge you to vote against S 2048.

  • by Anthony Boyd ( 242971 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @09:43PM (#3211019) Homepage

    I liked the idea, from the story about Christian Scientists, of us "small guys" running ads on Google. So I put up a "recall Senator Hollings" ad which ran on any search of "South Carolina" -- but that was pulled after 600 impressions. I've revised it now to warn of the loss of fair use and expired copyrights, and it appears on any search including the words Hollings, SSSCA, or CBDTPA. It links to the EFF alert. I could only put $250 into this, so the ad will probably disappear after a week or so.

    I hope others might consider "extending" my ad with ads of their own, especially if you can think of some smart keywords that might make the ad more relevant as people are searching. Or donate directly to the EFF. Or put your weight behind [] (they've got some big names helping them out, so we're not alone here).

  • Renting a bus... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheConfusedOne ( 442158 ) <> on Friday March 22, 2002 @09:45PM (#3211027) Journal
    Well, if this one passes I'm thinking of renting a bus, getting a bunch of coders and heading north. Obviously it will become impossible to continue working in the IT field here in America.

    I think we should probably emphasize this fact to the legislature. Passage of this bill in its current form would basically destroy IT here in this country. Since I work for a multi-national corporation it would be particularly interesting to see how that would work. Just think of the efforts required to change every file server and mail server in the US...
  • by NFW ( 560362 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @09:48PM (#3211042) Homepage
    The hired help in DC have set up web site for comments, and the comments are, at the moment, unanimously opposed to the bill. Check it out. []
  • by MikeKD ( 549924 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @09:58PM (#3211079) Homepage
    Ok, this may seem a bit naive, but what about people from the above states? How should we go about swaying the opinions of the Filthy Five who are sponsoring this bill? Or are we resigned to simply register our disgust with them? Perhaps some tactics other than the standard letter suggesting how s/he should vote?

    That said, I do plan to let the Honorable Sen. Boxer (D-CA) know how I feel about this...

    Also, I don't recall seeing a good list posted of what to do and what to avoid when contacting government, so here is the EFF's list of Dos & Don'ts []. Read it. Know it. Live it.


  • BSA Opposed to it (Score:3, Informative)

    by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot@keirstead. o r g> on Friday March 22, 2002 @10:47PM (#3211227) Homepage

    The most interesting thing I find about all this is the Business Software Alliance is opposed to this bill []. For those who don't know, the BSA is the alliance of companices like Microsoft and Adobe that audit random companys, extorting money from them for failed license compliance. Basiclly, if the BSA is opposed that must mean MS is opposed as well. I am curious why they are not more vocal about this issue? And perhaps we will see some more favorable press towards it on MSNBC? Interesting indeed.

  • by ASyndicate ( 159990 ) on Friday March 22, 2002 @11:58PM (#3211452) Homepage
    I am a Citizen. I pay my taxes, I go to work, I try to trust my government that they will do the right thing.

    This is complete HORSESHIT to say that I cannot do what I want with the computer I Paid for.

    This is called corruption.

    n 1: lack of integrity or honesty; esp susceptibility to bribery; use of a position of trust for dishonest gain.

    HELLO commerce committee, you are corrupt and terrible people and should have NO PLACE ON EARTH TO REPRESENT ANYONE.

  • by Colz Grigor ( 126123 ) on Saturday March 23, 2002 @06:02AM (#3212162) Homepage
    My thoughts and concerns:
    (1) The lack of high quality digital content continues to hinder consumer adoption of broadband Internet service and digital television products.

    Broadband Internet service is by no means required or an inalienable right. I do not feel it is my government's responsibility to meddle in the business affairs of broadband providers insofar as adoption of the technology is concerned. I also believe that there are many reasons why adoption of broadband has not occurred as rapidly as some would have hoped, the lack of high quality digital content being dubious at best.

    (4) Current agreements reached in the marketplace to include security technologies in certain digital media devices fail to provide a secure digital environment because those agreements do not prevent the continued use and manufacture of digital media devices that fail to incorporate such security technologies.

