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[FYI] (Fwd) Webnoize: Hollings schedules SSSCA hearings October 25

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent:      	Thu, 18 Oct 2001 17:53:13 -0700
From:           	"Karsten M. Self" <kmself@ix.netcom.com>
To:             	Free Software Business <fsb@crynwr.com>
Subject:        	Webnoize:  Hollings schedules SSSCA hearings October 25

Mark Lewis of Webnoize reports that hearings on the SSSCA ("Security
Systems Standards and Certification Act") are scheduled for October
25. Public and fair-use interests not invited.


The SSSCA is legislation authored by Senators Hollings (D-SC) and
Stevens (R-AK) that would mandate copy prevention controls on every
piece of electronic hardware, and every computer program, with no
exceptions.  It was first publicized in early September.  Sponsorship
appears to come from Disney corporation.  

The law would make illegal a broad range of hardware, and would
effectively render the burgeoning free software movement a criminal
movement.  The focus on digital television, and language in the
statute on "time shifting", also appears to ban such pedestrian
activities as recording programs for repeated playing from TV
broadcasts. This language has *not been revised*, according to

    Hollings Sets Hearing on Copy Control, Explains Need for New Law

    Executives from Walt Disney, News Corp. and Thomson Multimedia
    will testify next week on Capitol Hill on the need for a proposed
    bill that ensures that computers and digital devices prevent
    individuals from making unauthorized copies of media, whether the
    content is copyrighted or not.

    Scheduled for October 25, the Senate Commerce Committee hearing
    will provide the first congressional forum to probe Disney's and
    News Corp.'s support for an unintroduced draft bill that would
    require all hardware manufacturers, networking companies and web
    sites to use security technologies approved by the federal

    Commerce Committee Chairman Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC) drafted
    the bill, called the Security Systems Standards and Certification
    Act, at the urging of Disney and News Corp., which have sought new
    legal guarantees for the protection of digital movies and digital
    TV broadcasts. A Senate source said it hasn't been determined
    whether the bill will be introduced in the remaining weeks of this
    congressional session. The bill's draft language, first reported
    by Webnoize, hasn't been revised [see 09.7.01 Hollings' Draft Bill
    Presents Radical Changes to Hardware and Copyright Law, Document


    Some computer and electronics attorneys believe their industries
    might eventually agree to a bill that only establishes
    copy-control for digital video and requires technology to prevent
    consumers from distributing digital TV files through the Internet.

    Closing that loophole is a problem because digital TV is broadcast
    without any encryption. Some industry attorneys believe that a law
    is needed to force manufacturers to build sets and recorders that
    use encryption, because a licensing system to require encryption
    could run afoul of antitrust law.


    Hollings' letter, which was also sent to lobbying groups the
    Business Software Alliance and the Consumer Electronics
    Association, chastised the organizations for offering their
    leaders to testify at the October 25 hearing, but not senior
    executives from member companies. Members include 3Com, Apple,
    IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Sony Electronics and hundreds of others.


    Disney and News Corp. secured witness spots for their top
    executives -- Disney Chairman and CEO Michael Eisner and News
    Corp. Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin. Other conglomerates'
    studios, notably Sony Corp.'s Sony Pictures and AOL Time Warner's
    Warner Bros., haven't chimed in to support the bill, having
    already agreed to use encryption co-developed by Matsushita, Sony,
    Hitachi, Intel and Toshiba for movies delivered over cable and
    satellite systems.

    Thomson, the French electronics giant, snagged a witness spot for
    Jim Meyer, the firm's highest-ranking American and a special
    advisor to Thomson's chairman. Eager to accelerate its digital TV
    business and protect its MP3 audio business, Thomson is taking a
    careful political position on the issue.


    Non-profit public interest groups haven't been invited to the
    hearing, which has motivated them to take action. The Electronic
    Frontier Foundation (EFF) is drafting a letter to Hollings asking
    that the EFF, librarians or consumer groups be included, according
    to Fred von Lohmann, senior intellectual property attorney for the

    Branding the bill "DMCA 2," after the highly controversial Digital
    Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the EFF states on its web site
    that Hollings' bill would eliminate the "preservation or
    protection of fair use, first sale, the public domain, or any of
    the other rights reserved for the public by copyright law."

    "We're also talking to other interested parties, including the
    Consumer Electronics Association, the Home Recording Rights
    Coalition, and ACM [Association for Computing Machinery], as well
    as several technology companies, about the possibility of building
    a broad coalition to oppose the bill," emailed von Lohmann.

    The hearing is called "Promoting Broadband: Securing Content and
    Accelerating the Transition to Digital Television." At press time,
    the hearing had not been postponed due to a clean-up project to
    remove anthrax bacteria sent to the office of Sen. Tom Daschle
    (D-S.D.), the Democratic majority leader.

For additional background, see:

    Security Systems Standards and Certification Act (Full Text)

    Security Systems Standards and Certification Act (Analysis)

    EFF Alert:  Defeat SSSCA:

    USACM letter to Sen. Hollings criticizing draft SSSCA bill

    Sen. Hollings plans to introduce DMCA sequel: The SSSCA

    Anti-SSSCA petition asks Congress not to pass draft bill

    Hollywood lobbyists laud SSSCA as "exceedingly reasonable" bill

Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>      
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?             Home of the
  http://gestalt-system.sourceforge.net/                   Land of the
   Free Dmitry! Boycott Adobe! Repeal the DMCA!
Geek for Hire                    

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