MPAA Applauds Derailment of FCC Cable Box Competition Plan Because, Uh, Jobs!
from the overlords-of-nonsense dept
Last week we noted how the FCC had to scrap its plan to bring competition to the cable box after an unprecedented PR and disinformation campaign by the cable and entertainment industries. In short, using consultants, think tanks, payrolled politicians, a soundwall of misleading editorials and even the US Copyright Office, the cable industry was able to convince many in the press, public and even at the FCC that the plan would have ripped the planet off its very orbital access, violated copyright, eroded consumer privacy, and even harmed diversity programming.
In reality, the cable sector’s opposition was about two things: $21 billion in captive box rental revenues, and a fear of a loss of control. Being an expert in the latter, the MPAA of course was quick to issue a statement applauding the “delay” in the FCC’s proceeding:
“The MPAA is pleased that the FCC is taking more time, and we hope they use it to ensure any set-top box proposal remains consistent with copyright policy and avoids harming creators,? said MPAA Chairman and CEO Senator Chris Dodd, who emphasized that his organization, along with ?virtually the entire creative community? is ?standing up for copyright and the rights of creators.”
Except again, the cable box plan has nothing to do with copyright. The rules would have simply required cable companies pass on their existing programming (and all DRM) to third party hardware vendors, resulting in more competition in cable boxes and ultimately more open and cheaper boxes. Because that might just give consumers a little more control, the MPAA joined the hissy fit parade of inaccurate implausibilities. And to justify trying to keep the cable box locked down and shitty, the best the MPAA can apparently do is reiterate some nonsensical talking points about jobs:
“We support the FCC?s goal of promoting set-top box competition, but we continue to urge the Commission to forge a path that does not undermine the creative economy,? Dodd continued. ?Copyright employs more than 5.5 million U.S. workers and generates over $1 trillion in economic value ? incentivizing innovation and investment in creative works enjoyed by millions around the world.”
Except the FCC’s proposal wouldn’t hurt jobs in the slightest. Under the FCC’s plan, customers still would pay for cable, they’d just have more flexibility in how that programming is consumed. And if anything, you’d see more jobs as the cable hardware itself was opened to multiple hardware competitors and streaming vendors looking to make headway in the space. But just like their previous whining session on this subject, the MPAA can’t just admit it’s terrified of evolution and consumer empowerment, so it apparently has to conflate “copyright” with a loss of control.
Meanwhile, while many media outlets continue to insist this plan is simply on hold, there’s really only two likely outcomes moving forward thanks to cable lobbyists, the US Copyright Office, and folks like the MPAA: either the plan gets scrapped entirely, or the end result winds up being so watered down as to be utterly useless.