A couple weeks ago, we had the story of the MPAA and the NFL trying to force TiVo to stop its plans to add new features to their devices that would let a user send a recorded program to another device. While we discussed why this was a ridiculous move by both the MPAA and the NFL, a reporter at the Washington Post is now going one step further and pointing out that the real travesty is the fact that TiVo suddenly needs to ask permission from the government to innovate. The ability of companies to continually innovate and reinvent markets based on free and open competition is what helps drive this economy. When companies need to ask permission to add innovative features, and that permission needs to go through other companies, we're destroying our ability to innovate competitively. Instead, companies outside of this country will build new systems with features that consumers actually want, while systems here are held back by regulations that serve no other purpose than to protect an adjacent industry that refuses to change with the times. It's the worst form of protectionism -- since no one will even admit that it's protectionism. And, like all attempts at protectionism, the end result will be much worse for those these rules supposedly protect.
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