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Licensing Computer Techs As TV Repairmen

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the mendacity-mendacity-mendacity dept.

United States 408

An anonymous reader writes "According to a story in yesterday's New Orleans paper, the Louisiana Radio and Television Technicians Board has sent letters to computer techs demanding fees to license them as radio and TV repairmen. Apparently, as computers drive more home theater applications, the board is trying to classify them as 'playback and recording device equipment,' which the law gives the board power to regulate. It looks more like a money grab, though, since no test is required, just $55 and an affidavit." It seems to me the better question is not whether computers can be defined in many circumstances as playback and recording equipment (hard to get around), but whether this kind of forced classification makes sense in the first place. Disingenuous quote of the day: "We're not trying to swing our arm around a whole bunch of people to get new revenue."

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Poll Troll Toll (-1, Troll)

PollTroll (764214) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895124)

What's better...

TV repairmen [calcgames.org]
Firemen [calcgames.org]
Se> [calcgames.org]

Re:Poll Troll Toll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895224)

Sex with a mare!

Re:Poll Troll Toll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895297)

Secks viss uh mähr.

MISSING OPTION (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895437)

Your mother.

End of the letter (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895126)

Y'all send in them checks, ya hear?

Yours Truly,
The Fatty McTax.

Re:End of the letter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895321)

First paying 5 x 699,-$ to SCO, and now this ... WHERE WILL IT ALL END???

(posted from an ALDI Medion Windows XP homo edition PC)

In Home Service? (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895128)

How will paranoids get in home service?

"Awright, it's out there on the grass, yew juss fixit and then back away from it, slow like."

Article text (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895129)

Computer techs hit with fee for license
But it's coming from radio, TV industry
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
By Stewart Yerton
Business writer

For the past five years, Jarrod Broussard has run a small computer consulting company, helping business and residential customers deal with a host of problems: from designing Web sites and hosting them, to setting up networks, to troubleshooting software problems and eliminating the viruses that often plague today's computers.

To Broussard, such work made him a computer technician, plain and simple. But according to a notice sent to Broussard last week from the Louisiana Radio and Television Technicians Board, state regulators have a different view of Broussard and others like him.
Advertisement

According to a letter from the regulators, Broussard actually falls under the same regulatory umbrella as a TV repairman.

As home computers come to the fore as entertainment devices, powering home theaters, audio systems and the like, the Radio and Television Technicians Board is seeking to license computer technicians much the way it has licensed television and radio repair workers since the 1950s.

To that end, the board last week informed Broussard that he would have to send the board $55 and an affidavit from an employer, customer or computer school attesting that he was a computer consultant. In exchange, Broussard would receive his license.

Mark Lewis, president of the Louisiana Technology Council, a trade association based in New Orleans, said he finds the situation absurd.

"They're taking a law passed when computers weren't even around and applying it to computers," Lewis said. "The whole thing is mind-boggling to me -- how they could come up with something like this?"

According to the letter sent to Broussard, the rationale is straightforward. Louisiana consumer protection laws give the board the power to license people who repair televisions, radios and "playback and recording device equipment" used in the home, the letter said. "Many home computers today, provide for television reception and recording, and all provide audio/visual playback and recording capabilities," the letter continued.

"Therefore," the letter said, "the Board has elected to license computer technicians."

The requirement would apply to people "engaged in the repair, maintenance, consultation, or training of computer equipment, including hardware, peripherals, and networks used in the home," the letter said. Commercial computer technicians are not subject to the new requirement, although individuals who provide both commercial and residential services have to comply.

Computer technicians already in the business would be grandfathered into the system and not required to take a test proving competency to obtain a license, the letter said. Payment of $55 to the board and the affidavit would be sufficient.

Stanley Brohn, secretary of the Radio and Television Technicians Board, said the intent and scope of the licensing requirement has been misunderstood. The licensing requirement, Brohn said, is designed to protect consumers who have hired computer technicians to install or repair new entertainment systems that employ computers.

For example, Brohn said, some high definition television monitors are designed to be driven by computers, and in such instances, the work should be done by a certified television and radio technician to ensure that the expensive equipment is not damaged, Brohn said.

"We're not going after computer technicians," he said. "The only thing we're doing is giving an opportunity for computer technicians to get into the radio and television side of the business."

Brohn said the letter sent to Broussard and others was misleading in stating that the license requirement would apply to a broad range of computer technicians and consultants, and not simply those wanting to set up home entertainment systems.

