SSSCA Hearings Postponed

By Robert Menta- 10/28/01

Under heavy opposition from major electronic and technology manufacturers, as well as the tech community at large, the Senate Commerce Committee hearings on the Security Systems Standards and Certification Act (SSSCA) has been postponed.

If adopted, SSSCA would have broadly required all electronic devices and PCs to include federally approved digital rights management (DRM) technologies before they could be distributed in the US. The bill, authored by Senator Fritz Hollings of South Carolina and supported by the likes of Disney and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) among others, proposed harsh felony penalties for simply distributing devices without the new security protocols (see Senator Hollings Sponsors New Copyright Bill).

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The bill caused uproar in the tech community, as many feared it would shift the balance from consumers to the media cartels. Opponents argued the law would be used as a club against consumers to strip them of their fair use rights, a scenario more profitable for the entertainment conglomerates. MP3 Newswire recently posted one such argument by Ed Halley, President and CTO of Explorati inc.

Senator Hollings has not re-scheduled the hearings, but he has indicated that he would consider modifying the bill.

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