*Editors Note* I changed this letter slightly to reflect the new name for the revised bill called the: "Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act" (CBDTPA) Bill # S.2048 Thanks for the correction. Feel free to link here and spread the word. HOWEVER- PLEASE DO NOT COPY THE ENTIRE LETTER TO YOUR SITE WITHOUT ASKING. I'm trying to track reaction. If do link here, email me as well. Comments? Hit the yellow envelope on the side column.MLW
March 28, 2002
To: Senator Fritz Hollings of South Carolina
U.S. Senate Office Building
Dear Senator Hollings:
Allow me to introduce myself: I am a private self employed video editor and producer. I do not work for the large entertainment industry's production houses by choice. My clients range from small to medium sized business needing local and regional commercials to educational and corporate projects. I also work with independent film makers, local bands, and student film makers and animators. And occasionally I provide services to the sight impaired by legally transcribing media into a format they can use with their computerized readers.
My tools are the top end pro-sumer level digital video cameras and customized video editing stations build with off-the-shelf computers, my partner and I built ourselves, while we were working with Avid Technology as a member of the design and testing team on the first Windows NT video editor ever built, called MC-Xpress. Everything we use to record, edit and produce our tapes, CDs and DVDs is done with off the shelf products readily available today. These sensibly priced tools allow me to make a modest income, provide clients professional productions at reasonable prices and satisfy my need for creativity while remaining at home to work without very long commute into Los Angeles. And as many of my clients will tell you, I honor and protect the copyright and intellectual property laws of the United States to the best of my ability.
However, I deeply resent you implying that by owning these tools you consider me a thief.
The proposed "Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act" (CBDTPA) you and Senators Feinstein, Stevens, Inouye, Breaux and Nelson are co-sponsoring will make it impossible for independent editor like myself, to remain in business. Why? Because the proposed SSSCA does not differentiate between someone illegally duplicating DVDs or video tapes for sale, from me trying to earn a living by editing a commercial spot from my home.
In essence the CBDTPA will put me out of business. Because as a small business, I can not afford to purchase expensive proprietary editing stations used by the corporate entertainment industry to upgrade my business in the coming years. Our editing systems use reasonably priced off-the-shelf computers. Furthermore, the CBDTPA makes it clear that it would be illegal for me to purchase or alter a stock system in order to do my work. So either way I lose.
Obviously you have little knowledge about the technology you wish to regulate so tightly. This lack of understanding about the technology you are proposing to control will write off small business people like me and countless other film, video and music editors who work outside the corporate entertainment workplace.
Thanks for the "pink slip" Senator. I'll be sure to tell all the small businesses who will not be able to promote their businesses through our lower priced productions. It is obvious you and your supporters do not care about small businesses we operate, because you care more about your big money friends in the corporate entertainment industry.