T-Mobile Still Doesn't Understand (Or Simply Doesn't Care) That Their 'Music Freedom' Plan Tramples Net Neutrality

from the paved-with-good-intentions dept

Back in June we noted how T-Mobile had unveiled a new "Music Freedom" program that exempts the biggest music streaming companies from T-Mobile's usage caps. When introduced at the time, T-Mobile pitched the idea as a huge win for consumers, as you could listen to say -- Spotify -- without worrying about eroding your usage allotments. T-Mobile also insisted that if your favorite service isn't included, you can just Tweet T-Mobile to have it whitelisted for cap exemption. Sounds like a great deal for everybody, right?

Well, no. Imagine you're one of the thousands of smaller streaming services or non-profits arbitrarily deemed too small to get on the cap-exemption list. You're suddenly facing a steeper competitive slope than ever before, given that larger companies' services are excluded from the cap and yours aren't. Whereas T-Mobile should be delivering all bits equally, by injecting themselves into the middle, they've tilted the playing field against small operations and non-profits. Meanwhile, begging the company via Twitter for inclusion is far from a transparent process. Furthermore, in doing this, T-Mobile is quite clearly admitting that the data caps it puts on are artificially low, harming consumers by charging them extra if they happen to use a higher bandwidth service that hasn't buddy'd up with the company.

At the time it was announced, ultra-hip T-Mobile CEO John Legere was "genuinely surprised" by the criticism from neutrality advocates, arguing that because nobody was paying T-Mobile to bypass the caps -- it couldn't possibly be a neutrality violation. Judging from this recent Reddit conversation, many consumers are confused as well, and are quite eager to root against their best self interest. The FCC has also made it clear they think this is simply "creative pricing," and won't be prohibited by the agency's new neutrality rules.

But because consumers, hipsteresque CEOs and regulators don't understand what's happening doesn't make it less true: T-Mobile's idea (and AT&T's similarly-minded sponsored data effort) sets horrible precedents by letting carriers artificially inject themselves into a content and service ecosystem that is healthier with them out of the way. Accept the idea that carriers can use caps in such a discriminatory fashion, and you're opening the door to a world of aggressive and anti-competitive behavior.

This week T-Mobile announced they've added a few more small services like Google Play Music and SoundCloud, bringing the total list of cap-exempt services to 27 (how many streaming music, audio services, radio stations and podcast broadcasts exist in the world again?). Meanwhile, Legere seems no more enlightened as to why setting arbitrary usage limits then exempting only some companies isn't really a good idea, patting himself on the back for being so pro consumer:
"Music Freedom is pro-consumer, pro-music and pure Un-carrier," said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “And today we’re taking another huge step toward our ultimate goal of including every streaming music service in the program. Anyone can play. No one pays. And everyone wins."
Except again, not everybody wins. Does a small independent streaming radio station too little to meet T-Mobile's invisible interest threshold for whitelisted services "win" if their bits are counted against the cap, but the bytes of Pandora aren't? Net neutrality is about carriers getting out of the way, not erecting annoying new arbitrary systems of control and monetization. T-Mobile has made some great, pro-consumer moves of late, but this isn't one of them. The company either doesn't understand that "Music Freedom" tramples all over net neutrality, or they understand this all too well and simply hope consumers are too stupid to notice.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:50pm

    'Tis the danger of positive discrimination.

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  • identicon
    Marcello, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:52pm

    What Legere is pretty much saying is that lifting the data caps entirely would be pro-consumer, so how about we kinda sorta lift the data caps, on some things, and that should be pro-consumer too. No, how about you just remove the data caps entirely.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:52pm

    Not only does it tilt the playing field towards the big music streaming services, it also disadvantages podcasters, especially unless they are available on a streaming site that gets a cap pass.
    This is not good for the long term future of the Internet, as it gives a few big sites the ability to become gate keepers to content.

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  • icon
    JohnG (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:00pm

    So should the NFL, for example, not be allowed to negotiate an agreement with Gatorade because doing so would harm smaller beverage makers from getting onto the sidelines of NFL games?

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    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:13pm

      Re:

      Because sugar water served at entertainment venues is so very similar to making sure communications networks function properly?

