RealTime IT News

Senate Drops Digital Hammer

Sen. Ernest Hollings (D.-S.C.) dropped the hammer on Hollywood and Silicon Valley Thursday by introducing legislation that gives the two quarreling parties one year to develop standards to prevent online piracy or have Congress impose a standard, a prospect that neither party relishes.

The entertainment industry estimates it loses $3 billion a year to piracy and has been reluctant to embrace broadband advocates' vision of the Internet as a distribution model for digital content. The music industry and film studios want the technology industry to build copy protection into all new electronic devices. Computer and other digital device makers counter that recording features are necessary to make their products marketable.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that broadband is available in 75 percent of all U.S. zip codes but only 10 percent of Americans have signed up for the service. Hollings believes the reason for that is a lack of content and claims his bill,