Senator Ernest Hollings: Hollywood's Own Whore : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread

Just one of dozens of stories about how Hollings, a Democratic senator from SC, has basically sold himself out to the entertainment industry. From Business Week:
Forget about Bill Gates, folks. The biggest enemy of free software may be Senator Ernest F. Hollings. Legislation introduced in March, 2002, by the South Carolina Democrat to require that copyright-protection software be embedded in PCs, handheld computers, CD players -- and anything else that can play, record, or manipulate data -- could make open-source software such as the Linux operating system illegal.

Initially, the Hollings bill provoked a huge outcry mainly from consumer groups, plus makers of PCs and electronics gear (see BW Online, 3/27/02, "Guard Copyrights, Don't Jail Innovation"). Now that the measure's full implications have sunk in, the usually vocal open-source community is starting to react as well.

Linux guru and Hewlett-Packard consultant Bruce Perens says Hollings-style copyright protection schemes are "a high-level concern" for open-source advocates, a point he has made to Hollings' aides and to protechnology Representative Rick Boucher (D-Va.). Consumer-advocacy groups such as San Francisco's Electronic Frontier Foundation also are defending the open-source concept in negotiations between electronics manufacturers and entertainment companies that could result in new standards that outlaw the use of open-source components in new digital TV sets and tuners.

KEY ISSUE.  Here's the crux of the issue: Hollywood studios and record labels want to encrypt their products with an algorithm of some sort, for which every piece of hardware or software that plays or displays their material must have a corresponding electronic key. (If the algorithm or the key is missing, the content won't play -- thus thwarting pirates.) For added protection, the established entertainment companies want Congress to pass a law requiring technology companies to build the key into their products. Thus, no DVD players, PCs, CD players, or operating systems would be legal without Hollywood-designed copyright protection.

Click the link for more. This bill needs to be STOPPED, or Big Brother is going to decide whether you can make a backup copy of software that you've paid for, and eventually, whether you could even dub a CD onto a cassette for your car.

-- Stephen M. Poole (, May 19, 2002

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