Brohn confirmed that he signed the letter but said he didn't write it.

"That wasn't my choice of words," he said.

Broussard noted that the letter invited people who have questions to call him.

"I'm willing to communicate to anybody to try to explain what we're trying to do and not trying to do," he said.

"We're not trying to swing our arm around a whole bunch of people to get new revenue," he said.

For his part, Broussard said that, to his knowledge, his company, At Site Computer Services, had never even gotten a call from a customer asking him to install a home entertainment system. About 80 percent of his work comes from business employers, the other 20 percent from residential customers.

Broussard said it makes no sense to him that the television and radio board is seeking to regulate the computer business, which he said is entirely different.

"If they wanted to set up a computer consulting board, they should set it up with computer consultants," he said. "I would have much less of a problem with that."

In the end, Brohn acknowledged, the licensing system as it is now envisioned will not fulfill its stated purpose of ensuring consumers that a licensed worker will have the skills that Brohn said are needed to set up the new computer-based media systems. By requiring little more than a fee and a letter from a boss or client, Brohn admitted, the board is doing little to control the quality of licensees.

"That is the problem with a grandfather clause," he said. "There is nothing that we can do about that."

I don't see it as such a bad thing. (0)

mikeophile (647318) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895131)

For $55, you get to say that you are a licensed computer repairperson.

It would make one stand out amongst competition.

That seems like a good deal to me.

I dunno... (3, Insightful)

Srass (42349) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895170)

I'd think there'd be a big difference between someone licensed to repair computers, and someone who repaired computers who was licensed to repair television sets.

Re:I dunno... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895220)

I think both groups of people are aware that it's a bad idea to use a screwdriver to short a capacitor the size of your fist.

That's the main point of TV repair licensing.

Re:I don't see it as such a bad thing. (3, Insightful)

cipher uk (783998) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895173)

you are overlooking the fact you won't standout when it reaches a critical mass. as its $55 everyone will get one as without one you will standout badly. this is when it just becomes a money grabbing scheme

Re:I don't see it as such a bad thing. (5, Funny)

cmallinson (538852) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895191)

For $55, you get to say that you are a licensed computer repairperson.
It would make one stand out amongst competition.
That seems like a good deal to me.

In that case, send me $75, and you can be a preferred licenced computer repairperson

Re:I don't see it as such a bad thing. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895196)

So if i demand you pay me $17,000 to become a licensed flag pole repairman when you really fix billboards, you think it will be a good thing?

Whats that? you dont fix flagpoles? But think of the advangate you'll have!

You are a fucking short-sighted moron if you think this would help anyone.

Re:I don't see it as such a bad thing. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895235)

And you are a fucking anonymous coward.
What's your point?

Re:I don't see it as such a bad thing. (1)

Bull999999 (652264) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895307)

You are a fucking short-sighted moron if you think this would help anyone.

I think that he was joking.

Re:I don't see it as such a bad thing. (4, Insightful)

geek (5680) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895243)

"It would make one stand out amongst competition."

No it wouldn't because all the competition will also have to have paid $55. It does nothing but gouge people for $55.

$55 is nothing. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895288)

I gouge customers for much more than that on a daily basis.

Re:I don't see it as such a bad thing. (2, Funny)

antiMStroll (664213) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895292)

Send me $65 and I'll provide a document which let's you say you're better licensed than a Lousiana-licensed TV repairman to work on computers. It'll be about as valid and the money will be about as well spent.

Re:I don't see it as such a bad thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895319)

Ah, but regardless of your own opinion, your word carries far less weight than an official Louisiana State document.

In other news . . . (4, Funny)

dgrgich (179442) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895132)

Louisiana is also attempting to force lawyers to license themselves as garbage collectors. Surprisingly, the Louisiana Bar Association, when asked for comment, indicated that they agreed with the decision.

Re:In other news . . . (5, Funny)

serutan (259622) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895364)

In other news: "Louisiana state government needs more money, thinks up new way to get it."

I can visualize the meeting. "Hey, there's lots of people fixin' computers in Looziana and we aint making a dime off'em. Say we charge $55 a pop. I'll get started mailing out the threat letters!"

I can't fix most TVs (5, Interesting)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895133)

and most TV repairmen can't fix computers.

It's obviously a way to try to grap money.

LK

Re:I can't fix most TVs (5, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895345)

I would imagine that TV repairmen were originally regulated because they had to know how to safely work on open TV cabinets containing dangerous high voltages, operate test equipment on those high voltage circuits, and install suitable replacement parts that wouldn't catch on fire.

