Declan McCulloch on transcript of Commerce Dept hearing disrupted by “geektivists”:
- Photos from the event here.
Comments from audience members who spoke are not, for the most part,
reflected in the transcript since they didn’t have microphones.
Mr. VALENTI: Number three, I am convinced, and I could be wrong, that
the only way we’re going to come to an acceptable conclusion; acceptable,
meaning everybody agreeing, though not wholly, but maybe in part, is for
the highest station executives of the information technology community,
consumer electronic community, content community, and anybody else
that’s sitting around this table to find a consensus.
What about the public?
MR. VALENTI: Well, I’m the public, and you’re the public. You see, I
don’t believe anybody around this table represents the public.
You’re representing industry, not the public.
MR. VALENTI: Well, we’re all consumers, and by the way, I’m going to
accord you the utmost respect. I will listen to you, and I will try to
believe you, but let me speak. That’s all I ask, and I’ll accord you
that same respect. You’re due that.
Well, give me the respect to —
MR. BOND: Please. Thank you. [PHILLIP J. BOND Chief of Staff & Under
Secretary Of Commerce for Technology]
MR. VALENTI: See, that’s the problem.
(Off mike comment.)
MR. VALENTI: Of course, I’ll allow him to reply, but first allow me to
MR. BOND: No, time out. Time out. Time out. I think we have a
structure here that ?-
MR. VALENTI: I think the first thing we ought to exhibit is good
MR. VALENTI: All I’m asking you is a golden rule. I’ll treat you with
the same respect you treat me. I don’t think there’s anything wrong
with that. Now let me finish, and then you can do whatever you choose.
I’m saying to get everybody together and have them agree. Some months
ago last year, we got in touch with the Information Technology people,
a group that includes Intel, Dell, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft,
Motorola. Let’s see, an Unisys and some others, saying let us begin to
try to find way out of this morass. And then if we can come to
conclusions, everybody else can take a crack at it, and have their
imprint put on it. And I think that’s the only way to go.
Now I have to say though, that there has to be an end game. What
happens if there is an irreconcilable impasse, what do we do? Now I’m
one of those who’s not afraid of government. I happen to come out of
an administration that I think in human justice, and civil rights, and
education, medical insurance where the government intervened for the
long term benefit of the people who live in this free and loving land.
The government is not your enemy. And therefore, at some point, there
has to be some kind of intervention, either by regulation or by
Congressional mandate that would put into effect whatever it is that
we’ve agreed on. Have exhaustive hearings and do all of that so it’s
open and transparent, and everybody can participate in it.
Now that’s the way I see this, and I don’t claim to be a repository of
all wisdom, but I do believe that over the last five or six years,
I’ve been involved in these meetings with all the acronyms that you
see up there. I don’t know of another way to do it. Now after me, the
I was invited to respond. I’d like to respond.
MR. BOND: Right. And I’m going to give you the chance to do that out
of deference to Jack Valenti. And then I’m going to remind the
audience that we have a structure here, and that this is going to be
adhered to. It is a discussion among the panelists with all you able
to comment online. Without some kind of structure, we simply couldn’t
have a worthwhile discussion. So out of respect to Jack, I’m going to
allow this gentleman stand up and say a word. Back to Jack Valenti,
and then we’re going to ask folks in the audience to comment online.
(Comment off mike.)
MR. BOND: And he can comment online, sir.
(Comment off mike.)
MR. BOND: NY Fair Use has had a chair at the table which they were not
extended, and have now had multiple speakers, and I will ask you again
to avail yourselves of comment online. We will work with you to make
sure in future fora that you’re included. Everybody here is a proxy
for folks. Not every company is represented, not every interest is
represented. We have consumer groups, as well as various facets of the
sector, of different parts of the technology sector. We’re making
available for you for comment on everybody’s comments here.
(Comment off mike.)