Hollywood is losing friends on the Hill

Rep. Don Edwards (D-Santa Clara) a veteran lawmaker regarded as friendly to Hollywood, announced he will retire from Congress at the end of the year.

Edwards’ decision Tuesday came a day after another Hollywood pal — House copyright subcommittee chairman William Hughes (D-N.J.) — said he will leave his post at year’s end.

Edwards was a member of Hughes’ copyright subcommittee, a panel critical to the outcome of legislation that affects the interests of Hollywood.

Congressional sources say it’s too early to tell who will succeed Hughes.

The Directors Guild of America would undoubtedly like to see subcommittee member Barney Frank (D-Mass.) get the chairmanship, since Frank has been a leader in the legislative fight to ensure consumer notification when films are materially altered.

It’s unclear whether Frank would want the copyright subcommittee chairmanship , however, since taking the job would presumably require the relinquishing of his chairmanship of a House banking subcommittee.

Other possible successors to Hughes include Mike Synar (D-Okla.), Howard Berman (D-Van Nuys) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

Hughes’ departure from Congress won’t be mourned by broadcasters. During the battle over the 1992 Cable Act, Hughes attempted to kill retransmission consent by substituting a plan to repeal the cable TV compulsory copyright license. His effort proved unsuccessful, and ill feelings between Hughes and broadcasters have existed ever since.

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