I doubt that most computer repair techs have ever opened a monitor (or even a power supply). The entire thing is treated as a disposable unit. Most servicable computer components are relatively idiot-proof, only fit into the appropriate sockets, and operate at no more than 12V.

If they weren't just going for a money grab, they'd exempt all computer techs who don't open up monitors or power supplies.

Re:I can't fix most TVs (4, Interesting)

Entropius (188861) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895383)

Which is all of them.

I've been fixing computers for people for a long while, and have never had to open a CRT or power supply. They're just not the sorts of things that break, especially since 90% of repair requests involve cleaning up after Microsoft and are software-only.

Re:I can't fix most TVs (5, Interesting)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895433)

Which is all of them.

I disagree.

I've been fixing computers for people for a long while, and have never had to open a CRT or power supply. They're just not the sorts of things that break, especially since 90% of repair requests involve cleaning up after Microsoft and are software-only.

I don't know about the work you do, but I've had to open a few monitors. Especially when I was doing repair work for Apple. I couldn't tell you how many analog/power boards I replaced in Summer 2000 iMacs. I have a Gateway monitor on my desk right now that was declared junk. I opened it up, fixed it and have been using it for nearly 5 years. Not a bad lifespan for a free piece of hardware.

I open every dead power supply that I come across to grab the fans. You never know when a 12V fan will come in handy.

LK

Re:I can't fix most TVs (4, Interesting)

xiando (770382) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895531)

As another comment said, get that lisence if you actually do open up CRT monitors and power supplies.

I do fix other peoples computers from time to time. Home computers. I never opened a CRT monitor. Because I do not know "electronics", I know computers. If the PSU breaks, I get a new PSU. The PC is "repaired", the PSU is broken.

So I don't get why you would need a paper saying you can do "high volate" (I belive that's why "not just anyone" was supposed to open av TV 50 years ago..). I don't. I do computers. If repairing PSUs is your thing, then do get that lisence. But wait, a PSU doesn't do playback and ANYONE can repair that, apparently, fixing a computer by replaceing a broken PSU, a square box you, as already stressed, DON'T open.. lol

Re:I can't fix most TVs (2, Informative)

dmaxwell (43234) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895476)

Apple is phasing out CRTs so this won't be true much longer but Apple Certified Technicians are indeed expected to be able to service Apple monitors. The Desktop Certification course contains a high voltage safety portion that has to be passed to get the certification.

For that matter, LCD panels have inverters in them that can give quite a nasty shock. Apple also expects techs to be able to change out inverters and the lcd itself. Even if you're not working on Apples, it isn't uncommon to have to turn down the flyback voltage and refocus CRTs. I'm certainly not going to throw out a CRT that is slightly out of focus.

As for power supplies, I've had supplies where the only thing wrong with it was that the fan had bad bearings. Swapping fans out with a more seriously damaged supply is nice quick repair.

Re:I can't fix most TVs (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895402)

Let us not forget that an improperly wired CRT will emit X Rays.

For a TV repairman, it's important to know about this sort of thing.

If a computer tech doesn't know what he's doing, he will be out of work shortly and he isn't going to cause anyone to get leukemia.

LK

Re:I can't fix most TVs (4, Funny)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895530)

would you care to elaborate on what type of "improper" wiring will cause a CRT to emit X-rays

*scribbles notes furiously*
*looks for old CRT*

Re:I can't fix most TVs (1)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895555)

"Let us not forget that an improperly wired CRT will emit X Rays"

Care to reach under your butt and pull out a cite to this amazing statement?

Re:I can't fix most TVs (5, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895473)

I would imagine that TV repairmen were originally regulated because they had to know how to safely work on open TV cabinets containing dangerous high voltages, operate test equipment on those high voltage circuits, and install suitable replacement parts that wouldn't catch on fire.

I worry about this particular money grab for exactly that reason...

Everyone so far has complained that PC techs have very little in common with TV repairmen, and should not need licensure under the same rules.

I would point out the flip side to that - Under this wonderful scheme, Lousiana would suddenly have a lot of "licensed" TV repairmen who had no clue how to safely (or successfully, for that matter) repair an actual TV.

My suggestion for all the geeks annoyed by getting such a letter? Send in your $55, add "TV Repair" to your shingle, and assuming you survive your first electrocution, sue the hell out of the state for making you think you had the skills needed to safely do that job... "Well, they said I could, and in fact, they even said I had to!"