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      • icon
        JohnG (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:14pm

        Re: Re:

        The products don't have to be equivalent for the same principles to apply

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        • icon
          Karl Bode (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:18pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yes, actually, they do if you want your argument to make any coherent sense.

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          • icon
            JohnG (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:25pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Let me spell it out for you then since you apparently can't see the connection on your own.

            T-Mobile has struck a deal (ostensibly) with one or more music services to give them special treatment on the T-Mobile network. How is that any different than the NFL striking a deal w/ Gatorade (ignoring that the NFL deal is actually a monopoly deal and the T-Mobile one is not)?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:34pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The NFL doesn't deliver drinks to me.

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              • icon
                JohnG (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:37pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Again, the examples do not have to be equivalent for the same principles to apply. How is the T-Mobile agreement different than the NFL one?

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                • identicon
                  John The Obstreperous, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:57pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Given your baffling insistence that a telecommunications provider is remotely equivalent to an entertainment franchising organization, I believe the onus is on you to describe what underlying principle is the same - aside from the too-obvious-to-mention, too-lame-to-comment-upon similarity of both being for-profit entities. Feel free to use big words.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:57pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  The NFL signs an exclusive deal with a beverage company for that company to be the exclusive drink brand of the NFL. Money changes hands, presumably, as a result of this exclusive deal.

                  T-Mobile exempts certain music services from consumer data caps, at the request of consumers and T-Mobile either does it or not...based on reasons. No money changes hands, according to T-Mobile and all music services are still available for use by consumers on T-Mobile, some affecting caps and others not.

                  As Karl suggested, these are not the same thing....at all.

                  Why continue to insist there is some similarity here?

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                  • icon
                    JohnG (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:15pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    T-Mobile wants to set their service apart and they made a deal (or not as I'm learning) to differentiate themselves. It's T-Mobile's network is it not? If a consumer doesn't like it can a consumer not change wireless communications providers?

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 3:50pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Such discriminatory control over use of the Internet is the first step down a slippery road to the Internet becoming a set of walled gardens, and if some of your friends use a different mobile provider it will become hard to stay in contact with them because of limitations on which social media sites, photo sharing sites etc, that you can use.

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                      • icon
                        JohnG (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 5:38am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        How is T-Mobile limiting your access to any site or service? It's not counting music from certain providers towards your cap. You're still free to use any other service you'd like, just like you were 4 days ago.

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                        • icon
                          PaulT (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 6:01am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          "You're still free to use any other service you'd like, just like you were 4 days ago."

                          ...unless you wish to avoid the additional charges or other restriction/penalty that applies for going beyond the cap.

                          I think you're just being deliberately obtuse now.

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                          • icon
                            JohnG (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 6:15am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            unless you wish to avoid the additional charges

                            That's the same decision you had to make 4 days ago before T-Mobile made this change.

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                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 6:51am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              It is not the same decision, 4 days ago it was do I want to stream this content, now its is do I want to stream this content that does not get a pass, or will I stream content from Spotify etc. It is biasing your choices toward selected streaming services.

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                            • icon
                              PaulT (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 7:10am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              No, it's not, because the way it's applied is different. I'm sorry if the argument is too complex for you.

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                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 2:23am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "T-Mobile wants to set their service apart and they made a deal (or not as I'm learning) to differentiate themselves."

                      They have many other ways in which they can do this.

                      "It's T-Mobile's network is it not?"

                      Yes, but that doesn't mean they can do whatever they want with it without restriction. Rules and regulations are applicable to any industry, and these are often there to prevent unfair competition and negative impact to consumers, to give 2 very quick examples. Removing net neutrality causes both of these.

                      "If a consumer doesn't like it can a consumer not change wireless communications providers?"

                      Depends on the contract and coverage in the area they live, among other things. Besides, the impact to the market and competitors is as important as the impact to consumers. Yeah, a customer might be able to switch, but a streaming service not exempted from the cap still has no way to reach those who stay.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:58pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  With the NFL deal, it only impacts what you can buy in the venues. With T-Mobile style deals, if used to differentiate mobile providers, just how many mobile devices will you need to get all the Internet based services that you want.

