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We want to make sure that all of the people who were upset that the DMCA could prevent them from unlocking their phones get a solution that actually fixes the problem by changing the law, not just reversing the Library of Congress's decision and waiting for a do-over a few years from now.
This is the final post in our series explaining Public Knowledge’s five fundamental principles for the transition of our phone network to IP-based technology. We’ve already discussed service to all Americans, interconnection and competition, consumer protection, and network reliability. Today we’ll dive into the last (but not least) of the five principles: public safety.
Our country's absolutely ridiculous "retransmission consent" system continues to distort the video marketplace. This is the set of arcane rules that give local broadcasters (and not copyright holders) the right to decide whether cable systems (and IPTV and satellite providers) can carry their programming. A system that should be about connecting creators to viewers instead empowers middlemen who collect money from both sides. It's not that distributors and other kinds of middlemen have no place--far from it. But they should add value, and be compensated accordingly.
So why are we seeing simultaneous efforts to double down on enforcing a defective law?
3D printing means more people are becoming professional designers, creating and selling even more things. Although most of these designers are creating wholly original objects, it should not be a surprise that some are building off of existing TV shows, movies, and books. The result: the world of merchandising is about to confront a long tail that can't be monitored or controlled. How should rightsholders respond? By embracing it.
It is extremely easy to let the disappointment and bitterness over the high hopes I (and others) had back when Genachowski started in 2009 color his sins (whether of commission or omission) blacker than they should be. By the same token, it is easy to allow the lowered expectations we all had after 2010 to make his accomplishments seem better than they where. But far more important than any attempt to summarize Genachowski’s putative legacy in a few paragraphs is determining who will succeed him. Anyone interested in reflecting on the last 4 years can see Public Knowledge’s official statement here. But for us here at PK, it’s time to look forward.
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