FC: Tech CEOs oppose SSSCA, tell Hollywood to try "market solutions"

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Wed Feb 27 2002 - 13:49:26 PST

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    Politech archive on Sen. Hollings' SSSCA:
    Witness list for Thursday's hearing:
    Draft text of the SSSCA:
       High-Tech: U.S. Out of Hollywood
       By Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
       11:49 a.m. Feb. 27, 2002 PST
       WASHINGTON -- America's largest and most powerful tech firms have
       agreed on one point: Keep Congress far away from digital content
       In a 600-word letter sent to movie studios on Wednesday afternoon, the
       chief executives of IBM, Microsoft, Motorola, Intel and five other
       corporations said they were eager to work with Hollywood to find
       "technically feasible, cost effective solutions" for protecting
       entertainment delivered in digital form.
       The letter ostensibly went to the chief executives of Walt Disney, AOL
       Time Warner, MGM, Sony Pictures and so on -- but the real audience was
       Senate Commerce chairman Fritz Hollings (D-South Carolina), who is
       convening a hearing Thursday morning on whether the U.S. government
       should require that copy protection be embedded in nearly all PCs and
       consumer electronic devices.
       Hollings has drafted, but has not introduced, legislation called the
       Security Systems Standards and Certification Act (SSSCA). A draft of
       the SSSCA obtained by Wired News prohibits creating, selling or
       distributing "any interactive digital device that does not include and
       utilize certified security technologies."
    February 27, 2002
    Michael Eisner                                  Sumner Redstone
    Chairman & Chief Executive Officer              Chairman & Chief Executive Offi
    The Walt Disney Company                         Viacom
    500 South Buena Vista Street                    1515 Broadway
    Burbank, CA 91521                               New York, NY 10036
    Jean-Marie Messier                              Gerald M. Levin
    Chairman & Chief Executive Officer              Chief Executive Officer
    Vivendi Universal                               AOL Time Warner
    375 Park Avenue                                 75 Rockefeller Plaza
    New York, NY 10152-0192                         New York, NY 10019
    Alex Yemenidjian                                John Calley
    Chairman & Chief Executive Officer              Chairman & Chief Executive Offi
    Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.                       Sony Pictures Entertainment
    2500 Broadway Street                            10202 W. Washington Boulevard
    Santa Monica, CA 90404                          Culver City, CA 90232
    K. Rupert Murdoch
    Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
    News Corporation
    1211 Avenue of Americas, 3rd Floor
    New York, NY 10036
    Dear Sirs:
    We write to you to urge inter-industry cooperation to ensure that
    digital content can be distributed to consumers efficiently through a
    variety of means.  Each of our companies is in the business of
    developing the hardware and software that will make e-commerce thrive.
    Constant access to information, through comprehensive broadband
    deployment and availability, we expect will in time be widely
    available.  It is clear that your companies' entertainment products
    will form an important part of a thriving on-line economy.  Digital
    television is also an important development, and we expect it will
    soon become widely available.
    Business models are only beginning to be developed for supplying
    consumers' on-demand entertainment.  We recognize the critical
    importance of effective anti-piracy tools in this changing market
    environment, and that the absence of such tools may affect the
    development of new product offerings.  To address this concern, our
    companies have worked diligently, voluntarily and cooperatively with
    producers of entertainment content, as well as consumer electronics
    companies, to develop systems that will foster the legitimate
    distribution of digital content.  The Copy Protection Technology
    Working Group (CPTWG) and the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) have
    been highly productive fora for developing consensus among the many
    disparate businesses that must work together to build a robust
    infrastructure for the secure dissemination of digital content. We
    have found these voluntary multi-industry standards setting efforts to
    be optimally effective in reaching workable market solutions.
    For instance, these voluntary groups have successfully formed
    consensus on key technologies, making it possible to distribute movies
    in protected environments such as in DVD format, and developing
    effective technologies for protecting content distributed over cable
    and satellite.  An inter-industry group is now working diligently
    within CPTWG to develop a consensus on a means to limit the unlawful
    redistribution of digital content delivered through unprotected
    over-the-air broadcast channels. This task force (the Broadcast
    Protection Discussion Group, or BPDG) is working to identify the
    workable technical and business solutions.
    The information technology industry is committed to doing its part in
    the shared multi-industry development and deployment of effective
    solutions for the protection of digital content through a variety of
    distribution channels and an array of settings. We understand this
    will be an ongoing undertaking, requiring responses as distribution
    methods and technology evolve and progress.  Our goal is to work with
    you in a consensus-based and cooperative fashion. We urge you to work
    with us to find technically feasible, cost effective solutions.
    We look forward to a fruitful collaboration to achieve our common goal
    of providing consumers with new and exciting digital entertainment
    Michael D. Capellas                     
    Chairman and CEO                        
    Compaq Computer Corporation     
    Michael S. Dell
    Chairman of the Board and CEO
    Louis V. Gerstner, Jr.
    Chairman of the Board and CEO
    IBM Corporation
    Craig Barrett
    Chief Executive Officer
    Intel Corporation
    Steve Bennett
    President and CEO
    Intuit Inc.
    Steven A. Ballmer
    Microsoft Corporation
    Christopher B. Galvin
    Chairman of the Board and CEO
    John S. Chen
    Chairman, CEO and President
    Sybase, Inc.
    Lawrence A. Weinbach
    Chairman of the Board and CEO
    Unisys Corporation
    Cc:  Jack Valenti
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