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                • icon
                  David Muir (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:03pm

                  Utility

                  ISPs own infrastructure that make them essentially a monopoly in a particular area. "Duopoly" is a term often used. In any case, consumers usually don't have much choice about who delivers water, gas, sewer, electricity, and data to their homes. Many people don't believe that internet provision is a utility. Apparently JohnG is one of them. The NFL is not a utility, thus the examples are similar enough for him. I personally believe ISPs ARE equivalent to utilities but that REAL competition would still make net neutrality rules unnecessary. However, that competition does not exist and therefore we must have a level playing field for ALL data travelling over the wires.

                  I notice that this issue has sidetracked to music streaming specifically... and how it's not a problem because it is "positive discrimination", but now is the time to hammer home the idea of what net neutrality really means.

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                • icon
                  Gwiz (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:16pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Again, the examples do not have to be equivalent for the same principles to apply.

                  Yes the do. You are comparing apples to airplanes.



                  How is the T-Mobile agreement different than the NFL one?

                  Because internet service is becoming recognized as an fundamental human right by the UN and others, like the access to drinkable water. Whether the NFL has Gatorade on the sidelines or not isn't even on the same planet, let alone in the same ballpark.

                  Do you want your local municipal water supplier reducing your water pressure just because you installed an off-brand toilet instead of a more famous Kohler brand? Or do you want constant water pressure delivered to you all the time?

                  Do you want your local power company lowering your available wattage just because you have a K-Mart television instead of a more popular LG television? Or do you want the power company to deliver you constant electricity regardless?

                  I want both of those things and I also want my internet service to be highest speed, regardless if I am listening to SoundCloud or listening to my local radio station's internet stream.

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                  • icon
                    Chris Rhodes (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:36pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Because internet service is becoming recognized as an fundamental human right by the UN and others
                    Always amusing when people act like mentioning UN recognition of a thing is supposed to be a convincing argument to anyone, anywhere. (It's an appeal to an authority where the authority in question is not even remotely convincing as a source, even if someone were to miss the obvious fallacy involved).
                    Do you want
                    There's a lot of stuff I want, and a lot of stuff I don't want, and the answer to those questions are not correlated with what the law should be.

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                    • icon
                      Gwiz (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 4:44pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Always amusing when people act like mentioning UN recognition of a thing is supposed to be a convincing argument to anyone, anywhere.

                      Perhaps I'm a little off my game today....

                      I probabally should have stressed the "and others" part of that sentence a bit more. "Others" in this instance means, well, pretty much, everyone:

                      Internet Society's Global Internet User Survey

                      In July and August 2012 the Internet Society conducted online interviews of more than 10,000 Internet users in 20 countries. In response to the statement "Access to the Internet should be considered a basic human right":

                      83% responded that they somewhat or strongly agreed,
                      14% that they somewhat or strongly disagreed, and
                      3% didn't know.




                      Do you want

                      Once again, I should have worded this differently. More along the lines of "Do we as a society want...". I was using shorthand, sorry.

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                      • icon
                        JohnG (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 5:34am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Goods cannot be rights and internet access (along with healthcare and other items mentioned on the UDHR and elsewhere) is a good.

                        You may have been using shorthand but that doesn't fundamentally change your statement in any meaningful way.

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                        • icon
                          Gwiz (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 8:37am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          Goods cannot be rights and internet access (along with healthcare and other items mentioned on the UDHR and elsewhere) is a good.


                          Not sure why you would make that distinction, really.

                          Water is a good and the right to clean drinking water is also considered a fundamental human right recognized legally by international law.

                          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_water

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                          • icon
                            JohnG (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 10:00am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            I pointed that out because your appeal to authority still fails. It doesn't matter what the UN says or what the law says. To claim that a good is actually a right is to endorse (implicitly) the serving of one group by another (aka slavery).

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                            • icon
                              Gwiz (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 10:53am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              I pointed that out because your appeal to authority still fails.

                              It's not an appeal to authority. Perhaps you missed my second comment up there, it's a consensus of society. 83% of the world's population believes that internet access should be considered a basic human right.


                              To claim that a good is actually a right is to endorse (implicitly) the serving of one group by another (aka slavery).

