Feds urged to resist copy-protection mandates - Broadcasting & Cable

Feds urged to resist copy-protection mandates

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An alliance of technology firms, consumer groups, think tanks and taxpayer-rights organizations called on the government to resist Hollywood's fight for
federal copy-protection mandates for TV broadcasts, CDs and movies.

"A mandate will raise the price of everything from CD players and DVD players
to personal computers," said Fred McClure, president of the Alliance for Digital
Progress. "It will make the devices consumers own today obsolete. And it will
stifle the innovation at the heart of digital progress."

Copy protection is essential to ensure that content creators don't lose their
rightful profits because of pirated copying of their works, McClure said, but
the technologies must be developed and implemented through private negotiations.

McClure said ADP does not oppose the broadcast industry's preferred solution,
the broadcast flag, nor any other technology.

"Piracy of digital content is a serious, complex problem that concerns all of
us," he added. "But government-designed and mandated technology that swaps
the diversity of marketplace solutions for a 'one-size-fits-all' approach is not
the answer."

Members of the alliance include Apple Computer Inc., Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co.,
Citizens for a Sound Economy, Washington Legal Foundation and 20 others.

Jack Valenti, Hollywood's top lobbyist, said he was baffled by the campaign,
which is being launched as the technology and movie industries negotiate over
possible copy protections.

"I am shaking my head in wonderment at this million-dollar campaign to deride
us," said Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America. "It's
a bit strange that the IT [information technology] community launches a million-dollar campaign against the
movie industry, and their spokesman at a press conference charges us as the
'enemy.' The MPAA is trying to reach a mutually agreeable conclusion whose aim
is to stop the thievery of films so that a legitimate digital marketplace can
thrive."

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