FW: EFF alert on SSSCA

Crawford Rainwater crawford.rainwater at itec-co.com
Fri Mar 8 19:44:45 PST 2002

In case some folks have not heard, the hearings for
the SSSCA are back in motion again in DC.  One potential
and very possibly interpretation of this bill would
mean that Linux would need to be copyrighted and have a
"source key" (like those wonderful MS OEM license keys
we all love) to some extent, if not completely.  As
a result, and in my opinion, this could harm the creative 
development of open source software which I believe to
be one of the foundations of the Linux community.

This is something I encourage individuals and companies
to take a serious look at.  I strongly urge folks to
write in opposition to his/her US Congress Reps.
The EFF has included some background information on
the subject, including what one of the Intel VP's did
during the hearing, oppose it, then left out for the
press as a thief of property.

For reference, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is the 
leading civil liberties organization working to protect 
rights in the digital world.  Founded in 1990, EFF actively 
encourages and challenges industry and government to support 
free expression, privacy, and openness in the information
society. EFF is a member-supported organization and maintains 
one of the most linked-to websites in the world:

Thank you for your time in advance in this matter.


Crawford Rainwater
CEO and Consultant

The I.T.E.C. Company
P.M.B. 146
368 South McCaslin Boulevard
Louisville, CO 80027 USA
(303) 604-2550 (voice)
(866) 604-2550 (toll free)
(303) 664-0036 (fax)



Electronic Frontier Foundation ACTION ALERT

(Issued: Friday, March 8, 2002 / Expires: Friday, March 22, 2002.)


When Senator Fritz Hollings (D-SC) held his hearings last week, he
thought he'd be setting the stage for slipping the Security Systems
Standards and Certification Act (SSSCA) back onto the legislative fast
track. The SSSCA was the bill that would have given Hollywood a veto on
the design of new technologies in order to "secure" copyrighted
material. The far-reaching bill would have crippled the American
technology industry in response to hysterical entertainment execs,
flushing away consumer rights and dumping innovation down the same

Senator Hollings' idea was to bring a bunch of Hollywood executives
together with technology industry execs to show that all the players
agreed with Hollings' plan to implement a mini-SSSCA that gives
Congress control over the specifications for all digital video

What he got instead was a gutsy speech from Intel co-founder Leslie
Vadasz, who told Congress that his industry shouldn't be treated like a
munition. Vadasz was the sole voice of reason in those hearings, saying
things that were patently obvious to anyone with a smidge of tech
know-how, but his words provoked a torrent of vitriol from Hollings and
his crew of studio heads, who hung Vadasz out for the press as a thief
who represents some shadowy technologists' conspiracy to steal business
out from underneath the entertainment industry.

Vadasz was the only technology industry representative with the
intelligence and integrity to speak up on behalf of the public interest
and consumer and business freedom. Civil liberties organizations and
the general public were definitely not welcome at Senator Hollings'
rights-management jamboree.

With Congress greatly influenced by Hollywood's financial clout, our
only hope of seeing justice served and our interests represented is
through brave technology industry execs like Leslie Vadasz. We're
writing to him on behalf of the EFF to let him know that he's not alone
in this fight, but he needs to hear it from Intel customers, too.


  * Send Intel Executive Vice-President Leslie Vadasz a letter letting
    him know that you're glad that *someone* finally stood up to the
    entertainment industry. Let him know that you're behind him all the
    way, tell him how many Intel-powered products you've bought in the
    past couple years (not just chips -- Intel's also behind Xircom
    networking gear, consumer electronics, and educational toys), and
    what your plans are for the future.
  * If you're still fired up, save that letter as a template and make
    tailored versions of it for the CEOs of your other favorite
    hardware, electronics and software vendors. Tell them that you're a
    happy customer who wants to stay that way. Tell them that your
    wallet only opens for the pure of heart, that you're only buying
    products from companies that represent your interests in Congress
    and in back-room meetings with the entertainment industry.
  * Contact your legislators about this issue - urge them to oppose the
    SSSCA and similar legislation. For information on how to contact
    your legislators and other government officials, see EFF's
    "Contacting Congress and Other Policymakers" guide at:
  * Join EFF! For membership information see:


Here's the template that you can use as to send your thank-you notes to
Intel. Feel free to crib from it, or to improvise.

