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CEA Calls On Congress to Promote Innovation and Consumer Choice

Restoration of Fair Use Key to American Competitiveness

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet today held a hearing entitled, “Digital Future of the United States: Part V: The Future of Video.” Several leading entrepreneurial companies – including Sling Media, Google and TiVO – testified that American innovation if allowed to flourish will ensure that we remain the world’s leader in technology. In reaction to this important hearing, Michael Petricone, senior vice president of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), said, “Today was a good day for those concerned about the future of U.S. competitiveness.”

Petricone continued, “Continued innovation depends on the restoration of consumer fair use rights, the preservation of the Supreme Court’s Betamax doctrine, and legitimate opportunities for innovators without the prospect of losing their companies via excessive and unfair damage awards. CEA endorses legislation such as H.R. 1201, the Fair Use Act, which will help ensure that technology and innovation will continue to drive the American economy.”

To foster innovation, Petricone also called on Congress to focus on consumer choice and removing barriers to investment. As most Americans receive their television over cable, Congress should ensure that consumers have the widest possible choice of commercially available set-top boxes. Section 629 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 should be enforced to guarantee that innovative, competitive devices, including those that rely on CableCARDs, can enter the market and be supported.

Petricone concluded, “Today’s digital consumer is increasingly receiving voice, video and date service from a variety of service providers. It is essential that no service provider be allowed to exercise absolute control over innovative devices at the edge of the network. Provided that the device does not harm the network, manufacturers must have the freedom to build new devices and consumers must have the freedom to attach them to the network of their choice.”

About CEA:
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the consumer technology industry through technology policy, events, research, promotion and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA represents more than 2,100 corporate members involved in the design, development, manufacturing, distribution and integration of audio, video, mobile electronics, wireless and landline communications, information technology, digital imaging, home networking, multimedia and accessory products, as well as related services that are sold through consumer channels. Combined, CEA’s members account for more than $140 billion in annual sales. CEA’s resources are available online at http://www.CE.org, the definitive source for information about the consumer electronics industry.

CEA also sponsors and manages the International CES – Defining Tomorrow’s Technology. All profits from CES are reinvested into industry services, including technical training and education, industry promotion, engineering standards development, market research and legislative advocacy.

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