Oppose the CBDTPA

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Text of my message to my Maryland Senators:

 Senators Mikulski and Sarbanes,

 I am writing to urge each of you to oppose and vote against S. 2048,
Senator Hollings' "Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion
Act" (CBDTPA), previously known as "Security Systems Standards and
Certification Act" (SSSCA).

 This bill is flawed in a number of ways, and is quite simply the
entertainment industry seeking to legislate their corporate profit goals
through Senator Hollings.  For example, the first item in "Sec. 2
Findings" reads:

  (1) The lack of high quality digital content continues to hinder
       consumer adoption of broadband Internet service and digital
       television products.

I have been working in the broadband Internet industry for the last 2
years, and like any other informed and responsible individual in the
industry, i will tell you that broadband hasn't caught on with home
consumers because:

  1) It's only available in limited areas.
  2) It is too expensive.
  3) The quality of the video is poor.
  4) Technological expenses inherent in broadcasters delivering
    high-bandwidth video to selected recipients over the Internet.

 It has nothing to do with fear of piracy. 

 This is just one example of incorrect findings in S. 2048.

 If passed, this bill will further empower corporations at the expense of
citizens.  Over the last 100 years, copyright law has been repeatedly
extended, for the benefit of corporations, not U.S. citizens.  Originally,
the purpose of copyright was to give the individual human who created the
work a period of time to profit from the creation.  Over the last 100
years, copyright has been repeatedly extended at the urgings of huge
entertainment companies, such as Disney, so that these corporations can
continue to make money off of images created by people who are now
dead. These legislative concessions only serve to put money into the
pockets of corporations at the expense of the public.  The CBDTPA would
further restrict U.S. citizens' access to commerce, solely for the benefit
of the entertainment industry.

 Despite misleading points in the bill, Senator Hollings' bill would also
cripple Open Source software, a vital component of the Internet economy.
In case you are unaware, much of the software that the Internet was built
with and runs on is "Open Source," meaning it was created and is
maintained by individuals without limitations on its distributond or
intent of commercial gain.  The source code to the software is freely
distributed, which encourages improvement and future development.

 I have been a UNIX system administrator for over 10 years now, and much of
my livelihood and work, both at home and in the office, is spent
installing and configuring Open Source software.  If i was unable to use
Open Source software, the costs of purchasing usually inferior commercial
software to do the same tasks as the free Open Source software will have
to be be born by my employers.

 S. 2048 would require Open Source software to comply with "security
system standards" as dictated by the entertainment industry, putting an
unfair expense of development on Open Source software developers.

 For these reasons, and many others too numerous to readily document, i
strongly encourage you to vote against and oppose S. 2048, Senator
Hollings' "Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act"
(CBDTPA).


                                    Johan van Zanten
				    Laurel, Maryland


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