Subject: Hollings bill comment options
From: L.Jean Camp <>
Date: Sun, 24 Mar 2002 22:14:46 -0500

Hollings Bill has is hitting  the floor.

Here is the short story: the bill would alter the design of digital 
devices, (e.g., Tivo, game boxes, set top boxes, computers) so that they 
become effectively interactive TVs. The bill requires hardware built-in 
digital content control. So, for example, opening software, tweaking it, 
and saving it would be prohibited.

Hollings got a huge amount of pressure about open source and that his 
bill would prohibit open source software. So the bill was altered to 
require open source for the security, while still effectively 
prohibiting the use and innovation in source code.

Effectively this bill is based on a deeply flawed conception of 
broadband as interactive TV. Recall the original vision of the NII "500 
channels". When a consumer of content wants to become a producer the 
Disney mental model breaks down.

BTW: Edwards is one of only two Senators on  Committee on Commerce, 
Science, and Transportation and Judiciary -- the two committees for this 
bill.  (The other is Dianne Feinstein and she is a big supporter of 

This is also a committee fight - what committee get to address 
intellectual property? This has traditionally been   the turf of 
Judiciary and Commerce has charged in.  You can see that the comment 
section in judiciary 
does not include a SSSCA pointer.

BEFORE you post take a moment to realize that the Senate does not care a 
rat's rear about the difference between open source, open code and free 
software, in fact,  they do not care a tiny little hair on a rat's rear.

Here are a couple more thoughts: first realize these people are lawyers, 
so talk about technology and innovation and running a business -- areas 
where you have a serious advantage in terms of expertise. Comments from 
geeks on the Constitution fly as well in legal circles as the SSSCA 
flies in these circles. Talk about growing wealth on the net and uses of 
the net. Try not to be too angry.

So please keep the fights in the family, and use this opportunity to 
make well-argued statements about the business of making money on 
software which is also freely available in source form.

Happy Monday.