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Antipiracy plan takes shape

The music and software industries reach a "landmark consensus" in a divisive debate over copy protection. But a Hollywood group is conspicuous by its absence.

The music and software industries have reached a "landmark consensus" in a divisive debate over copy protection, trade groups representing both sides said in a statement.

Details of policy plans endorsed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the Computer Systems Policy Project (CSSP) will be jointly released Tuesday, the groups said.

One notable trade group missing from the announcement was the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which represents the movie industry. The MPAA and the RIAA have worked side by side to sue companies and individuals alleged to be distributing copyrighted works illegally.

The formation of the alliance comes as legislators consider proposed rules to prevent digital content from finding its way onto free file-swapping services. Last March, Sen. Fritz Hollings, D-S.C., introduced a bill that would require embedding of copy-protection technology into PCs and consumer electronics devices.

When that legislation was announced, the RIAA praised the effort to rein in digital piracy, although the group at the time said it advocated a voluntary industry approach to digital copy protection.

Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission is considering a proposal requiring consumer electronics companies to embed encryption technology in their digital TV components.

The RIAA and the BSA have both taken steps to crack down on copyright piracy through lawsuits. Despite historically cool relations between the technology and entertainment industries, the RIAA has said it would like to model its enforcement efforts after the BSA's.

Representatives for the groups declined to comment in advance of a press conference scheduled for later in the day.