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Capitol Hill Joins Criticism of Smithsonian Film Deal; Key Congressmen Call for Review of Showtime Pact
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Museums; Archives & records; Contracts
Author: Trescott, Jacqueline
Date: Apr 29, 2006
Start Page: C.01
Section: STYLE

The April 27 letter from Capitol Hill, released yesterday, was written by Rep. Charles Taylor (R-N.C.), chairman of the House subcommittee that approves the federal appropriation to the Smithsonian, and Rep. Norman D. Dicks (D-Wash.), the ranking minority member of the subcommittee. The panel is currently considering a $644.4 million appropriation for fiscal 2007. The Smithsonian receives about 70 percent of its funds from the government.

The contract, according to Smithsonian officials, creates Smithsonian on Demand, an outlet that will produce 100 programs a year. The programs will use Smithsonian materials and experts, and the shows will be available, starting in December, to households with digital cable TV.

Because of the vastness of its archives, the Smithsonian is a popular resource for researchers, authors and filmmakers. The Smithsonian says the archives will be fully available to news and public-affairs teams as well as noncommercial organizations. But the Smithsonian will decide which commercial requests for more than "incidental use" of the archives will be approved.

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