TV reapir dudes (2, Interesting)

zogger (617870) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895506)

just my anecdotal, but I've been to two differnt TV repair shops in the past two years,once for a monitor repair (not worth it cost wise but possible) and once for a vcr part (unobtanium) both places had stacks of computers and monitors in them, and the guys there did all manner of repairs, in fact, more repairs on computers (real repairs, not just component swapping) than the average whitebox shop I have been in. I found both the guys to be quite hip and knowledgeable computer users and techs. They got into the biz because they loved gadgets and had the attitude and aptitude for it, so it's a simple transition to working on boxes. One came from a dotmilgov tech background, the other from a hobbyist to a civvie tech school background.

FWIW

Re:You've hit on something... (1)

blargh3 (579508) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895526)

In the spirit of spite, perhaps all these ripped-off computer techs should go out and incompetently "fix" televions all over the state. Then they could point to Louisiana Radio and Television Technicians Board for licensing them and thereby making them think they were qualified to fix televisions...

Already required in CA (5, Interesting)

BrynM (217883) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895146)

Technically, in California you have to be a licensed appliance and electronics repair person already. It's just not enforced (that wouldn't go over well in San Jose). I wish I had time to find a better link to source, but here's [ca.gov] a link.

Re:Already required in CA (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895410)

It's not a bad idea. Since my sister took a p3 550 dell to a shop and they told her it needed a new mother board and it was going to cost $200 dollars to fix for a new mb, cpu and ram. So she paid the $40 minimum fee to get it back from them and shipped it to me. When I got it all of the drive and power cables were unplugged and the cards and the hard drives weren't screwed down. I plugged it all in and turned it on and it posted. All that had happened was that the XP home upgrade was blue screening. I put the origignal OS back on and the thing ran fine. I wish I could complain to a licensing board about that. I don't know if they were incompetent or dishonest with their diagnosis but returning a machine with all of the cables unplugged and the cards and drive flapping in the breeze is negligent. The transmission guy will at least bolt the pan back on and add the fluid back if I decline the recommended work.

What about car mechanics? (4, Insightful)

bravehamster (44836) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895148)

Since the radio is just a component of the car, the car as a whole could be considered a playback device. Are they sending this extortion attempt to car mechanics? No? Funny that...

Re:What about car mechanics? (1)

Lotu (797031) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895541)

Shhhhh.
Don't give them any ideas

A+ for TV repair (2, Interesting)

ShineyMcShine (799387) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895158)

It works both ways, A+ for the TV guy and TV license for computer tech.

Oh cool (2, Interesting)

huber (723453) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895162)

Nothing against tv repair men, it is a very technical skill in many respects, but i didnt pay $28,000 for 4 years of school to be registered as a tv repair man.

Re:Oh cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895209)

$28,000 for 4 years? Lucky bastard, I payed that for _1_ year.

Re:Oh cool (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895211)

i didnt pay $28,000 for 4 years of school to be registered as a tv repair man

You have a four year degree in repairing computers?

Re:Oh cool (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895264)

Jesus, you paid that much to fix PCs?

You might as well be able to fix TVs too for that price.

Looks like a money grab to me (4, Interesting)

ElForesto (763160) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895164)

It follows a disturbing pattern of "licensing for no purpose" that has been firmly established as standard operating procedure in this country for decades. We license driving, marriage, fishing, hunting, and now WORKING? What's next? An oxygen license? I hope plenty of IT workers stand up and say "hell no" in a massive act of civil disobedience. For that matter, let the TV and radio guys do it too!

Re:Looks like a money grab to me (4, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895262)

They all have a purpose...

Driving -- for the safety of the road. Those drivers who prove themselves unsafe are removed.
Marriage -- the license isn't as much a permission as a document proving it happened on the public record.
Fishing/hunting -- to count limit the number of people who do so. If requests outnumber the number of animals that are meant to be taken, they won't approve them all and/or stop issuing.

Stop complaining! (4, Insightful)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895279)

Go run for office and fix it already!

Anyway, I *like* that there is a driving license. I wish it were *more* difficult.

Marriage... that one is less useful now than it might have been 100 years ago. And with common law marriages, quite useless, though lots of states don't recognize common law marriage.

Fishing and hunting I'll agree too as I don't think we should have unlicensed folk with guns shooting at things. At the least, it limits them.

Essentially licensing is a force to limit, and in certain things I think that's good.

Re:Looks like a money grab to me (1)

parliboy (233658) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895356)

And NOW working? Uh, no, text time you visit your neighborhood licensed teacher, ask her how much it set her back.

