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AT&T has clarified that its bad policy of restricting video chat apps is still in place. We've also found out that handset providers need to jump through hoops to avoid being blocked. But AT&T has promised to end these practices by the end of the year.
When I wrote about AT&T's blocking of Google Hangouts over cellular last week I admit I was confused. I didn't understand why AT&T would allow Hangouts on iOS but not Android. It really looked like some kind of oversight, because the Android app, just like the iOS app, was installed from an app store and not "pre-loaded," which is a distinction AT&T has made before. I also wondered if app developers had to somehow work some special magic to make their apps work on AT&T's network.
But, yesterday AT&T put out a statement that clarifies some things while confusing others. First, it really does appear that AT&T defines Hangouts for Android as "pre-loaded." Even though it hasn't actually been pre-loaded on any phones yet, an app by the OS developer appears to count.
Parts of the debate are still missing from the discussion of copyright reform in Congress, but we’re starting to fill in the gaps. This includes the need to look at individual artists, creators, and users instead of the intermediaries and big incumbents.
Yesterday, I briefly summarized some of the major themes coming from the witnesses in the House IP Subcommittee’s copyright reform hearing. Since the witnesses covered those same points in their oral testimony, I thought I’d devote this post to some of the themes that emerged from the other side of the room—from the representatives in their statements and questions.
Senators are challenged to think outside the industry talking points, to what consumers are saying loudly in their marketplace choices.
As a part of a series of hearings, the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on the “State of Video” communications Tuesday May 14, 2013.
Leaders from the cable, satellite, and broadcast TV industries joined PK’s own video & media policy guru, John Bergmayer on the panel and made one thing very clear: These industries are making a fine profit right now and are not interested in having the power of the Internet change that.
Hearings such as this, that have (somewhat) balanced witness panels are very helpful because they remind us that no matter how much we are told through advertising that what cable, satellite, and broadcast are giving us is what we want, these companies are in the business of protecting their business. The technology that can increase competition and lower the price of cable is already available in online video. Millions of viewers are making this choice to take advantage of online video options today.
Today’s witnesses for the copyright reform hearing in Congress will introduce ideas for improving America’s copyright system.
Today at 2:00 PM EST, the House Subcommittee on Intellectual Property is holding a hearing on potential copyright reform.
The structure of today’s hearing owes a lot to a multi-year project organized by Professor Pamela Samuelson called the Copyright Principles Project. Each of today’s five witnesses participated in the project, which was an attempt to bring together a number of stakeholders from different parts of the copyright debate.
If you've been reading our blog this week, yes it will, because it's another story about AT&T and restictions on the Open Internet. But it should also be familiar for another reason, because at first glance this is the same as what happened with Apple's Facetime video chat app last year—AT&T is deciding what apps its users can use on the data connections they pay for.
It's interesting how arbitrary this is. The iOS version the app has no such restrictions. This shows how odd it is that AT&T continues to maintain that there is some clear distinction between "pre-loaded" and downloaded apps, where it can block one kind but not the other. There is no way to characterize a downloaded Google app for an Apple device as pre-loaded, of course—but based on the statement AT&T has given out in response to questions about this, the company appears to have decided that a Google app for Android counts as "pre-loaded" even when you have to download and install it from an app store. In other words, when it plainly is not pre-loaded. That's wrong, but it's just the start of what's wrong here.
The way to lower prices for consumers and create a competitive video marketplace is to embrace online video as the future.
One of our Senior Staff Attorneys John Bergmayer testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet on Tuesday. His testimony described why the online video marketplace could lower high cable bills for consumers, while still allowing service providers the opportunity to obtain adequate profits. Representatives from the cable, broadcast, and satellite industries also came to detail their problems with the video market. One theme that rang throughout the hearing was the negative impact sports blackouts and drawn out retransmission disputes have on the public.
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