                              You are conflating different things here. Sure water and internet service are goods that are sold and purchased. That doesn't mean that access to such things cannot be considered a basic human right.

                              And I'm not really sure what you are trying to say with the "slavery" part there. Personally, I am glad that access to drinkable water is considered a basic human right and that we, as a society here in the US, have pretty much kept the control of potable water in the hands of local and regional governments, as opposed to corporations and individuals.

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                              • icon
                                JohnG (profile), 29 Nov 2014 @ 9:35am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                83% of the world's population believes that internet access should be considered a basic human right.

                                The desires of the minority should outweigh the rights of the minority, is that your argument? For example if 83% of the world's population believed that it was OK to take from someone else what they don't have, that would be OK because it was a "societal consensus"?

                                That doesn't mean that access to such things cannot be considered a basic human right.

                                And how does one get access? If I build a house in a rural area I have the right to legally force an ISP to run a cable to my home irregardless as to the cost because I have a right to internet access?

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                                • icon
                                  Gwiz (profile), 29 Nov 2014 @ 12:48pm

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                  The desires of the minority should outweigh the rights of the minority, is that your argument? For example if 83% of the world's population believed that it was OK to take from someone else what they don't have, that would be OK because it was a "societal consensus"?

                                  Yes. I believe laws should reflect the values and morals of those being governed. What do you believe laws should be based on? Divine intervention? Space aliens? Your own personal morals? A roll of the dice?

                                  And how does one get access? If I build a house in a rural area I have the right to legally force an ISP to run a cable to my home irregardless as to the cost because I have a right to internet access?

                                  I don't know the answer to that question and neither does society at the moment, since we haven't actually codified the right to internet access into laws - yet.

                                  There are some solutions to those issues currently available though - things like Open WiFi and other free access options.

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                                  • icon
                                    JohnG (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 6:16am

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    I believe laws should reflect the values and morals of those being governed

                                    And what happens when a moral right collides with a legal right? What happens when the right to one's property (aka it's immoral/illegal to steal) conflicts with what "society" wants (the legal right to steal from some people and give to others)? I'll answer for you -- you cease to have a society based on morals and instead have a society based on wants.


                                    I don't know the answer to that question

                                    Sounds more like you don't want to take your desire to its logical conclusion.

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                                      Gwiz (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 6:51am

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                      And what happens when a moral right collides with a legal right?

                                      Then we, as a society, change the law. For example - it was once legal to own other people as slaves, now it's not legal because we, as a society, decided that that moral argument was greater than the property rights of the plantation owners.


                                      What happens when the right to one's property (aka it's immoral/illegal to steal) conflicts with what "society" wants (the legal right to steal from some people and give to others)? I'll answer for you -- you cease to have a society based on morals and instead have a society based on wants.

                                      You seem to be putting the cart before the horse here. You wouldn't have property rights in the first place if society hadn't decided that property rights enforced with laws was a better solution than everyone just taking what they want by force.


                                      Sounds more like you don't want to take your desire to its logical conclusion.

                                      No, I have thought this through. I just fail to see where your argument that internet access cannot be considered a fundamental human right because it is good that is traded has any merit whatsoever.

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                                        JohnG (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 8:03am

                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                        Then we, as a society, change the law.

                                        But what if the majority of the society benefits from this legalized theft and does not want it to end? How can the minority which is being trampled upon convince the majority to act against their collective self interest?

                                        You wouldn't have property rights in the first place if society hadn't decided that property rights enforced with laws was a better solution than everyone just taking what they want by force.

                                        Sure I would; rights don't come from laws. Laws are (were?) supposed to be a codification of the negative rights we already possess (e.g. Bill of Rights).

                                        I just fail to see where your argument that internet access cannot be considered a fundamental human right because it is good that is traded has any merit whatsoever.

                                        Because you haven't defined what "access" means. Because a good cannot be a right in the moral sense since it would require the forced action of another and coercion violates one's rights.

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                                          Gwiz (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 9:18am

                                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                          But what if the majority of the society benefits from this legalized theft and does not want it to end? How can the minority which is being trampled upon convince the majority to act against their collective self interest?

