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Big Technology Firms Take on Hollywood Over Piracy
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Big Technology Firms Take on Hollywood Over Piracy

BY Rob Lever

Big US tech firms joined Thursday with consumer groups and others to fight Hollywood's demands for mandatory technology to prevent piracy of films and other digital entertainment. The new coalition, the Alliance for Digital Progress (ADP), includes Microsoft, Cisco, Intel and Apple, as well as several consumer groups, think tanks, taxpayer organizations and other organizations. The alliance will lobby to dissuade Congress from passing laws requiring anti-piracy technology in computers, DVD players and other electronic devices. Alliance members say that they do not advocate distributing illegal copies, but that mandatory technology aimed at stopping piracy would be a solution worse than the problem. "Piracy of digital content is a serious, complex problem that concerns all of us," said Fred McClure, president of the alliance. "But government-designed and mandated technology that swaps the diversity of marketplace solutions for a 'one size fits all' approach is not the answer. Mandates are a mistake. A mandate will raise the price of everything from CD players and DVD players to personal computers. It will make the devices consumers own today obsolete. And it will stifle the innovation at the heart of digital progress." Consumers and technology groups have been concerned about possible legislation that could require technology that makes it hard to copy films or music or make it impossible to play DVDs on more than one device. "We are greatly concerned that Hollywood is trying to pressure Congress into forcing technology mandates onto American consumers," McClure said. "Hollywood should be working with others in the private sector to develop solutions to the piracy problem that will succeed in the marketplace and benefit consumers." Although the music industry said recently it would stop lobbying efforts for such mandates, Hollywood's main lobby group, the Motion Picture Association of America, has maintained its policy. "Hollywood leaders like Jack Valenti (of the MPAA) would have organized the monks to burn down Gutenberg's printing press if they were alive during that period of rapid change and innovation," said Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America, a high-tech group that is part of the alliance. "Legislators have heard Hollywood's pleas to stifle innovation, but more education will help them make informed decisions. We look forward to working with ADP to make sure all sides are heard when it comes to digital rights management." The MPAA had no comment on the new alliance, but last week Valenti argued that Hollywood may split with the music industry on the issue. even though they have been united against swapping services like Napster. "The film and music industries are separate, unique enterprises with different strategies for addressing the outstanding issues concerning digital copy protection," Valenti said last week. "We are not prepared to abandon the option of seeking technical protection measures via the Congress or appropriate regulatory agency, when necessary." Valenti and other Hollywood executives have claimed piracy is one of the biggest threats to the industry, potentially costing billions of dollars and depriving creative artists of royalties. Digital rights advocates say Hollywood has cried wolf before, having sought special protection against videotapes when VHS technology arrived, but noted that the industry's 2002 revenues set a record for the third year running. The alliance includes several other tech firms including IBM, Dell Computer, Motorola and Hewlett Packard; and a hodgepodge of organizations including Americans for Tax Reform, Citizens Against Government Waste, Citizens for a Sound Economy, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the National Association of Manufacturers.

01/23/2003
Opinion - Pay heed to the doings in Olympia
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Opinion - Pay heed to the doings in Olympia

BY TOM KOENNINGER

OLYMPIA -- This place, the state capital, is the center of the universe for 105 days, at least for Washington residents. It is the location of an incredible convergence of energy, vitality, intellect, conflict and debate. It is a place where our lives are guided by laws enacted by this state's Legislature. Lawmakers swarmed here Jan. 13 to begin the 58th session of the Legislature. They will remain for at least 105 days of the regular session and likely move into special session after that. Lobbyists swarmed here at the same time. The public, or at least a special interest group of the public -- 22,000 to 25,000 members of the Washington Education Association -- swarmed through the capital city the second day of the session. The Olympian newspaper reported that the WEA rally was the largest demonstration in the capital city's history. The rally horde marched up Capitol Way, virtually paralyzing downtown Olympia by their numbers. Their show of force was intended to support increased spending on education and oppose a temporary suspension of voter initiatives that would add money to teacher salaries and reduce class sizes. An anti-tax rally was conducted on the same day around the Tivoli Fountain, closer to the Capitol building. Sponsors of the rally, which attracted about 100 people, were Citizens for a Sound Economy and the Evergreen Freedom Foundation. Foundation president Bob Williams, a former Woodland area resident who made a run for governor several years ago, told The Olympian he was unsure of the effect his rally would have on lawmakers. He said he didn't see the governor and legislature "going for a tax increase right now." Some 200 members of an anti-war rally swarmed onto the Capitol campus the third day of the session. The noisy entourage appeared outside the windows of a hearing room in the John L. O'Brien building, delaying the start of a workshop on higher-education funding. They were moved away by police and the Capitol security forces. If this first week is an indication, the capital will be a place of extraordinary excitement now through April. Special interest groups will be very visible as various organizations, public and private, strive to prevent the budget ax from falling on education programs and social and health services, among the obvious. However, something has to give in a budget year with the revenue shortfall ranging from $ 2.4 billion to $ 3 billion. Gov. Gary Locke, a Democrat, has proposed what he considers a realistic but severe budget with no new taxes. One Republican legislator said Locke sounded like a Republican in his State of the State message. Public access difficult Watching the process unfold this year will be difficult, at least in person. Thanks in part to the Nisqually earthquake of February 2001, the Legislature is not nearly as accessible as in previous sessions. The Capitol building, housing both the House and Senate chambers, is under renovation and earthquake repair, and not open to the public. House members are meeting in temporary quarters, and the Senate is meetings in the Joel Pritchard Building. Neither has a public gallery, so viewing is through closed-circuit television. Public tours of the Capitol Campus, continue, though. Hearings will still be open to the public, if people can get into the usually packed Senate and House hearing rooms. Security is tighter than ever, and Washington State Patrol troopers, among other legislative guardians, were much in evidence last week. Still, it's stimulating just to walk on the open Capitol grounds and stroll through the open space between the Senate and House office buildings. The message is clear for all: Pay attention this year, more than ever before, and react to your legislators. Attend local town hall meetings hosted by legislators. The course set in Olympia will be the course that affects your life.

