The CEA: A great policy advocate for consumers

cea-logoThe Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the trade group for the consumer electronics (CE) industry and is best known for putting on CES each January.

What many people don’t know is that the organization spends a tremendous amount of time and effort on lobbying/government affairs/public policy (take your pick of names) on behalf of CE companies.

It turns out that more often then not, what is good for the CE companies is good for the consumer.  The CEA has been especially active in trying keep consumer’s rights to fair use/recording media for personal use.

Here are a series of statements from the CEA’s Current Policy Initiative Web site the illustrate some of its positions:

Broadband: CEA believes that market-based competition among all communication channels is the best way to promote rapid deployment of broadband technologies…” “…the government should work toward reserving spectrum to support future rollout of broadband wireless technology.”

Copyright and Fair Use: “First Amendment and fair use rights must be safeguarded to preserve consumers’ freedoms, the creative spirit and advancement in the digital age. Consumer electronics products are a vital link allowing the world’s citizens access to information, education and entertainment. Increased access to this technology will shrink the digital divide and produce a renaissance in arts, science, music, academics and creativity across the entire world. Copyright owners must resist the temptation to restrict technology. If successful, restrictions will deprive the public of equal and fair access to information, entertainment and education. CEA is committed to ensuring consumers’ continued access to legal, non-infringing products by ensuring the preservation of the Betamax standard, both through legal action and public policy.”

Sales Tax: “CEA supports sales tax holidays, or temporary sales tax exemptions, for purchases of home computers and related products.”

Telecom Reform: “[Current telecom] regulations, however, have become outdated and are no longer relevant to the new services and technologies that have arisen over the past few years. Attempts to classify these new services into outmoded regulations stifles innovation, creates uncertainty in the marketplace and diminishes the increase in productivity that is directly attributed to such innovations. Policymakers understand the need to establish a new communications policy framework that encourages the continuing transformation and modernization of communications networks through broadband and IP-enabled applications.”

Unlicensed Spectrum: “Over the past decade, the amount of commercial licensed spectrum has nearly doubled, while the amount of unlicensed spectrum has nearly quadrupled. CEA supports the market-oriented, deregulatory approach that Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have taken with regard to our nation’s spectrum policy.”

If you’re interested in following an advocate for consumer’s keep an eye on the CEA.