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If Cable Won’t #UnlockTheBox, Why Would ISPs #ProtectNetNeutrality?

August 7, 2017 FCC , Net Neutrality , Set-Top Boxes , Title II , Unlock the Box

The recent Internet Day of Action for net neutrality illustrates how intensely consumers feel about net neutrality protections, as more than 50,000 people, websites, and organizations demonstrated in favor of a free and open internet. Many Internet Service Providers claim that they, too, want net neutrality, but with one exception: they don’t want any rules that can be enforced against them. Asking giant internet providers like Comcast to behave is, quite frankly, implausible given their history of anti-competitive behavior.

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Fool Me Twice, Shame On Me. Fool Me Every Time — I’m the FCC!

July 12, 2017 FCC , Net Neutrality , Net Neutrality in 2017 , Set-Top Box , Unlock the Box

This blog post was originally published on Harold Feld’s personal blog, “Tales of the Sausage Factory,” on Wetmachine.com.

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#UnlockTheBox: It’s Now Or Never

September 12, 2016 FCC , Set-Top Box , Unlock the Box , Video Competition , Video Marketplace

Every time I tell people about the Federal Communications Commission’s #UnlockTheBox proceeding, the reaction is always the same: It’s a no-brainer. They burst into rants about how much they hate the boxes, that they hate paying so much, and that they can’t understand why someone hasn’t done something about this cable box rip-off that results in such a lackluster product and poor service. Even as they thank heaven, the FCC, and consumer advocates for their efforts to actually fix this, they ask why it hasn’t been done sooner. It’s getting ridiculous.

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The Growing List of How the Copyright Office Has Failed Us

August 8, 2016 Copyright , Copyright Office , Copyright Reform , Unlock the Box

As we’ve been talking about recently, the Copyright Office has a long history of being bad at its job, and misrepresenting the law it’s charged with understanding. Anyone familiar with tech policy already knows about the debacle that is the exemption process under Section 1201, but it doesn’t end there. Aside from its seemingly never-ending quest to accumulate more power by pulling non-copyright issues under its umbrella, the Office pushes wildly expansive interpretations of copyright law–asserting rights that don’t exist, interpreting consumer safeguards so narrowly as to render them useless, preventing consumers from using assistive technologies, creating “solutions” that nobody asked for, and otherwise making bizarre proclamations that completely ignore relevant facts and law. Over and over again, the Copyright Office bends over backwards to align its positions with the lobbying agendas of the big entertainment conglomerates.

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Private Interests Don’t Override the Law–in Music Publishing, Cable Boxes, or Anywhere Else

August 5, 2016 Antitrust , Copyright , FCC , Music Licensing , Unlock the Box

Two of the copyright issues Public Knowledge has been working on seem disconnected from each other, but there’s a common theme. In both the performance rights organization (PRO) and set-top box issues, policymakers should be clear in their understanding that private contracts can’t be used to override other provisions of law. Just as the interests of some industry participants don’t override legally-binding consent decrees, neither do they provide a reason for the Federal Communications Commission to ignore its statutory mandate to promote set-top box competition.

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