    If such technologies exist (and I do not believe that they do) to create a digital environment that allows all possibilities of fair use and at the same time prevent unauthorized use, adoption of the technology can be assisted by the parties that benefit from the technology by subsidizing the purchase price. A $200 rebate on computers with this technology would be much less subversive (and offensive) than mandating that all computers must utilize the technology.

    (5) Other existing digital rights management schemes represent proprietary, partial solutions that limit, rather than promote, consumers' access to the greatest variety of digital content possible.


    (6) Technological solutions can be developed to protect digital content on digital broadcast television and over the Internet.

    True, but I do not believe technological solutions can be developed that allow for fair use of digital content at the same time that the content is protected against unauthorized use.

    (7) Competing business interests have frustrated agreement on the deployment of existing technology in digital media devices to protect digital content on the Internet or on digital broadcast television.

    There must be a reason why there are competing business interests surrounding deployment of this technology. Further research should be done to understand the competing position rather than simply passing this bill to undermine it.

    (8) The secure protection of digital content is a necessary precondition to the dissemination, and on-line availability, of high quality digital content, which will benefit consumers and lead to the rapid growth of broadband networks.

    My response to this is the same as my response to Item (1).

    (9) The secure protection of digital content is a necessary precondition to facilitating and hastening the transition to high-definition television, which will benefit consumers.

    Several companies (CBS, HBO, etc.) are already broadcasting content via HDTV. If these companies are unconcerned about the lack of security afforded their content via the transmission protocol, I fail to see why a change to a secure transmission protocol is predicated. It is my belief that the reason there are so few HDTV broadcasts is because there are so few TVs capable of playing HDTV content. As HDTV becomes more common, so will HDTV broadcasts.
    It's also difficult for me to understand why HDTV benefits comsumers. If HDTV truly does benefit consumers, they would buy HDTV sets. The fact that consumers opt for lesser expensive TV sets leads me to believe that the average consumer is satisfied with the quality of their broadcasts. Change may be good, but change for the sake of change isn't.

    (10) Today, cable and satellite have a competitive advantage over digital television because the closed nature of cable and satellite systems permit encryption, which provides some protection for digital content.

    This is completely false. Encryption can be built into any transmission protocol be it via radio waves, Internet connections, cable, or satellite, regardless of an open or closed nature. The competitive advantage of cable and satellite providers is in the advent of new technology since the standard became common. In order to enable old technology devices (televisions) to use the new technology, additional hardware (set top boxes) is required. The same could be done by traditional signal broadcasts if companies chose to develop such technology. There's a reason they haven't developed the technology; no one believes the benefit of the technology outweighs the cost to develop it. If ABC believed that the benefits outweighed the costs and started broadcasting their signal in an encrypted format that could only be decrypted by purchasing one of their set top boxes, they would have done so by now.

    (11) Over-the-air broadcasts of digital television are not encrypted for public policy reasons and thus lack those protections afforded to programming delivered via cable or satellite.

    So if cable and satellite networks already have encryption technologies and over-the-air broadcasts do not (by choice), why must the decision to encrypt or not be forced onto the Internet?

    (12) A solution to this problem is technologically feasible but will require government action, including a mandate to ensure its swift and ubiquitous adoption.

    I don't think a solution is technologically feasible in order to ensure fair use. If the technology could be developed, I still don't think government intervention would be necessary to ensure adoption. Adoption could be gained simply by having desirable content made available only in an encrypted format. If, rather than subscribing to NetFlix, I could watch the latest videos on a pay-per-service basis, but only if I purchased special hardware that enabled me to view the videos, I would buy the hardware if doing so was cost-effective and to my benefit. If it's not cost-effective or to my benefit, there's no need for the technology to be developed, much less forced by the government.

    (13) Consumers receive content such as video or programming in analog form.

    In most cases, content originates in analog form.

    (14) When protected digital content is converted to analog for consumers, it is no longer protected and is subject to conversion into unprotected digital form that can in turn be copied or redistributed illegally.

