Kevin Martin Opposes Regulating Internet Content?

from the say-what dept

A significant part of FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s legacy will be the moves he made — and tried to make — to crack down on indecency while he was in power. The FCC went after TV broadcasters with much more vigor than under previous leaders, trying to impose big fines for “indecent” content, many of which got smacked down later by courts. Martin himself was a major advocate of a la carte cable plans, in which consumers could simply pay for individual channels, rather than bundles. This represented a significant change of tune for the FCC, which had previously held that a la carte plans would carry too much additional cost to be to consumers’ benefit; Martin’s interest was, presumably, the decency angle, using the threat of an a la carte mandate to get cable operators to offer so-called family tiers of inoffensive channels. Martin was unapologetic about this in a speech last week at the CES show, when he said he didn’t have a problem with his actions to clean up TV, but added that he didn’t believe broadband content should be regulated because it’s not easily accessible to children, and because its “content you choose to select and pull down” rather than “content you push out”.

Huh? This is the same Kevin Martin that wanted Congress to pass a law giving the FCC the ability to regulate decency on basic cable — TV programming that people pay for and invite into their home. It’s also the same guy that backed a quixotic plan to build a free nationwide wireless data network, complete with content filters. This is the sort of doublespeak that we’ve come to expect from Martin, and won’t have us shedding too many tears if he’s replaced before his term expires in 2011. Hopefully the next chair will be more interested in issues like competition and technology than in moral issues and buddying up to telcos.

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Comments on “Kevin Martin Opposes Regulating Internet Content?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Not that I’m a Kevin Martin fan or anything but…

“because it’s not easily accessible to children, and because its “content you choose to select and pull down” rather than “content you push out”. “

As he’s saying here, you CHOOSE what websites your go to and which content you want and don’t want. As far as cable/satellite TV are concerned, I get what channels they say I get based on the package purchased.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I agree with this comment. The big difference (and which Martin very poorly expressed) is not push versus pull, but BUNDLED AVAILABILITY. When you setup a computer with internet access, you do not choose to load up a pre-selected group of windows based on what your ISP suggested you get. You have to pick which to view. Yes, they are all available to you, but you still pick.

When you turn on your TV, you don’t pick what content is streaming to it in quite the same way. You do pick which to view at any one time, but its similar to having YOUR computer load up MY bookmarks file, and then you get to pick which window is in the foreground. Well that is nothing like actually making the website request yourself.

As for keeping children safe, I still think both the internet and TV need to have proper monitoring by parents, and if necessary (meaning parents are not home all the time) they need to have child-proof filtering… blocked channels and online website blocking. All new TVs can do that now, and its very affordable to pay for an online service.

I do not think either needs excessive regulation… what I think we need is a la carte pricing on cable services so you do not pay for, or have available, channels you do not want… therefore you do not need to block them yourself.

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