                                          Then the minority loses. Not sure where the problem with that lies. I'm pretty sure Henry Ford and his buddies (the minority) didn't want safe labor laws when they were enacted either, since they would "steal" resources from Ford Motor Co's bottom line.


                                          Sure I would; rights don't come from laws. Laws are (were?) supposed to be a codification of the negative rights we already possess (e.g. Bill of Rights).

                                          Legal rights come from laws. Your "natural" right to own property only exists up to the point where you can successfully defend against someone else taking it. Beyond that, all other property rights are legal rights which most definitely come from statutes and case law and are enforced with the might of a government.


                                          Because you haven't defined what "access" means.

                                          Yes. I agree that "access" to the internet would need to be defined in more concrete terms. Personally, I think it would along the lines of "access to drinkable water". That doesn't mean that water is free to everyone. It just means that access to water isn't inhibited or denied to anyone and that we, as a society, provide the ways and means to get water for those who cannot afford it.


                                          Because a good cannot be a right in the moral sense since it would require the forced action of another and coercion violates one's rights.

                                          Whether it's a good or not has no bearing on that. We require forced action of others that violate their rights all the time. As another example: we force restaurant owners not to discriminate against anyone based on their religion, creed or color. That violates the restaurant owners right to refuse service to whomever they wish, but society has determined that the benefits to society outweigh the restaurant owner's rights.

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                                            JohnG (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 10:50am

                                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                            Then the minority loses.

                                            Just so we're clear, you think stealing (or rape or fraud or any other action) is just fine and dandy so long as 50% + 1 of the population believes it's an OK thing to do. And your answer to the people who are being stolen from or raped or defrauded is "too bad, you lost". How do you not see the problem with this?

                                            We require forced action of others that violate their rights all the time.

                                            You understand an appeal to tradition represents a terrible defense, right?

                                            but society has determined that the benefits to society outweigh the restaurant owner's rights.

                                            Right.. we've determined peoples' feelings should outweigh the rights of others. We are no longer a society based on morals but a society of wants. Thank you for helping make my point.

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                                              Gwiz (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 11:37am

                                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                              Just so we're clear, you think stealing (or rape or fraud or any other action) is just fine and dandy so long as 50% + 1 of the population believes it's an OK thing to do. And your answer to the people who are being stolen from or raped or defrauded is "too bad, you lost". How do you not see the problem with this?

                                              As I said above - laws should reflect the values and morals of those being governed. If you don't agree with that please explain your view of how laws should be constructed. Should it be your personal morals? The whims of a monarch? Dictates handed down from the Spaghetti Monster? Or something else?


                                              You understand an appeal to tradition represents a terrible defense, right?

                                              It's not an appeal to tradition - it's how our society functions. Some individual rights get violated for the benefit of society as a whole. Please tell me how any society could function effectively if every single individual right was held in higher regard than the benefit of society as a whole.

                                              PS: Just stop with the silly "Your logical fallacy is..." crap. Twice now you have been wrong and also failed to respond to that specific point. It seems like you use that as shield to avoid points you don't wish to discuss.


                                              Right.. we've determined peoples' feelings should outweigh the rights of others. We are no longer a society based on morals but a society of wants. Thank you for helping make my point.

                                              Once again, what do you think laws should be based on, if not a consensus of those being governed? You still haven't answered that question.

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                                                JohnG (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 12:37pm

                                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                As I said above - laws should reflect the values and morals of those being governed.

                                                Then my summation of your position is accurate. Thank you for clarifying.

                                                If you don't agree with that please explain your view of how laws should be constructed.

                                                Constructed based on a set of moral principles. And the only principle I'm aware of that is moral is the non-aggression principle.

                                                Please tell me how any society could function effectively if every single individual right was held in higher regard than the benefit of society as a whole.

                                                That you believe a society couldn't function without some people stealing, raping or defrauding other people is very telling.

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                                                  Gwiz (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 2:14pm

                                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                  Then my summation of your position is accurate. Thank you for clarifying.

                                                  Actually, your summation was a weak attempt at taking the argument to it's extremes, which is why I only commented on the overall concept instead.

                                                  All of those things that you listed are actions that we, as a consensus of society, have already found to to be immoral and we have made laws against them. You find me 10,000 random people where 51% believe those things are not immoral and we will have this part of the discussion again.