    Content will always be converted to analog in the "last mile" between the viewing device and my eyeballs. Though the quality would be dubious, there is no way short of creating a fascist technological state to prevent me from using a digital video camera aimed at my viewing device to capture "protected" content and converting it into a format most convenient for my own use. Certainly, keeping the content encrypted up to the point of being displayed on the viewing device may make unauthorized use more difficult, but it will also make fair use more difficult (or impossible). Considering this, I think it is in the consumer's best interest to not pursue this technology.

    (15) A solution to this problem is technologically feasible but will require government action, including a mandate to ensure its swift and ubiquitous adoption.

    See (12).

    (16) Unprotected digital content on the Internet is subject to significant piracy, through illegal file sharing, downloading, and redistribution over the Internet.

    But if the technology exists to prevent piracy, couldn't this significant piracy be prevented by the owners of the digital content choosing to protect their assets? Is my government responsible for covering the asses of entertainment companies because entertainment companies do not wish to protect their assets without preventing fair use? I don't believe so.

    (17) Millions of Americans are currently downloading television programs, movies, and music on the Internet and by using ``file-sharing'' technology. Much of this activity is illegal, but demonstrates consumers' desire to access digital content.

    Millions of Americans drive faster than the speed limit every day. The demonstrates drivers' desire to go fast. Would the appropriate solution be to mandate that all cars must have a device that disallows going faster than the spped limit, or would the appropriate solution be to increase the speed limit? My answer to this is: neither. In the case of both speeding and protecting digital assets, no government action is necessary. If the entertainment industry desires protected digital content, they should protect their content. No government mandate need be required.

    (18) This piracy poses a substantial economic threat to America's content industries.

    There are economic threats to the consumer if this bill is passed, including the necessity of purchasing new computer hardware in order to view content they otherwise have a legal right to.
    America's content industries have the resources to fend for themselves with regards to protecting their own content.

    (19) A solution to this problem is technologically feasible but will require government action, including a mandate to ensure its swift and ubiquitous adoption.

    See (12).

    (20) Providing a secure, protected environment for digital content should be accompanied by a preservation of legitimate consumer expectations regarding use of digital content in the home.

    I'd like to see legitimate consumer "expectations" spelled out, and I would like to see law make it a punishable offense to prevent any of these consumer "expectations" from being allowed. With "fair use" explicit and an inalienable right, moving forward on protecting digital assets is reasonable.

    (21) Secure technological protections should enable content owners to disseminate digital content over the Internet without frustrating consumers' legitimate expectations to use that content in a legal manner.

    See (20).

    (22) Technologies used to protect digital content should facilitate legitimate home use of digital content.

    See (20).

    (23) Technologies used to protect digital content should facilitate individuals' ability to engage in legitimate use of digital content for educational or research purposes.

    And most importantly, I can't reiterate this enough, legitimate use of digital content should be mandated.



    (1) IN GENERAL.--The Federal Communications Commission, in consultation with the Register of Copyrights, shall make a determination, not more than 12 months after the date of enactment of this Act, as to whether--

    (A) representatives of digital media device manufacturers, consumer groups, and copyright owners have reached agreement on security system standards for use in digital media devices and encoding rules; and

    (B) the standards and encoding rules conform to the requirements of subsections (d) and (e).

    (2) Report to the Commerce and Judiciary Committees.--Within 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall report to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, the House of Representatives Committee on Commerce, and the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary as to whether--

    (A) substantial progress has been made toward the development of security system standards and encoding rules that will conform to the requirements of subsections (d) and (e);

    (B) private sector negotiations are continuing in good faith;

    (C) there is a reasonable expectation that final agreement will be reached within 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act; and

    (D) if it is unlikely that such a final agreement will be reached by the end of that year, the deadline should be extended.

