Tauzin to draft copyright, broadband bills


While industry representatives work to find compromises on the issues of
digital copyright and broadband deployment, House Energy and Commerce Committee
chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.) is writing new drafts of bills on both subjects.

Tauzin will be ready to introduce a new bill on digital copyrights as early
as next month, with hearings to follow in March or April, he said after speaking
at the National Association of Television Programming Executives convention in
New Orleans Tuesday.

"In the end, the last bill I file and we pass will be very simple. It will
codify and enforce industry agreements," he said.

Tauzin also plans to introduce a new bill on broadband
deployment in mid-February.

Last February, he won a vote in the House on his broadband bill, co-authored
with Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), but found little support for it in the Senate.

Tauzin said telecommunications companies are motivated to find some
compromise between them because they are looking for a jump-start in tough
economic times.

Tauzin will also be watching to see what the Federal Communications
Commission does while it works on several broadband-related proceedings.

He also predicted that little would be done in Washington, D.C., to further
regulate studios to slow down consolidation, although independent producers have
asked the FCC to cap the amount of self-owned programming the networks air in
prime time at 75 percent.

"I don't hear of anybody discussing anything right now," he said.

Tauzin was presented with the "Chairman's Award" at NATPE, after which he was
interviewed by Chris Matthews of NBC Enterprises' The Chris Matthews Show and Hardball with Chris Matthews on MSNBC.

Tauzin -- who was a Democrat for 15 years before becoming a Republican -- told
NATPE attendees he is known as a "transvestocrat" in some circles.