                                                  Constructed based on a set of moral principles. And the only principle I'm aware of that is moral is the non-aggression principle.

                                                  Constructed based on whose moral principles? Yours? Mine? Morals are subjective and mine are different than yours. So whose do you plan on basing the law on?


                                                  That you believe a society couldn't function without some people stealing, raping or defrauding other people is very telling.

                                                  Now you are putting words into my mouth. I never said that at all. I said society couldn't function effectively if individual rights are placed above the good of society as a whole.

                                                  Yet another example: You have the Right to Free Speech in the US, but that right is not all encompassing. You do not have the right to defame another person. You also do not have the right to use your speech to cause imminent danger to another. As a society, we have even limited the Right to Free Speech for the benefit of society as a whole.

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                                                  • icon
                                                    JohnG (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 5:31pm

                                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                    have already found to to be immoral and we have made laws against them.

                                                    I'll admit my use of the word "rape" was hyperbole, but certainly taxation and asset forfeiture are easy and clear examples of theft, and, as we've found out from Dr. Jonathan Gruber (which many had warned prior), ObamaCare was fraudulently sold to the American people. If we have laws against theft and fraud how are the prisons not full of politicians?

                                                    Morals are subjective and mine are different than yours.
                                                    The debate over morals will not be ended here, however even if you use the rules we currently have as a basis for morality we suffer from serious cognitive dissonance -- theft is wrong at the individual level, for example, but not at the governmental level.

                                                    if individual rights are placed above the good of society as a whole
                                                    But society is nothing but a collection of individuals; it isn't a thing that can benefit. Which means we're back to the beginning in that what you're really arguing is that it's OK to violate the rights of a smaller quantity of people so long as a larger quantity of people benefit from said violation.

                                                    You do not have the right to defame another person

                                                    Many laws exist which haven't been Constitutionally challenged. I believe defamation laws are one of them. Your reputation is what others think of you. Since you don't have a right to the thoughts of others or to force others to think a certain way about you, you don't have the right to tell someone how to speak of you. Therefore defamation laws clearly violate the right to free speech.

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                  • identicon
                    IronM@sk, 25 Nov 2014 @ 3:19pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    1) Where I'm from, our council allows us to use so much water per year, after which we are charged by the megalitre.

                    2) Presumably you pay for your electricity? Generally, the more you use the more you pay.

                    3) T-mobile is neither trying to lower your water pressure, nor lower your power wattage, merely saying you don't have to pay for using excess amounts of water and power from a particular source.

                    Not agreeing or disagreeing, just pointing out that it's not quite the same argument.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 4:29pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    I don't watch football, but apparently the NFL (which is not a utility) has decided to charge an obscenely large fee to spectators, but that's all right because only people who drink something other than Gatorade have to pay.

                    And therefore the same principle applies to the local electric company: they should charge an obscenely large fee for electricity--but only for people who use appliances that aren't on their "approved" list. Which is all right, because if enough people ask nicely enough, they'll think about adding new appliances to the list.

                    So it really doesn't matter whether an ISP is a utility or not--obscene fees are a perfectly acceptable business model if they're only charged to people who deal with other businesses that the price-gauging business doesn't approve of.

                    See?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:04pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Because the NFL isn't in the business of selling Gatorade, it's in the business of selling football.

              A better analogy would be having, say, the New England Patriots pay the NFL, so that on free broadcasts, the announcers always have to make only good comments about the Pats, and only bad comments about their opponents. However, if you want to hear good things about your smaller team who is facing the Pats, you can pay extra to watch a broadcast with the more favourable announcers.

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              • icon
                tqk (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:49pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Sports fans say the strangest things. I can't remember seeing a broadcast sporting even in any sport or league where the announcers weren't openly partisan supporters of the local team or the favored to win team. Objectivity? What's that? I used to think this was just specific leagues or sports, but it's not. All of them do it.

                At least cheerleaders are pretty and dance around a lot and smile and their uniform colors match their team's.

                Why are play by play announcers doing it? Are they bribed? It sure seems so.

