Consumers hit in Silicon Valley, Hollywood battle

By Simon Avery The Associated Press
Tuesday July 02, 2002

LOS ANGELES — For years, consumers and electronics manufacturers have had an unwritten agreement. 

Shoppers keep spending billions of dollars to upgrade their gadgetry, knowing their investments will quickly become outdated. 

In return, the makers of computers, TV accessories and audio devices keep innovating, bringing consumers greater value and selection. 

But widespread piracy in the music and film industries is threatening to short-circuit that arrangement. 

In an aggressive effort to protect their content, film studios and record labels have helped draft legislation that would require electronic equipment makers to build products that limit online distribution while preventing consumers from making multiple versions of copyrighted material. 

The technology industry is resisting Hollywood’s effort, which would likely result in a new generation of DVD players, computers and other products that would not work with some existing content or equipment. 

“If all of a sudden they pull a U-turn, it could be disastrous,” said Ravi Krishnaney, a San Francisco entrepreneur who has spent between $15,000 and $20,000 on his home entertainment system and has a library of about 200 movies on DVD.