[opendtv] Commissioner Copps on the Fox vs Cablevision dispute

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2010 15:48:32 -0500

One thing I can easily agree with Commissioner Copps on: there are no "good 
guys" in these squabbles.

On the other hand, if it's House, Lie To Me, or Fringe that viewers are 
missing, by all means do take it upon yourselves to bypass the addictive 



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   News Media contact: Joshua Cinelli (202) 418-2000
October 20, 2010         Joshua.Cinelli@xxxxxxx


"Retransmission consent developed in another world in a vastly different media 
environment. The idea was to ensure that consumers could receive broadcast 
programs on cable and to protect both small broadcasters and small cable 
companies from being run over by the big guys. Now, in too many instances, 
retransmission consent has degenerated into a fight between huge monied 
interests to see who can milk who the most-and consumers are left holding an 
empty pail. What we are dealing with here is a fast-changing media landscape 
with the big players maneuvering to see how they can create new business models 
that will give them the upper hand over their rivals going forward.

"The FCC's role has been limited. That's partly due to the statute under which 
we operate, which generally confines our role to encouraging 'good faith' 
negotiations between the private parties. We have interpreted this charge very 
cautiously. But the FCC is a consumer protection agency and, if the 
Fox-Cablevision dispute proves anything, it is that consumers are clearly not 
being protected. I believe the Commission should take a very serious look at 
whether 'good faith' negotiations are indeed occurring. What, indeed, does 
'good faith' mean in the dog-eat-dog world of big media? If such talks are not 
taking place, we should move promptly to protect consumers.

"We must also understand that these seemingly 'old media' debates can be used 
against the new media of the digital age, too. For a broadcaster to pull 
programming from the Internet for a cable company's subscribers, as apparently 
happened here, directly threatens the open Internet. This was yet another 
instance revealing how vulnerable the Internet is to discrimination and 
gate-keeper control absent clear rules of the road."

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