[olug] Fwd: FC: Essay on CBDTPA: "Hollings, Valenti, and the AmericanTechniban"

Timothy G. O'Brien IrishMASMS at netscape.net
Thu Mar 28 02:46:00 UTC 2002

FYI.. (if you are not up on this screwjob)

-----Original Message-----
   From:   Chet Uber [mailto:eidetic at mindspring.com] 
   Sent:   Wednesday, March 27, 2002 7:26 AM
   To: 'infragard at nebraskacert.org'; 'sansug at yahoogroups.com'
   Subject:    [sansug] [Fwd: FC: Essay on CBDTPA: "Hollings, Valenti, and
   the  AmericanTechniban"]

   The follow on referring to National Security and the DMCA is also

   -------- Original Message --------
   From:   Declan McCullagh <declan at well.com>
   Subject:    FC: Essay on CBDTPA: "Hollings, Valenti, and the
   To: politech at politechbot.com

   Politech archive on CBDTPA:


   Date:   Tue, 26 Mar 2002 07:59:58 -0500
   Subject:    Hollings, Valenti, and the American Techniban
   From:   Richard Forno <rforno at infowarrior.org>
   To: <declan at well.com>

   Morning, Declan - FYI.
   The full version with hyperlinked references is available at
   http://www.infowarrior.org/articles/2002-03.html, if you're interested.