Re:Looks like a money grab to me (1)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895491)

Hey,where ya at? This is Louisana! Home of Edwin Edwards. Of course it's just a money grab.

If they really do enforce this, computer techs will just leave the state (I did). Everyone who is left will simply give $10 and a jar of Roue to their cousin and they'll take care of it.

If your family hasn't lived in Louisana for 300 years (and hasn't been making pay offs and arrangements for that long) then just expect to get hit with huge 'fees' and 'adjustments' if you're trying to make a living in Louisana.

It's the second most corrupt state in the USA, after Rhode Island. So if you're goin' to Nuu Orlaans, Remy, be sure to bring your 'Buddy bag' (Rhode Island in-joke).

The big easy (1)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895527)

"What a great meal! Could you bring us the check?"
"What! The Check? Remy, you done know your money's no good here!"
"By the way, did I introduce Miss Ann Osboure of the Federal District Attorney's Office? And, could you bring THE check?, please"
"oh, the Check! Why sure Remy, comin' right up"

"Ahh, don't go gettin' your pretty head all upset there, 'cher. It's just the way we do things down here in the Big Easy."

Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin in
The Big Easy 1986

Re:Looks like a money grab to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895561)

*After* Rhode Island? Can any place possibly be more corrupt than my home state, LA? Can you give some juicy details?

Re:Looks like a money grab to me (1)

Holi (250190) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895565)

Not according to this [washingtontimes.com]

And thats from when Buddy was *in* office. And before you ask, why yes I am from Rhode Island, born and raised.

Re:Looks like a money grab to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895540)

It's a way of getting rid of competition. Taxi drivers, hair dressers, teacher's unions, you name it, they'll resort to it if they have the politicians on their payroll. They're the reason that Democrats have a lock on most big cities in the US.

Whats next? (5, Funny)

DBA_01123 (770195) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895174)

Whats next automechanics having to get licenses as ferriers to change tires?

Re:Whats next? (2, Informative)

Six Nines (771061) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895273)

that's "farrier" -- it means "one who shoes horses" -- not that spelling is considered a skill, or anything...

Re:Whats next? (3, Funny)

B747SP (179471) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895409)

not that spelling is considered a skill, or anything.

What's next, a license to spell?

No Worries (1, Funny)

illuminata (668963) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895177)

This won't go too far. There's bound to be one computer technician who knows a bit of voodoo down there.

You just don't fuck with people who know voodoo.

Best Idea ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895179)

Computer techs SHOULD be licensed. I would EASILY pay double if I knew that they were licensed and presumably accredited.

Re:Best Idea ever (1)

chizu (669687) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895245)

Ok, but if computer techs should be licensed, license them as computer techs not television repair men.

Re:Best Idea ever (2, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895567)

That's what A+, CNE, etc are for. Pay money, pass a test that actually represents your level of expertise in the field, and get a time-limited certification showing competance. What we have here though is just an obvious money grab.

Though that being said, I seriously doubt any more than 2% of the customers that come into our shop think to look for (or ask about) our technicians' certifications. Though I seriously wonder if any of the remaining 98% would know the difference between a "I paid $200 and passed a test any computer user could pass" cert and a "this took me three attempts at $150 each and six weeks of study to pass" cert.

I'd also be willing to bet 50% of the techs working at computer service shops have zero certifications. The only reason I have certs is because we can't order service parts from the manufacturers without them.

Don't license (4, Insightful)

pholower (739868) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895185)

In the end, Brohn acknowledged, the licensing system as it is now envisioned will not fulfill its stated purpose of ensuring consumers that a licensed worker will have the skills that Brohn said are needed to set up the new computer-based media systems. By requiring little more than a fee and a letter from a boss or client, Brohn admitted, the board is doing little to control the quality of licensees.

"That is the problem with a grandfather clause," he said. "There is nothing that we can do about that."

Sure there is, don't license computer technicians!

Louisiana = Alabama (5, Informative)

Zaranne (733967) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895206)

This is same sort of stupid stuff that Alabama pulls. They charge a licensing fee to sell calculators in the state. This is from a law made in the 1800's when cash registers were introduced. I think politicians thought "if it takes money, we should get some of it." They threw "them thar' cal-u-lating machines" in since they can be used to calculate money.

Arm-swingin! (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895230)

> "We're not trying to swing our arm around a whole bunch of people to get new revenue."