    (b) AFFIRMATIVE DETERMINATION.--If the Commission makes a determination under subsection (a)(1) that an agreement on security system standards and encoding rules that conform to the requirements of subsections (d) and (e) has been reached, then the Commission shall--

    (1) initiate a rulemaking, within 30 days after the date on which the determination is made, to adopt those standards and encoding rules; and

    (2) publish a final rule pursuant to that rulemaking, not later than 180 days after initiating the rulemaking, that will take effect 1 year after its publication.

    (c) NEGATIVE DETERMINATION.--If the Commission makes a determination under subsection (a)(1) that an agreement on security system standards and encoding rules that conform to the requirements of subsections (d) and (e) has not been reached, then the Commission--

    (1) in consultation with representatives described in subsection (a)(1)(A) and the Register of Copyrights, shall initiate a rulemaking, within 30 days after the date on which the determination is made, to adopt security system standards and encoding rules that conform to the requirements of subsections (d) and (e); and

    (2) shall publish a final rule pursuant to that rulemaking, not later than 1 year after initiating the rulemaking, that will take effect 1 year after its publication.
    So if the industry can't determine what is best for their consumers, the government will. Because the government is an expert with regards to what is best for consumers. It takes gall to think that the government could provide swifter and more equitable results than industry negotiations.

    (d) SECURITY SYSTEM STANDARDS.--In achieving the goals of setting open security system standards that will provide effective security for copyrighted works, the security system standards shall ensure, to the extent practicable, that--

    (1) the standard security technologies are--

    (A) reliable;

    (B) renewable;

    (C) resistant to attack;

    (D) readily implemented;

    (E) modular;

    (F) applicable to multiple technology platforms;

    (G) extensible;

    (H) upgradable;

    (I) not cost prohibitive; and

    (2) any software portion of such standards is based on open source code.

    Wouldn't this defeat the purpose of encoding the content in the first place? Or would it force all security to be performed entirely by hardware?
    And somehow, requiring "fair use" of content was left out of this section... go figure.


    (1) LIMITATIONS ON THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.--In achieving the goal of promoting as many lawful uses of copyrighted works as possible, while preventing as much infringement as possible, the encoding rules shall take into account the limitations on the exclusive rights of copyright owners, including the fair use doctrine.
    (2) PERSONAL USE COPIES.--No person may apply a security measure that uses a standard security technology to prevent a lawful recipient from making a personal copy for lawful use in the home of programming at the time it is lawfully performed, on an over-the-air broadcast, premium or non-premium cable channel, or premium or non-premium satellite channel, by a television broadcast station (as defined in section 122(j)(5)(A) of title 17, United States Code), a cable system (as defined in section 111(f) of such title), or a satellite carrier (as defined in section 119(d)(6) of such title).

    There it is in black and white. Fair use must be protected. Now if only fair uses were specific and itemized.

    Having read the rest of the bill, there's nothing that I find particularly problematical. Devices controlling digital assets will be mandated and it will be illegal to transport devices that don't have the digital rights control across state lines. It will also be illegal to modify the security system. Those are the least of my concerns if the above material isn't ironed out and addressed.

    ::Colz Grigor
  • by CEO zed ( 568464 ) on Saturday March 23, 2002 @11:17AM (#3212673) Homepage

    We appreciate your past efforts to bring the PC and Internet into the mainstream. The benefits to the economies of the world over the past 15 years has been phenomenal. However, now that this task is completed, your services are no longer required. Please put your computer hardware on ebay and find new professions.

    Some 500,000,000 mainstream users are online today. We must bring their offline world IP laws into the online world. This is necessary for their protection.

    A couple million technically inclined people stealing music, movies and software is no big deal. However, 500 million (and soon billions) of people stealing information is the equivalence of Marxism.

    So you should welcome this new law. This law will end warez forever. It will stop foreign countries who don't enforce IP laws from benefiting from the hard work of persons in the developed countries.

    And finally let's not forget our friends in Hollywood []. The end of the mass theft of music means better music in the long term.

    We thank you for your hard work to create a sophisticated useable information distribution system, as well as easy to use terminals to access that information system. Your input in the legislation of these devices and their medium is not desired. Please let the professionals in Washington handle it from here.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.