The Elecktronick Tyger Roares
28 January 2006
  "Digital Content Protection Act of 2006" -- Bad Idea. Very Bad Idea.
Okay -- for those with an urge to dig through all of the Senatorial bumph to learn the Absolute Worst, herewith a link to the text of the bill as introduced.

If that leaves you sufficiently incensed that you need no further urging to want to Do Something, click here for the Electronic Freedom Foundation's action-center item for writing to your Senator.

Otherwise, it gets worse... or at least more ominous:

A Boing Boing reader follows up Cory Doctorov's original post there on this and supplies the following interesting info about the bill's sponsor (almost certainly not its actual author; that would be some high-powered lobbyist/law firm in the pay of the NAB, MPAA or RIAA [or (D) All of the above]):
Update Jami sez, "The author of the new bill to break our televisions, computers, and mp3 players, Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon, has been paid tens of thousands of dollars to do it. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has been lobbying hard for the sole ability to decide how hard it's gonna be for us to listen to an mp3. The NAB has thrown nearly $250,000 at Republican candidates this year alone. NAB's money stuck to Gordon Smith."
Andrew Kantor, in his regular USAToday column, sounds the warning tocsin:
The government, rather than the free market, would be able to say what capabilities a new device could have. And you can bet the entertainment industry would have a big say in that.

If this was law a few years ago, the entire digital music movement would have been stopped in its tracks. See, the RIAA fought tooth and nail against the Diamond Multimedia Rio PMP300, eventually losing in federal court. Had the DCPA been in effect, Diamond never could have made it; the FCC would have said No.
In short, this bill is designed to crush innovation, because the entertainment industry is unable to handle it. Its content and revenue model is stuck in the 1990s, and the people running it don't have the business sense to keep up with the digital times. They need to beg Congress to pass laws protecting their business model.
The entertainment industry has been doing its level best to shoot itself in both feet simultaneously with large-calibre stupidity, and this sounds to me like more of the same.
A friend of a friend was a major material witness in the Sony-Disney foolishness almost thirty years ago, and i can't say as how i feel as if the entertainment industry has learnt much since then.

Other friends are members of one of the hottest bands of the last ten years or so -- an incredible band that cannot hold a major-label contract despite a large and loyal fanbase because they don't fit the straitjacket that the entertainment industry's format fuehrers have radually been drawing tighter and tighter around popular entertainment.

And they want to tell us what we can or cannot listen to, watch, record or download in our own homes. They want to be able to cripple our teevees, computers and such so that we can't possibly avail ourselves of anythiong except exactly hwat they want us to hav.

Kantor, again:
Here's how it works. The DCPA would allow the FCC to regulate any device capable of moving content around. Can you transfer content to it from your computer? It's regulated. Can it convert music or movies from one format to another? It's regulated. Does it have output jacks? It's regulated.

What features couldn't the FCC regulate? Only which permit "customary historic use" - such as playing music and making low-grade copies.


So the big-time pirates - the kind folks who burn thousands of DVDs for sale on the streets of Beijing - will be unaffected. And a good number of people who are affected will start using file-sharing software to get better-quality copies of their entertainment.

And there's the irony: People who simply want to exercise their legal rights under copyright law - to make a backup copy of their music - will be forced to get their entertainment illegally. And the people who obey the law will find they're getting less and less value for their money.

And the entertainment industry will find it difficult to understand why more and more people go out of their way to avoid the law's restrictions.

Prohibition was a flaming disaster. This thing has the potential to make Prohibition look like a minor glitch.
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My interests are broadranging -- comics, music, movies and good ol' science fiction mostly dominate. My Five Most Favouritest Films are (this week) Once Upon A Time in the West, Dark Star, O Lucky Man, Day for Night and Whatever I Watched Recently That Was Good. Currently that's Day for Night.

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Name: mike weber
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Latter fifties, married, out of work (had knee surgery and haven't gotten back to work); my (step) son-in-law is back from Iraq, but a lot of boys are still over there. Support our troops -- throw the Republicans out!

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