01/22/2003
Measure 28 momentum shifts
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Measure 28 momentum shifts

Supporters have raised more money than opponents. Measure 28 would raise income and corporate taxes for 2002, 2003 and 2004 to avert cuts to schools and state services over the next 2A years. New polls show that it is running neck and neck with voters. Ballots must arrive in county elections offices by Tuesday evening. BY STEVE LAW Statesman Journal Polls show that the temporary income tax increase on Oregon's Jan. 28 ballot has become surprisingly close, but you wouldn't know it from money trickling into the campaigns last week. The main Measure 28 opposition committee, Taxpayers Association of Oregon, reported raising $2,000 last week, enough for modest radio ads on two Portland stations. Supporters in the Yes on 28 Committee scored $26,200 for a phone campaign, plus more for polling, according to campaign finance reports filed Monday. With only one week to go in the election, momentum clearly has shifted to supporters, who have raised far more dollars and mobilized countless more volunteers. Opponents apparently were caught flat-footed by the sudden surge of voter support after most political analysts dismissed the measure's chances of passage. Jason Williams, executive director of the taxpayers association, said the recession crimped fund raising for his committee. His group has raised about $8,200 during the campaign so far and reported about $2,000 cash on hand last week. "I think there are some people on our side that called this thing wrong," said opponent Russ Walker, Northwest director of Citizens for a Sound Economy. "We're having difficulty raising money on it," Walker said. "Most people didn't think it had a chance of passing." By contrast, the Yes on 28 campaign has raised more than $400,000, mostly from labor unions. Supporters aren't going to be complacent about the opposition's weak fund raising, insisted Patty Wentz, Yes on 28 spokeswoman. She expects opponents could get a quick money injection from conservative Aloha businessman Loren Parks or the national Citizens for a Sound Economy. "We've always known that they have access to as much money as they need," she said. Still, fully 29 percent of registered voters already had cast ballots by Friday, and Measure 28 supporters have a better grass-roots effort to mobilize their voters. "I do worry about the get-out-the-vote machine the other side has," Walker said. "The truth about politics is, whoever can get the most people to show up wins." Steve Law can be reached at (503) 399-6615 or slaw@ StatesmanJournal.com

01/22/2003
Pro-Tax Increase Forces Appear To Have Momentum
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Pro-Tax Increase Forces Appear To Have Momentum

The Salem Statesman Journal (1/22, Law) reports, "With only one week to go in the election, momentum clearly has shifted to supporters, who have raised far more dollars and mobilized countless more volunteers." The Statesman Journal continues, "Opponents apparently were caught flat-footed by the sudden surge of voter support after most political analysts dismissed the measure's chances of passage. . Supporters aren't going to be complacent about the opposition's weak fund raising, insisted Patty Wentz, Yes on 28 spokeswoman. She expects opponents could get a quick money injection from conservative Aloha businessman Loren Parks or the national Citizens for a Sound Economy."