    Dear Mr. Vadasz,
    I am writing today to applaud your bravery at the hearings before
    the Senate Commerce Committee last week in DC. It is heartening to
    see an innovative technology company standing up for its customers
    in the face the over-reaching demands of the entertainment
    industry. Thank you for fighting the entertainment industry's
    attempts to undermine our fair use rights and harm our economy by
    hobbling your industry with burdensome, nonsensical regulations
    that protect their bottom line at the expense of your own.
    [Insert your own history with Intel here, for example:
    I'm not a big corporate customer with a million Intel chips in my
    data center, but I am a loyal consumer whose laptop and desktop are
    both Intel Inside, whose last six computers have been powered by
    your chips. My 802.11 card comes from Xircom, another Intel
    company, and I imagine that as the years go by and you folks keep
    on speeding up your processors that I'll keep on buying newer,
    fancier machines that grant me access to an ever-more bountiful
    harvest of new software, services, communities and information.]
    Please keep up the good work -- don't let Hollywood take away your
    right to innovate and my right to use my equipment as I see fit.
    [Your name;
    include full address for maximum effectiveness]

Leslie Vadasz
Executive Vice-President
Intel Corp.
2200 Mission College Blvd.
Santa Clara CA 95052
c/o tom.marchok at intel.com


This alert is primarily for U.S. residents. However, this issue is of
importance globally, so keep an eye out in your own jurisdiction for
related matters you can act on. Many jurisdictions around the world are
considering legislation similar to the U.S. DMCA and SSSCA.



Technologists have always saved the entertainment industry from itself.
>From Marconi's telegrapher-reviled radio to Jack Valenti's campaign
against the VCR, the entertainment industry has always fought to keep
new technologies out of the marketplace. Again and again, new
technologies have generated fresh millions for the labels and studios
and publishers, and again and again, they've come back to bite the byte
that feeds them, blustering in front of lawmakers for the right to
control what technologists can build in the privacy of their own

But this time, they've gone too far. The movie studios have cooked up a
Congressional fire-drill whose objective is nothing less than total
control over the computer and electronics industry. Senator Hollings'
stalled one-law-to-rule-them all, the reviled SSSCA, is still lurking
in the wings. In the meantime, the entertainment industry is intent on
sneaking the SSSCA past Congress with a series of technology-specific

Their opening salvo is a seemingly innocuous pitch to "protect" digital
TV signals (coming to every TV near you by 2006, if the FCC gets its
way) by legislating the specifications for TVs, VCRs, PVRs and other
devices that sit between your antenna/cable and your eyeballs.

These specifications will allow studios to control the way you use
content, on the equipment you've bought and paid for. Studios are
seeking the power to specify whether you can record their programs, how
long those recordings will be viewable and whether you can make a copy
of the recordings. In order for this plan to work, "non-compliant"
technology, whether software, hardware, or otherwise, will have to be
swept off the market. SSSCA redux.

Never mind that such a scheme will advantage foreign manufacturers --
who will remain free to build "noncompliant" products that do more and
cost less -- in a down economy where U.S. electronics, software and
computer companies are fighting for their lives. Never mind that this
will inevitably slow the pace of innovation and increase costs for
consumers. Never mind that such measures are unduly restrictive and
defeat fair uses, limiting your ability to invent new uses for your
electronics. (Who'd have imagined the fantastic capacity for
grandmothers to use VCRs to create family histories of appearances on
broadcast news programs?)


Leslie Vadasz, one of the founders of Intel, had the chips to show up
at Senator Fritz Holling's hearings last week and let Congress know
that Intel, an Amercian company that pours $13.5 billion dollars into
the U.S. economy every year, wants the freedom to independently
negotiate the specifications for its equipment with the studios,
without Congressional intervention.

This attitude is something we need to encourage! Senator Hollings
conducted his hearings as a private discussion between the studios and
the gadget companies, without any representation from consumers or even
civil liberties organizations. The closest thing we have to an advocate
in these critical proceedings are the electronics, computer and
software companies.

EFF has the credibility to catch the ear of some of the key players in
the technology world, and we're making sure that they know that we're
behind them on this.

But we can't do it alone: You're their customers, and it's time you let
them know that we don't want your rights managed out of existence by
the MPAA, RIAA and other Hollywood lobbies, with their army of


This drive to contact Intel about their position on SSSCA is part of a
larger campaign to highlight intellectual property industry assaults
against the public's fair use rights, and what you can do about it.

Check the EFF Campaign for Audivisual Free Expression (CAFE) website
regularly for additional alerts and news:


EFF Media Advisory: Senate Hearings on Dramatic New Digital Media
Regulations (Feb. 27, 2002)

EFF Letter to the Senate Commerce Committee on the proposed SSSCA (Nov.
5, 2001)

EFF Action Alert on SSSCA (Sep. 21, 2001)

EFF "Intellectual Property - Video - HDTV/Digital Cable" Archive


The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil liberties
organization working to protect rights in the digital world. Founded in
1990, EFF actively encourages and challenges industry and government to
support free expression, privacy, and openness in the information
society. EFF is a member-supported organization and maintains one of
the most linked-to websites in the world:


Fred von Lohmann, EFF Senior Intellectual Property Attorney
fred at eff.org
+1 415-436-9333 x123

Cory Doctorow, EFF Outreach Coordinator
cory at eff.org
+1 415-726-5209

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