FC: U.S. House not willing to endorse mandatory copy protection

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Mon Mar 04 2002 - 08:18:26 PST

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       House Cool to Copy Protection
       By Declan McCullagh (declanat_private) and Robert Zarate
       2:00 a.m. March 4, 2002 PST
       WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House of Representatives doesn't seem willing
       to intercede in an increasingly bitter dispute over embedding copy
       protection controls in all consumer electronic devices.
       Key legislators in the House have indicated they're skeptical of the
       government mandating anti-piracy technology, an approach that
       Democrats of the Senate Commerce Committee endorsed during a hearing
       last Thursday.
       Fretting that online piracy of digital content will imperil sales,
       Hollywood studios have asked Congress to bypass their negotiations
       with Silicon Valley firms by requiring that all PCs and consumer
       electronics sport technology to prohibit illicit copying. Senate
       Commerce Chairman Fritz Hollings (D-South Carolina) has championed
       this approach.
       "Mr. Coble believes Hollings' approach would have the government
       mandate specific software standards governing encryption or access
       to copyrighted works, which are transmitted digitally in lieu of
       negotiated industry standards," said a spokesman for Rep. Howard
       Coble (R-North Carolina), the chairman of the House Judiciary
       Subcommittee on Intellectual Property.
       Spokesman Terry Shawn said: "He is concerned that this approach is
       too interventionist and could lead to standards which favor certain
       brands of software over others, and which could quickly become
       obsolete as technology improves or changes." [...]
       "Hollings' bill would mandate copy protection chips on all sorts of
       hardware and machines in the same way that the V-chip was mandated
       on television sets," said Richard Diamond, a spokesman for House
       Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas).
       Diamond said his boss, one of the more vocal members of the
       Republican Party's free-market wing, doesn't like the government
       requiring standards: "Rep. Armey found the V-chip inappropriate
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