01/22/2003
Pay Heed to the Doings in Olympia
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Pay Heed to the Doings in Olympia

BY Tom Koenninger

OLYMPIA -- This place, the state capital, is the center of the universe for 105 days, at least for Washington residents. It is the location of an incredible convergence of energy, vitality, intellect, conflict and debate. It is a place where our lives are guided by laws enacted by this state's Legislature. Lawmakers swarmed here Jan. 13 to begin the 58th session of the Legislature. They will remain for at least 105 days of the regular session and likely move into special session after that. Lobbyists swarmed here at the same time. The public, or at least a special interest group of the public -- 22,000 to 25,000 members of the Washington Education Association -- swarmed through the capital city the second day of the session. The Olympian newspaper reported that the WEA rally was the largest demonstration in the capital city's history. The rally horde marched up Capitol Way, virtually paralyzing downtown Olympia by their numbers. Their show of force was intended to support increased spending on education and oppose a temporary suspension of voter initiatives that would add money to teacher salaries and reduce class sizes. An anti-tax rally was conducted on the same day around the Tivoli Fountain, closer to the Capitol building. Sponsors of the rally, which attracted about 100 people, were Citizens for a Sound Economy and the Evergreen Freedom Foundation. Foundation president Bob Williams, a former Woodland area resident who made a run for governor several years ago, told The Olympian he was unsure of the effect his rally would have on lawmakers. He said he didn't see the governor and legislature "going for a tax increase right now." Some 200 members of an anti-war rally swarmed onto the Capitol campus the third day of the session. The noisy entourage appeared outside the windows of a hearing room in the John L. O'Brien building, delaying the start of a workshop on higher-education funding. They were moved away by police and the Capitol security forces. If this first week is an indication, the capital will be a place of extraordinary excitement now through April. Special interest groups will be very visible as various organizations, public and private, strive to prevent the budget ax from falling on education programs and social and health services, among the obvious. However, something has to give in a budget year with the revenue shortfall ranging from $ 2.4 billion to $ 3 billion. Gov. Gary Locke, a Democrat, has proposed what he considers a realistic but severe budget with no new taxes. One Republican legislator said Locke sounded like a Republican in his State of the State message. Public access difficult Watching the process unfold this year will be difficult, at least in person. Thanks in part to the Nisqually earthquake of February 2001, the Legislature is not nearly as accessible as in previous sessions. The Capitol building, housing both the House and Senate chambers, is under renovation and earthquake repair, and not open to the public. House members are meeting in temporary quarters, and the Senate is meetings in the Joel Pritchard Building. Neither has a public gallery, so viewing is through closed-circuit television. Public tours of the Capitol Campus, continue, though. Hearings will still be open to the public, if people can get into the usually packed Senate and House hearing rooms. Security is tighter than ever, and Washington State Patrol troopers, among other legislative guardians, were much in evidence last week. Still, it's stimulating just to walk on the open Capitol grounds and stroll through the open space between the Senate and House office buildings. The message is clear for all: Pay attention this year, more than ever before, and react to your legislators. Attend local town hall meetings hosted by legislators. The course set in Olympia will be the course that affects your life.

01/22/2003
Commission split on tax increase pledge
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Press Release

Commission split on tax increase pledge

From the Lincoln Times-News By ALICE SMITH, LTN Staff Writer January 22, 2003 - Two members on the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners have pledged that they won’t raise taxes this year. Commissioner Carrol Mitchem has signed a pledge from the watchdog group Citizens for Sound Economy, and Commissioner James “Buddy” Funderburk has indicated that he will also sign. Other commissioners said that while no elected official wants to raise taxes, it’s too early in the game to make such a decision.

01/22/2003
Dividend and Conquer
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Press Release

Dividend and Conquer

The big dog of the legislative calendar this year is President Bush’s new economic growth and jobs package. And, at the center of this tax relief plan is the repeal of the dividend tax, which will return over $300 billion to Americans over the next ten years. It’s big, and it’s bold, and news that President Bush wants to completely repeal the tax on dividend income came as something of a shock. People asked, what the heck is the dividend tax anyway?

01/22/2003
State of the Union Momentum
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Press Release

State of the Union Momentum

Last week Citizens for a Sound Economy commissioned the first major nationwide poll on the President’s economic plan, which he announced in early January. Our poll, conducted by the widely respected Tarrance Group, came after the policy was announced and was intended to determine public interest and knowledge of what the President had already announced. This is the proper use of polling in the public policy arena. It stands in stark contrast to how Bill Clinton used polls. He polled first to help him decide what policy to follow.

01/22/2003
Government Spending or Taxpayer Relief?
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Press Release

Government Spending or Taxpayer Relief?

Faced with the daunting task of approving the spending bills for the fiscal year that began last October as well as beginning work on the president’s tax package, the Senate remains locked in debates over federal spending. The President has urged the new majority to pass an omnibus spending bill swiftly for the 2003 budget, but Democrats (and many Republicans) continue to seek opportunities to expand federal spending, which explains some of the hostility towards tax relief. In recent years Congress has developed a healthy appetite for spending, and returning money to taxpayers is like saying no to a second helping of desert.

01/22/2003
Maneuvering in 2003 for 2004
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Press Release

Maneuvering in 2003 for 2004

Last week, members of the Senate leadership from both sides of the aisle finally agreed to a reorganization plan for the chamber. Though the funding levels and the makeup of the committees are resolved, Democrats led by Senator Daschle achieved their aim to slow the Republican momentum gained by the November election.

01/22/2003

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