March 22, 2002

The emperor has no clothes. And is ugly to boot.

My day started by finding this piece, talking about how AOL-Time Warner's directive to all of their properties to use AOL for corporate email has finally been rescinded. Evidently AOL's wonderful email service isn't so wonderful for themselves. At least where I work, we use our own email products. (If you don't want to believe something bad about AOL from MSNBC, read this version on CNN, a company wholly owned by AOL-Time Warner.)

Later in the day, I found news that Sen. Fritz Hollings has finally introduced his Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA) as a bill. The bill purports to protect the interests of copyright holders by mandating that all computer hardware and software have built-in copy-protection abilities. While I'm all in favor of copyright holders being fairly compensated -- I actually do buy software, music, movies, etc. -- this is just insane. The bill as written is so broad, it would evidently make the DOS "copy" or Unix "cp" command illegal. Imagine a world where every piece of software had to include copy protection support. Even simple applications like SimpleText or Notepad would evidently require new support. Woe to the person who releases something without this support. The penalties are by definition the same as for violation of the DMCA, where violators "... shall be fined not more than $500,000 or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both, for the first offense." Quite a hefty price to pay for that shareware utility that lets you copy and organize pictures. 

What's really depressing is that this is such a Democrat-sponsored bill. In addition to Hollings (D-SC), co-sponsors include one Republican and four other Democrats, including our own Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Democrats are supposed to be the champions of the individuals, but in recent years have shown themselves as anything but that on any kind of intellectual property / privacy issue. No doubt the fact that Democrats have long been heavily supported by Hollywood has something to do with their enthusastic support of this bill, which couldn't have been any more slanted if it had been written by Walt Disney Chairman Michael Eisner.

More coverage of the bill is here and here.

Posted by Mike at March 22, 2002 11:45 PM

i did not read this because it was to long

Posted by: dayamy on June 9, 2003 08:01 PM