Apple Joins Microsoft, Dell & Others To Fight Hollywood & The CBDTPA

Yet another group is standing up to protest Senator Fritz Hollingsi misleadingly named Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act, or CBDTPA. The CBDTPA is a proposed law being backed and pushed by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and sponsored by Senator Hollings. As it is written, the CBDTPA would, if passed, require all computer hardware and consumer electronics devices to have hardware-level copy copyright protection built in. This would allow utter control by media companies over how, when, and by whom digital content was displayed or played on your computer, whether or not you owned it legally.

That is, until some rebellious 18 year old hacker figured out how to crack it (the TMO office pool suggests that will take as long as 23 minutes).

The CBDTPA has been resisted by a wide assortment of privacy advocates, anti-copyright activists, civil libertarians, and even tech companies. According to C|Net, there is a new outfit fighting against the proposed legislation, and itis no rag-tag group of misfits letting their voice be heard. The group, called the Alliance for Digital Progress, consists of none other than corporate heavyweights like Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, and Intel. From C|Net:

A coalition of companies including Apple Computer, Microsoft, Dell Computer, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard and Intel said Thursday that they had joined together to oppose legislation backed by the movie studios that would allow the U.S. government to set antipiracy standards for PCs and consumer-electronics devices.

Their specific target is a bill by Sen. Fritz Hollings, D-S.C., which was introduced last year but has yet to be introduced to the 108th Congress, which began its session this month. By demonstrating broad opposition to the idea, and by enlisting libertarian and conservative advocacy groups in their coalition, the firms hope to bottle up any similar proposal this year.

Fred McClure, a former aide to President George H.W. Bush and head of the Washington office of the Winstead Consulting Group, has been hired to lead the effort, called the Alliance for Digital Progress.

[...]

MPAA President Jack Valenti said last week that he was continuing to weigh approaches like the Hollings bill, which is called the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA). In a statement Thursday, Valenti accused the tech coalition of warmongering.

"The MPAA is trying to reach a mutually agreeable conclusion whose aim it is to stop the thievery of films so that a legitimate digital marketplace can thrive," Valenti said. "We are not the enemy. We are not at war with the IT community. We are hoping that (future) meetings will produce amiable results. Which is why I am shaking my head in wonderment at this million-dollar campaign to deride us."

[...]

McClure, president of the Alliance for Digital Progress, would not say where the coalition stood on other copyright proposals before Congress and the Federal Communications Commission, or what he thought of industry-negotiated solutions that the government could possibly make mandatory.

If the government were to get involved, the newly formed coalition would fragment quickly. Included in it are free-market groups such as Americans for Tax Reform, Citizens Against Government Waste, the Washington Legal Foundation and the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), which generally believe in a laissez-faire approach.

You can read the full article at C|Net News.

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