[opendtv] Re: Comcast sued for not selling set-top boxes, CableCARDs

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2008 19:06:59 -0500

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20081226-comcast-sued-for-not-selling-set-top-boxes-cablecards.html

Comcast sued for not selling set-top boxes, CableCARDs

By Nate Anderson | Published: December 26, 2008 - 08:05AM CT

[ ... ]

The gist of the case, according to a copy of the complaint seen by 
Ars Technica, is rental fees. Corralejo argues that Comcast has a 
monopoly over video service in her area and that it uses that 
monopoly power to force her to use decryption equipment, which 
Corralejo cannot purchase outright.

[ ... ]

In addition, Corralejo complains that the CableCARD still has to be 
rented from the company; it cannot be purchased outright. There's 
simply no way to avoid some form of rental fee.
-----------End quote---------------------

We went through this line of reasoning completely, some time ago, when talking 
about the Betamax case. In spite of the utterly ignorant garbage posted on here 
at the time, the facts are that only FOTA programming needs to be transmitted 
in the clear, when it is OTA. ANY umbillical network which charges a connection 
fee is free to encrypt and to copy-protect all of their content.

This holds even with the FCC requirement that cable systems must provide 
must-carry stations to their subscribers. There is *NO REQUIREMENT* that this 
be done in the clear. And there never has been.

-----------Start quote--------------------
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-286508A1.txt
(Dated October 31, 2008)

3

Under the Communications Act, cable operators with twelve or more channels are 
required to devote up to one third of their "usable activated channels" to "the 
signals of local commercial [broadcast] television stations." 47 U.S.C. 
§534(b)(1)(B). The Act further provides that:

Signals carried in fulfillment of the requirements of this section shall be 
provided to every subscriber of a cable system.  Such signals shall be viewable 
via cable on all television receivers of a subscriber which are connected to a 
cable system by a cable operator or for which a cable operator provides a 
connection.  If a cable operator authorizes subscribers to install additional 
receiver connections, but does not provide the subscriber with such 
connections, or with the equipment and materials for such connections, the 
operator shall . . . offer to sell or lease . . . a converter box to such 
subscribers at [regulated] rates.
------------End quote--------------------

Cable systems have the option of retaining an analog tier, or providing STBs, 
or using clearQAM, or whatever they prefer, but they are not obliged by 
anything to send unencrypted or non-copy protected content over their system.

So it will be interesting to see if this lawsuit goes anywhere.

By the way, just to be clear, I do not "discuss" anything with the hopelessly 
ignoramus. In no way. Whatever they decide is the "last word" is of no interest 
or significance, as far as I'm concerned. Whatever they respond with should not 
be considered "discussion." It is not.

Reasoned discussions are a different matter, with anyone not afflicted by the 
disease mentioned above.

Bert
 
 
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