At last — the computing industry fights back

At last — the computing industry fights back
Mercury News story.

“The high-tech industry plans to launch a sophisticated new lobbying campaign later this month to strike back against Hollywood in a battle to shape rules of the road for new digital technologies.

The Business Software Alliance and Computer Systems Policy Project — two prominent high-tech trade groups representing Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and other industry heavyweights — are forming a new coalition and working to enlist support from consumer and business groups.

They hope to convince Congress that strict copy-protection legislation that sets technological mandates would stifle innovation, harm consumers and threaten an already suffering tech industry.

“These things have a very big impact on our industry and on Intel,” said Intel lobbyist Doug Comer. “It’s not just about, `Are we driving up the price of the chip?’ It’s about what kind of future is being created for digital consumers.”

The entertainment industry had the upper hand in the battle last year, with a carefully orchestrated lobbying campaign and bills introduced by powerful lawmakers. Hollywood-backed legislation filed by Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C., and Rep. Howard L. Berman, D-Los Angeles, would embed copy protection into PCs and an array of consumer devices.

But the legislation had consequences that Walt Disney and other backers hadn’t bargained for. It served as a rallying cry for consumer groups and tech companies to fight for consumers’ rights to make copies of CDs, DVDs and other digital works for personal use, as they do with TV shows and audio tapes…”