"We are, however, quite diligently working on swinging our arm around $55!"

isn't that against the law? (4, Insightful)

Vandil X (636030) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895233)

According the the RIAA, MPAA, the NFL, and several other entertainment groups, playing broadcasted or distributed entertainment on a computer is against the law....

...So how can a local government body issue people a license to repair lawbreaking equipment?

Re:isn't that against the law? (4, Informative)

Esion Modnar (632431) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895315)

So how can a local government body issue people a license to repair lawbreaking equipment?

Same way they can demand you pay a tax on all the marijuana you (not you personally) sell. You can actually buy marijuana tax stamps, which you are required to place on all bags of the stuff.

Weird. "Put these stamps on all the bags of the stuff we'll send you to jail for if we catch you."

This is great.!!!!!!!!! (5, Informative)

YankeeInExile (577704) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895442)

I have always heard rumors of Marijuana Tax Stamps and the like, so I did a little googling. Here's a random sample from Kansas:

Drug dealers, as defined above, are required by law to purchase tax stamps from the Department of Revenue's Business Tax Bureau (K.S.A. 79-5204). In order to protect against any possible violation of the self-incrimination constitutional protection, a dealer is not required to give his/her name or address when purchasing stamps and the Business Tax Bureau is prohibited from sharing any information relating to the purchase of drug tax stamps with law enforcement or anyone else
There is other text http://www.ksrevenue.org/faqs-abcdrugtax.htm [ksrevenue.org] for your amusement.

Re:isn't that against the law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895431)

Funny they should consider that against the law in such vague terms. I guess that makes DVD players illegal too, since they do electronic computation to decode the image. And while we're at it, I suppose DVD's are illegal too because they aid in the playback of distributed entertainment through the computer.

Looks like the MPAA needs to sue itself ;-)

Re:isn't that against the law? (2, Interesting)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895441)

The IRS can require you to report all income, including from your drug deals, stolen property you fence, and income from illegal gambling...

and penalize you for failure to do so..

Maybe they aren't crooked scum (3, Interesting)

RealAlaskan (576404) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895247)

From the fine article:
Brohn [ Stanley Brohn, secretary of the Radio and Television Technicians Board...] said the letter sent to Broussard and others was misleading in stating that the license requirement would apply to a broad range of computer technicians and consultants, and not simply those wanting to set up home entertainment systems.
So, just maybe, they are simply trying (clumsily, but legitimately) to enforce an existing law as it was intended to be used. If they tell computer techs who aren't trying to specialize in home theater systems that they aren't subject to the tax, we'll know that the government there is honest. Or is that an oxymoron?

Of course, the idea of licensing TV repairmen is neither more nor less insane than the idea of calling computer repairmen TV repairmen. All it accomplishes is to restrict the supply and drive up the prices, hurting the very public it was ``supposed to protect''.

VOTE LIBERTARIAN, Louisiana (0, Offtopic)

WarMonkey (721558) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895250)

VOTE LIBERTARIAN, Louisiana

Re:VOTE LIBERTARIAN, Louisiana (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895420)

Libertarians, you want a great example of all your noble ideas? Africa. Head over to Nigeria, where free market rules without any pesky government intervention. It's your utopia!

sign me up! (3, Funny)

to_kallon (778547) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895257)

i think it's a great idea, given proper expansion. for instance, i'd be willing to pay $100 if i could call myself a doctor and get paid like one. or for $75 you could call yourself a pilot and get to fly around. of course, becoming a lawyer would be free, just as encouragement.

Re:sign me up! (4, Funny)

rewt66 (738525) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895405)

Problem is, paying $75 to call yourself a pilot may let you fly around, but it doesn't mean you can land...

From my spam box (1, Offtopic)

Axe (11122) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895265)

You still don't have a degree? Let us help
Earn your degree, while you take NO tests or classes
Increase your earning power, we offer Bachelors, Masters, even PhD's!
Call us anytime of day. We assure your Confidentiality 100%
Call to get started: (1) 801 469 9957

------------------
- Looks like even better offer then the 2 year CS, is not it? :D

IAAL (0, Troll)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895275)

A license is legal permission for you to do something because you have passed a standard test to prove you are competent (eg pilot, driver, doctor etc) this isnt a license. He should sue them saying that its not a license and demand they change the name to "membership" then pay it out of the winnings.

I am a lawyer because some guy on AIM said i was good with that sort of stuff.

And so dies a whole genre of pr0n movies (2, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895301)

The tv repair man producing his tools and getting it from the lady of the house and 2 of her most intimate friends was a fantasy but a geek connecting his laptop to the tv and getting the same treatment is just so not going to happen.

