Tauzin tours Tinseltown

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Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce
Committee, spent the last few days schmoozing his way around Hollywood.

Among others, Tauzin met with ABC President Bob Iger, News Corp. CEO Rupert
Murdoch, Sony Pictures President Mel Harris, and Warner Bros. Chairman Barry
Meyer.

'We are trying to encourage them to come up with some plans to jumpstart the
transition to digital,' Tauzin said.

In the case of Hollywood, that means coming to terms with Hollywood's
high-tech brethren in Silicon Valley and devising a way to copy-protect digital
programming that everyone can live with.

Although that's been a testy issue in Washington, on Thursday Rep.
Tauzin said that he's seen progress.

As an example, Tauzin pointed to a new system called 'Movie Links' in the
works by Sony, Warner Bros. and other studios.

Movie Links allows paying consumers to download first-run movies onto their
computers 90 days after their theatrical release.

'It's the first real good sign that there's a coming together of interests
with the Internet and content community,' Tauzin said.

Tauzin also toured Fox's high-definition production facilities, did a stint
on Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect, and stopped by Jay Leno's The
Tonight Show
.

The committee plans to continue its roundtable meetings
and hold a public hearing on the digital TV transition on April 25.

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