Piracy bill prompts techies to speak out

WASHINGTON: Advocates for the technology industry are battling Hollywood in an effort to shift the piracy debate away from government regulation.

WASHINGTON: Advocates for the technology industry are battling Hollywood in an effort to shift the piracy debate away from government regulation.

Congress is considering legislation proposed by Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-SC) that would prohibit electronics and software companies from selling digital devices - anything that might be used to copy DVDs or CDs, for example - that do not have built-in content protection.

However, Hollywood studios and music companies want the legislation to go through in order to protect copyrighted material.

The Computer Systems Policy Project (CSPP) has joined together with other industry groups, including the Business Software Alliance, the Information Technology Industry Council, and the Information Technology Association of America, to fight the proposal.

"First of all, we want to communicate that the best solution for protecting digital content is a market-led solution,

explained Jennifer Greeson, communications director of CSPP. "The government should not be in the business of developing technical standards,."

Another message the coalition wants to get across is that this legislation will be detrimental to technological innovation, and that the tech industry has as much to gain from finding a solution to piracy problems as any other sector.

The coalition has been enlisting prominent tech CEOs to write editorials on the issue, and has been offering its perspective to members of Congress, policy makers, and the media through face-to-face meetings.

Greeson admitted that the tech industry was slower to react to the issue than Hollywood. "We had a lot of catching up to do,

she said. "There was a lot of hyped-up rhetoric at the beginning of this debate."

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