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The congressional corral [digital media copying prevention]

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For now, technologies for ripping, mixing, and burning digital technology are lawful to manufacture and distribute in the United States. But for how much longer? The motion picture industry among other groups of copyright holders, wants Congress to mandate that standard technical protection be installed in all digital media devices. In March 2002, Senator Ernest ("Fritz") Hollings (D-S.C.), with the endorsement of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) and others, introduced legislation to do just that. His Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CB DTPA) would give representatives of technology companies, copyright holders, and consumer groups 12 months to agree on such "standard technical measures". The act would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct a rulemaking that would lead to the requirement that a standard protection measure be embedded in every digital media device. This latter term is broadly enough defined to include general-purpose computers. Making or distributing digital media devices without the standard measure, or removing or altering the measure, would be illegal and, if done for profit, would be a felony.

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Spectrum, IEEE  (Volume:40 ,  Issue: 5 )