Re:And so dies a whole genre of pr0n movies (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895552)

Maybe if the geek brought a pizza with the patch cables . . .

All Governments are inherently evil (3, Insightful)

Bodhammer (559311) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895304)

Who is John Galt? [compuball.com]

There is no nonsense so errant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action.
Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

For every action there is an equal and opposite government program.
Bob Wells

Government is too big and too important to be left to the politicians.
Chester Bowles (1901 - 1986)

After two years in Washington, I often long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood.
Fred Thompson, Speech before the Commonwealth Club of California

You know what's interesting about Washington? It's the kind of place where second-guessing has become second nature.
George W. Bush, Speech on May 17, 2002
Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.

H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)
I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time.
H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office.
H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

Whenever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship.
Harry S Truman (1884 - 1972), Lecture at Columbia University, 28 Apr. 1959

You will find that the State is the kind of organization which, though it does big things badly, does small things badly, too.
John Kenneth Galbraith (1908 - )

The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.
P. J. O'Rourke (1947 - )

Sure there are dishonest men in local government. But there are dishonest men in national government too.
Richard M. Nixon (1913 - 1994)

So they [the Government] go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent.
Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965), Hansard, November 12, 1936

Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.
Tom Robbins (1936 - )

It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.
Voltaire (1694 - 1778)

I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
Will Rogers (1879 - 1935), Saturday Review, Aug. 25, 1962

There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.
Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)

The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.
William H. Borah

Re:All Governments are inherently evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895493)

Wait, I'm confused now. It's been so long since I've read Atlas shrugged that I don't really remember much beyond the general gist. But Randian's don't like government? It seems like half the articles I see from the ayn rand foundation has the author kowtowing to the Republican party line. I know that 'officially' republicans are against big government, but anyone taking more than a few minutes to observe their actual actions should know how they really feel about it. How are objectivists reconciling this with their beliefs?

Good grief (3, Interesting)

Flower (31351) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895349)

Just pass the cost to your customers and make a tidy profit at it over time. If someone complains explain the whole stupid situation for them and they can vote the idiots out of office.

Like this isn't what will happen anyway.

Recording+Playback (4, Insightful)

StormReaver (59959) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895368)

During either the DeCSS suit, the DMCA hearings, or a RIAA/MPAA suit (I can't remember which), the court specifically ruled that computers were not playback and recording devices and thus did not fall into the realm of protected devices for fair use copying.

Either computers are not such devices as the court ruling indicated, and thus this money grab is illegal, or computers are such devices and thus protected by fair use copying exemptions to the chagrin of the RIAA/MPAA.

Don't pooh pooh it (2, Interesting)

OYAHHH (322809) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895371)

For those of you,

Who are staring down the double barreled outsourcing monster you might want to consider a talent for fixing TVs as a godsend.

I mean, who in their right mind is gonna ship a 60 inch plasma TV to india for repair? Gotta be done locally, get the drift....

Plus, from everything I've ever seen those TV repair guys make some pretty good dough while getting to play with all kinds of electronic gadgetry.

Not a first for Louisiana (5, Interesting)

DrLudicrous (607375) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895372)

Apparently, Louisiana is well-known for this kind of crap. In order to be a florist in Louisiana, you have to be licensed. Achieving this requires taking a $150 exam before a committee. Of course, the committee is composed of other local florists, to whom you represent competition. For a quick blurb on this, and the effort to eradicate (which has already failed), check out:

http://www.2theadvocate.com/stories/071504/opi_edi 2001.shtml [2theadvocate.com]

[clears throat] (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895378)

According to a story in yesterday's New Orleans paper

It has a name, you know: the Times-Picayune. A little respect, please.

Anyway, it sounds just like our corrupt idiot-officials.

Nice dodge. (1)

pla (258480) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895379)

Brohn confirmed that he signed the letter but said he didn't write it.
"That wasn't my choice of words," he said.


Dear Mr. Brohn...

Take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut.


Oh, don't like that? Sorry, not my words, I just added my name to 'em for this post. You'll have to take the issue up with Kurt Vonnegut.

Louisiana: State of REDNECK BOSS HOGS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895384)

What do you expect from a state government (laugh) that also sells out as the nations landfill.

Re:Louisiana: State of REDNECK BOSS HOGS (1)

wobblie (191824) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895554)

Louisiana is not redneck. There are no rednecks here. However, they have sold us out as the nations landfill.

yea right! (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895398)

"We're not going after computer technicians," he said. "The only thing we're doing is giving an opportunity for computer technicians to get into the radio and television side of the business."

