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.