   Hollings, Valenti, and the American Techniban
   Richard Forno
   25 March 2002
   rforno at infowarrior.org
   (c) 2002 by Author. Permission is granted to quote, reprint or redistribute
   provided the text is not altered, and appropriate credit is given.
   Summary: Discussion of the latest (and controversial) piece of
   entertainment-industry legislation designed to screw the law-abiding
   citizens of the Net.
   The United States is engaged in a war against oppressive regimes run by
   ignorant fanatics barely able to comprehend the intricacies of modern
   society. Through actions favoring the ruling class, secret midnight deals,
   and restricting public distribution of information, citizens in these
   societies are unable to evolve and live as productive members of the
   international community. In Afghanistan, this was evidenced by the
   philosophy and practices of the now-defunct Taliban. Unfortunately, this
   fanaticism has spread to the United States and evidenced by the rise of the
   American Techniban.
   The American Techniban are led by Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (D-SC) who
   serves as the duly-appointed Congressional mouthpiece and elected puppet of
   the entertainment industry cartels, having received nearly $300,000 in
   campaign funding from Hollywood since 1997. Known in some circles as the
   'Senator From Disney,' Hollings also bears a striking resemblance to a
   younger Jack  Valenti. (Valenti, for those unaware, is CEO of the movie
   industry's lobby group and the founder of America's Techniban movement.)
   Brainwashed by the Gospel of Valenti, the American Techniban's goal is
   simple. Under the guise of 'preserving America's intellectual capital' and
   supported by the funding of the entertainment industry cartels, they seek to
   sustain the entertainment industry's Industrial Age business model (and
   monopolies) in the modern Information Age - where such models are rendered
   obsolete by emerging technology.
   According to Techniban Leader Senator Hollings, the lack of 'ubiquitous
   protections' has led to a 'lack of [high-quality] digital content on the
   Internet - apparently he doesn't believe that consumers are interested in
   any 'high-quality digital content' outside of what is produced by the major
   entertainment industries. Forget the garage band in Miami or the two
   teenagers producing an hour-long movie describing adolescent depression shot
   with Dad's camcorder during Spring Break, or WashingtonPost.Com.  Hollings'
   interpretation of the Gospel of Valenti is that if a digital content didn't
   come from an entity supporting the entertainment industry cartels it must
   not be a worthwhile product.  Unfortunately, many folks are of the belief
   that since we don't require such 'security' measures for handguns (something
   that can kill people) so why have such measures on electronic media which
   educates and entertains them?
   Last week, despite significant protest from the Internet populations and
   on-the-record promises to delay any formal Senate action on the matter,
   Hollings introduced the controversial and draconian legislative proposal
   entitled the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act
   (CBDTPA). This proposal is essentially a renamed version of Hollings'
   original Security Systems Standards and Certification Act (SSSCA) from early
   2001.  (bill summary and full text) It should also be noted that with the
   exception of one executive from Intel, every person invited to testify on
   the proposed CBDTPA was from the entertainment industry....there were no
   artists, musicians, producers, or consumers invited. So much for this being
   a 'consumer-friendly' bill.
   Conspiracy theorists argue that the 'short name' for the bill was done to
   confuse the public and other legislators...after all, it's difficult to
   argue against something neither you nor your audience can pronounce.
   Political analysts believe Hollings' introduction of CBDTPA was done in a
   grumpy response to his counterparts in the US House recently passing the
   Tauzin-Dingel bill on telecommunications industry reform, several portions
   of which Hollings vehemently disagrees with.
   Simply put, CBDTPA outlaws the sale or distribution of nearly any electronic
   device and computer operating system unless it includes government-mandated
   copy-prevention restrictions. Think of it as the federal government
   mandating how, where, when, and for how long you can own or read a book at
   the time you purchase it at Barnes and Noble or check it out of your local
   This is the latest episode in a two decade-old argument made by the
   entertainment industry. From the early days of the VCR, to cassette tape
   recorders, floppy disks, computers, and now the Internet, the Hollywood
   moguls continually belief that emerging technology spells doom for their
   profits and ability to deliver 'quality content' to the American public.
   According to some reports, in 2001, videocassette rental and sales totaled
   about $11 billion and exceeded box office receipts by over $2 billion.
   Ironically, the VCR is the same device once referred to by Jack Valenti as
   the 'Boston Strangler' that would decimate the film industry. Funny that
   both he and the American film industry are still around and profiting beyond
   the Dreams of Avarice.
   Under the unpronounceable CBDTPA, anything that can record or store digital
   information must be equipped with copy-prevention technology. Thus, under
   CBDTPA, nearly all existing electronic devices such as personal computers,
   mainframes, camcorders, servers, MP3 players, home stereos, VCRs, car
   stereos, pocket calculators, wristwatches, cellular phones, microwave ovens,
   CB radios, cameras, electronic thermostats, CD recorders, photocopiers, fax
   machines, televisions, and rectal thermometers - would become illegal.  Got
   a computerized pacemaker? Better have it switched out for a
   Techniban-compliant one and pray your HMO will cover the costs as
   non-elective surgery.
   One can only drool at the prospects of dealing with the black market in such
   uncontrolled technologies...if it's a question of looking out for terrorists
   and drug dealers or smugglers of unrestricted hard drives and MP3 players,
   where do you think US Customs will focus its efforts? Will blank hard disks
   become a prohibited import item like Cuban cigars?
   The most striking aspect of CBDTPA (and its cousin, the still-controversial
   Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998) is that both automatically outlaw
   what might be done by someone, and not what actually is done. Both
   initiatives presume the citizen guilty until proven guiltier, not in the
   eyes of the court, but by the pre-emptive whims and desires of corporations
   seeking to maintain control over consumers and their crumbling Industrial
   Age business models. In essence, they pre-emptively criminalize what MIGHT
   happen, as opposed to what DOES happen.  (e.g., Knowing how to kill someone
   is not by itself illegal; but committing murder is, and being proven to have
   done so carries harsh penalties.)
   Such a concept is not hard to belief. Reportedly, Microsoft is working with
   Intel and AMD to create a new feature for future processors that will work
   with Microsoft operating systems to enforce corporate copyright interests,
   something partially-completed in Windows XP's Media Player.  Should this be
   completed, Microsoft would be in a position of considerable power - more
   than today - over the majority of electronic content processed by electronic
   devices and computers. It should be noted that Microsoft already holds a
   patent on a computer operating system that incorporates the copy-prevention
   technologies that the entertainment industry so desparately wants to inflict
   on Information Age citizen-consumers. Securing their software? Looks like
   the only thing Microsoft wants to secure are its corporate profits by
   aligning with Hollywood.
   According to some reports, America's domestic spending on computing
   technology is over $600 billion a year, while Hollywood generates a measly
   $35 billion to the national economy. CBDTPA would effectively compell a
   huge, dynamic industry - comprised of large and small companies,
   individuals, and academic researchers - to redefine itself simply to
   preserve the obsolete business models of the American entertainment
   Unfortunately for Americans and the people of the world embracing the
   digital environment for any and all lawful purposes, the goals of the
   American Techniban - brainwashed by the Gospel of Valenti - run contrary to
   everything the Internet stands for. CBDTPA and the American Techniban
   represent a fundamental threat to the future of modern information society;
   their goals are to effect electronic martial law on all information
   resources and implement draconian measures on today's information society
   for no other reason than to satisfy the profiteering desires of the
   entertainment moguls desperately trying to save their crumbling Industrial
   Age business models.
   It's high time that the entertainment companies learn that if they treat
   their customers as criminals, they'll not only have fewer customers, but
   many more criminals to contend with. How's that for economic growth?
   Further Reading:
   Forno - National Security and Digital Freedoms: How DMCA Threatens Both
   (#2001-05 from July 2001)
   EFF: Congress Calls For Public Participation on Digital Music Issues
   MPAA 2001 US Economic Review (Adobe PDF) showing upward trends for
   across the board

   DigitalConsumer.Org Online Petition - Stop CBDTPA

   POLITECH-Declan McCullagh's politics and technology mailing list You may
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