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Tue Jun 4 12:17:20 MDT 2013

against the VCR, the entertainment industry has always fought to keep
new technologies out of the marketplace. Again and again, new
technologies have generated fresh millions for the labels and studios
and publishers, and again and again, they've come back to bite the byte
that feeds them, blustering in front of lawmakers for the right to
control what technologists can build in the privacy of their own

But this time, they've gone too far. The movie studios have cooked up a
Congressional fire-drill whose objective is nothing less than total
control over the computer and electronics industry. Senator Hollings'
stalled one-law-to-rule-them all, the reviled SSSCA, is still lurking
in the wings. In the meantime, the entertainment industry is intent on
sneaking the SSSCA past Congress with a series of technology-specific

Their opening salvo is a seemingly innocuous pitch to "protect" digital
TV signals (coming to every TV near you by 2006, if the FCC gets its
way) by legislating the specifications for TVs, VCRs, PVRs and other
devices that sit between your antenna/cable and your eyeballs.

These specifications will allow studios to control the way you use
content, on the equipment you've bought and paid for. Studios are
seeking the power to specify whether you can record their programs, how
long those recordings will be viewable and whether you can make a copy
of the recordings. In order for this plan to work, "non-compliant"
technology, whether software, hardware, or otherwise, will have to be
swept off the market. SSSCA redux.

Never mind that such a scheme will advantage foreign manufacturers --
who will remain free to build "noncompliant" products that do more and
cost less -- in a down economy where U.S. electronics, software and
computer companies are fighting for their lives. Never mind that this
will inevitably slow the pace of innovation and increase costs for
consumers. Never mind that such measures are unduly restrictive and
defeat fair uses, limiting your ability to invent new uses for your
electronics. (Who'd have imagined the fantastic capacity for
grandmothers to use VCRs to create family histories of appearances on
broadcast news programs?)


Leslie Vadasz, one of the founders of Intel, had the chips to show up
at Senator Fritz Holling's hearings last week and let Congress know
that Intel, an Amercian company that pours $13.5 billion dollars into
the U.S. economy every year, wants the freedom to independently
negotiate the specifications for its equipment with the studios,
without Congressional intervention.

This attitude is something we need to encourage! Senator Hollings
conducted his hearings as a private discussion between the studios and
the gadget companies, without any representation from consumers or even
civil liberties organizations. The closest thing we have to an advocate
in these critical proceedings are the electronics, computer and
software companies.

EFF has the credibility to catch the ear of some of the key players in
the technology world, and we're making sure that they know that we're
behind them on this.

But we can't do it alone: You're their customers, and it's time you let
them know that we don't want your rights managed out of existence by
the MPAA, RIAA and other Hollywood lobbies, with their army of


This drive to contact Intel about their position on SSSCA is part of a
larger campaign to highlight intellectual property industry assaults
against the public's fair use rights, and what you can do about it.

Check the EFF Campaign for Audivisual Free Expression (CAFE) website
regularly for additional alerts and news:


EFF Media Advisory: Senate Hearings on Dramatic New Digital Media
Regulations (Feb. 27, 2002)

EFF Letter to the Senate Commerce Committee on the proposed SSSCA (Nov.
5, 2001)

EFF Action Alert on SSSCA (Sep. 21, 2001)

EFF "Intellectual Property - Video - HDTV/Digital Cable" Archive


The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil liberties
organization working to protect rights in the digital world. Founded in
1990, EFF actively encourages and challenges industry and government to
support free expression, privacy, and openness in the information
society. EFF is a member-supported organization and maintains one of
the most linked-to websites in the world:


Fred von Lohmann, EFF Senior Intellectual Property Attorney
fred at
+1 415-436-9333 x123

Cory Doctorow, EFF Outreach Coordinator
cory at
+1 415-726-5209

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