31 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
The Telecom Digest for June 19, 2013
====== 31 years of TELECOM Digest -- Founded August 21, 1981 ======
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Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2013 20:00:37 -0700 (PDT) From: Neal McLain <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: End of Cable Bundle Inevitable, With or Without Aereo: CEO Message-ID: <email@example.com> On Jun 16, 8:45 pm, "John Levine" <jo...@iecc.com> wrote: > >Well, if your business model is stealing (oops -- I mean "stealing") a > >product from one party and selling it to another party, I guess that > >argument make sense. After all, you don't have to comply with > >programming agreements if you don't have any. > > We have laws that describe the deal that broadcasters make with the > public, including a set of requirements in return for an extremely > valuable local monopoly on a slice of the RF spectrum. Part of that > deal has always been that anyone with an antenna gets to listen to or > watch the broadcast. Aereo doesn't cut out the commercials, which have > always been where the broadcasters' revenue comes from. > > Although I understand why the broadcasters would like the laws to be > different, and to be able to extract even more money from the rest of > us than their current franchise allows, wanting doesn't make it so. Agreed. But we also have laws that describe the deal that copyright owners make with the public. If a broadcaster buys the rights to a copyrighted work, the agreement between the broadcaster and the copyright owner can (and presumably does) stipulate the conditions under which the copyrighted work can be used. To the extent that Aereo reuses the copyrighted work above and beyond the stipulations set forth in the agreement, the copyright owner has reason to assert a claim of infringement. As I noted in a previous post, this case bears a remarkable similarity to the battles that the cable TV industry fought 50 years ago. http://tinyurl.com/cyzxtap Neal McLain
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2013 02:04:05 +0000 (UTC) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Garrett Wollman) To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: End of Cable Bundle Inevitable, With or Without Aereo: CEO Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> In article <email@example.com>, John Levine <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: >>Well, if your business model is stealing (oops -- I mean "stealing") a >>product from one party and selling it to another party, I guess that >>argument make sense. After all, you don't have to comply with >>programming agreements if you don't have any. > >We have laws that describe the deal that broadcasters make with the >public, including a set of requirements in return for an extremely >valuable local monopoly on a slice of the RF spectrum. Part of that >deal has always been that anyone with an antenna gets to listen to or >watch the broadcast. Aereo doesn't cut out the commercials, which have >always been where the broadcasters' revenue comes from. Historically that has been the case. However, things have changed substantially since the last Cable Act was passed in 1992. A larger and larger fraction of broadcasters' revenue now comes from "retransmission consent" payments from MVPDs, and a much smaller fraction of broadcasters' total audience depends on over-the-air reception as a way to acquire the programming. Most metropolitan areas are monopoly or duopoly markets for wireline MVPDs. Thus, the "extremely valuable local monopoly" on 6 MHz of spectrum is no longer particularly valuable (particularly if it's unsaleable VHF); it is the other perquisites that come along with being a licensed broadcaster, such as retrans consent and the right to exclude competing broadcasts of the same programming, that have value today. Stations use retransmission consent in two ways: first, to directly extract rents from cable subscribers by requiring them to pay cash for carrying the station, and second, to require MVPDs to carry (at an additional fee, of course) other programming owned by the licensee or an affiliate of the licensee. (I believe, without direct evidence, that the networks offer better affiliate compensation if their affiliates negotiate cable carriage of network-owned services.) Aereo's claim, as made before the Second Circuit but not yet tested in any other circuit, is that their system rents to each customer an individual tuner (and antenna?), located at one facility in each market where they operate, and current laws exclude this arrangement from the definition of a regulated "cable television system". If they were regulated, they would be subject to the same must-carry/retransmission-consent regime. If I were dictator, I would eliminate the must-carry side entirely for commercial stations (*so* sorry to Lowell and Devon Paxson, whose stations would now be worthless), provide retransmission consent only for subscribers who are located outside each station's FCC service contour, and end the use of Nielsen DMAs for the purpose of defining stations' exclusive markets. TV broadcasters would hate this, but many pointless stations would go under, making it easier to reuse the valuable upper-UHF spectrum (not to mention cable-TV spectrum) for something more productive. -GAWollman  I'm lucky enough to live in a market with three competing MVPDs: Comcast (formerly Cablevision in my town), Verizon FiOS, and RCN. It does not have an appreciable effect on ever-increasing cable rates, but it does make it somewhat easier to get a decent deal on Internet access. At my home I have a Verizon POTS line, Comcast video service, and RCN Business Internet. -- Garrett A. Wollman | What intellectual phenomenon can be older, or more oft email@example.com| repeated, than the story of a large research program Opinions not shared by| that impaled itself upon a false central assumption my employers. | accepted by all practitioners? - S.J. Gould, 1993
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2013 18:30:33 -0700 From: Lou Meiss <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Excellent new book about Phone Phreaks Message-ID: <51C109B9.firstname.lastname@example.org> Here is an excellent new book that traces the history of Phone Phreaks. It is well researched and well put together. "Exploding The Phone : The untold story of the teenagers and outlaws who hacked Ma Bell", by Phil Lapsley. I am not involved with above book, just found it great reading. Look for it in your local library. - - Lou, WA6EPD ***** Moderator's Note ***** The book is available for about $15 from Amazon and other sites. I haven't read it yet. The URL is http://www.amazon.com/dp/080212061X , but be sure to shop around. Checking out Amazon is worth it just to see the other books they recommend to go with it: titles such as "Top Secret Tourism". Amazon also lets you read the Foreword by Steve Woniak. Bill Horne Moderator
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