Who wants to miss such a great opportunity?

Just as long (1)

xmorg (718633) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895427)

Just as long as tv and radio repair(wo)men are not classified as pc repair we should be ok.

Its kinda like the govmernment sponsored monopoly the AMA, and the state bar have on law and medicine.

Anybody else see this coming? (1)

EvilCabbage (589836) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895434)

I saw this kind of change happening about a year ago. When I ran the idea past my other IT oriented buddies, they laughed at me.

How insane it was that computer technical services would be in the same bag as TV repairmen.
Not meaning any disrespect to TV repairmen, obviously.

Oh yea, Louisiana... (1)

javaxman (705658) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895453)

That's the same state that decided to pick between a KKK member and a known crook [splcenter.org] for governor in 1991. It's a nice place to visit... I guess it's to their credit that the crook won by an extremely narrow margin??

Re:Oh yea, Louisiana... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895480)

At least the crook in Louisiana actually won, as opposed to the crook in the White House.

~~~

What's a "repair"? (5, Interesting)

YouHaveSnail (202852) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895466)

What specific actions constitute a "repair"?

Backing up a hard drive?
Swapping one hard drive for another?
Swapping one hard drive for another because the first had failed?
Re-installing Windows?
Replacing Windows with Linux?
Modifying the Windows registry?
Unplugging one mouse and plugging in another?
Brushing dirt from the lens of a (optical) mouse?
Moving files around?

There are so many ways that a computer can "break" that don't require getting out your soldering iron... I'd think it'd be difficult to differentiate between someone who "repairs" computers and someone who "supports" computers.

People still call for TV repairmen? (2, Insightful)

ejaw5 (570071) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895468)

Perhaps I've been lucky (knock on wood) but TVs seem to last a long time with little maintenance. I figure when a TV finally does bite the dust, its served its lifetime well and about time to buy a new one anyway. People aren't calling repairmen to fix knob-controlled tv's embededded into wood frames are they? (wish they had kept the form design around though)

i'm from louisiana... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895469)

...and i can honestly say that LA has the most crooked government in the US. this doesn't suprise
me at all. louisiana government is all about how much money they can fuck the people out of and put
in thier greedy pockets.

thats why i moved from that miserable excuse of a state.

Hmm... (1)

remigo (413948) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895500)

> "Disingenuous quote of the day: 'We're not trying to swing our
> arm around a whole bunch of people to get new revenue.'"

Well, I mean, maybe it wasn't a disingenuous comment.
Maybe they have other uses for the $55 fee.
After all, Doom 3 is $54.99....

The power to regulate is the power to destroy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895511)

...although regulations never hurt the fat cat lawyers and bureaucrats who benefit from them.

We should welcome this (1)

catherder_finleyd (322974) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895564)

We Computer Professionals should welcome and encourage / expand this trend. As our profession becomes more key to health and safety, our society will want to be sure Computer Pros know what they are doing. Further, Government licensing can be a POWERFUL way to fight offshoring. That programmer in Bangalore is unlikely to be licensed to program in Louisiana!

This is Louisiana after all (1)

Displaced Cajun (20400) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895572)

Its what they do best. After all, Nopoleanic laws etc.. Its just a huge money grab to get more money for a dying industry. Seriously? How many TV Repair Techs are there right now? Not many. My uncle was a TV Repair guy and he retired a long time ago. He fixed TV's when they REALLY needed fixing, IE replacing a tube that was dead or dull. Once semiconductors came into the market, his repair business died.

In our day, its a throw it away and buy another $5000 HDTV set and hang it on the wall. Long gone are the tubes that went out. I bet if someone investigate the financing on the Radio and TV board in Louisiana it will show that the inflow of money has long ago trickled down to almost nothing.

This is OBVIOUS. Its a money grab. The entire state is almost dead from unemployment and everyone like myself moving out.

Firs7 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9895575)

visIons going

Similar Law in Minnesota (2, Interesting)

teslakid (190035) | more than 9 years ago | (#9895578)

Recectly, the state of Minnesota decided that only Certified Electricians can legally install low voltage electrical cable, which includes network and alarm system wiring. Here's http://www.mwpersons.com/articles/3-12-01-licensin g.html [mwpersons.com] one man's story with a link to the relevant code. Gotta make sure those network cables don't electrocute anybody.
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