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            • identicon
              Stuart, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:46pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Here is the wrongness. They treat the data the same. They are not injecting, dropping, resetting or slowing data in any way. The data is unmolested. They are simply choosing to not count it toward your limits. This is nothing but a billing decision.
              Does it help those on the list over those that are not? Yes.
              Though they are a private company and they are still letting all data flow unmolested over their network. No net neutrality issue here.

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            • icon
              John Fenderson (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 11:23am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "How is that any different than the NFL striking a deal"

              You may want to avoid using the NFL for this analogy, since the NFL has a special exemption to antitrust laws. So, amongst the many differences, the main one is "the NFL doesn't have to adhere to the same rules as everyone else".

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              • icon
                JohnG (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 11:59am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                The NFL is a business striking a deal with another business for special treatment. That the NFL receives other special treatment is not relevant to the NFL deciding what beverage to carry.

                But for sake of argument, let's consider Walmart. If Walmart decided to give premium placement in their stores to a particular cereal or even offer this cereal for free, would/should that be legal? If not, why not? If so, how is that agreement fundamentally different from T-Mobile's?

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          • icon
            Chris Rhodes (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:15pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Someone has some reading to do: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analogy

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    • identicon
      Adam V, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:45pm

      Re:

      One is between an employer and its employees, the other is between a service provider and its subscribers.

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      • icon
        JohnG (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:57pm

        Re: Re:

        Between the NFL and Gatorade, which one is the employer and which one is the employee?

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        • identicon
          Adam V, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:02pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The NFL is the employer, the players are the employees, and Gatorade is the exempted service ("you can drink any drink you want, as long as it's Gatorade"). Players can and do go against the NFL's wishes (see the recent Beats / Bose $10k fine), but that's because that's the agreement the NFL has with its players.

          The NFL has no such agreement with its fans, and so they don't tell the fans "if you drink Pepsi, we're going to sit you in an area with obstructed views / a 10-second delay".

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          • icon
            JohnG (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 5:28am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            So the NFL's agreement with Gatorade has materially harmed another beverage maker's ability to offer their beverage to NFL players. Why should that be legal but T-Mobile's agreement should not?

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      • identicon
        Adam V, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:59pm

        Re: Re:

        To clarify my point - I think Gatorade and the NFL can sign a deal because the NFL isn't pushing its decision on its *fans*, just its players, and Gatorade is merely hoping that by seeing the players drinking their drink (and their logo everywhere), we'll drink it as well. Pepsi can still sell its drinks and fans aren't discouraged from drinking them just because the players don't.

        On the other hand, if Spotify pays T-Mobile for the right to get exempted, but Joe's Radio Station (I don't know of a major streaming service not already whitelisted) doesn't, then T-Mobile subscribers get financially penalized (overage costs) or get a worse experience (slowdowns after reaching the cap) if they choose a non-exempted service.

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        • icon
          David Muir (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:08pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "(I don't know of a major streaming service not already whitelisted)"

          Irrelevant. Net neutrality comes into play when music streaming is treated preferentially over other kinds of data. That point is missing in most of the discussion I have seen. The argument against "Music Freedom" is not related to one existing music streaming service getting a leg up on another existing music streaming service, but new and innovative services that deliver data in as-yet unknown ways being discriminated against.

          I'd also like to remind people how this "Music Freedom" thing kind of proves that data caps are bogus.

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          • icon
            Chris Rhodes (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:22pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            but new and innovative services that deliver data in as-yet unknown ways being discriminated against.
            And, of course, people shouldn't be allowed to discriminate against businesses. That's business-ism!
            I'd also like to remind people how this "Music Freedom" thing kind of proves that data caps are bogus.
            Not true, without some other piece of data that you haven't yet specified (for example, evidence that streaming is a majority of bandwidth use for the average person).

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            • icon
              David Muir (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:33pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              That's business-ism!

              LOL. True.

              Net neutrality is a form of anti-discrimination policy. But the theory is that the transport of data should be separate from the production and consumption of data.

              The average person's bandwidth use will presumably shift on T-Mobile, given the lifting of this restriction. They have just "opened the floodgate" for music streaming. Granted, if it is a tiny percentage and it doubles or triples, there may be no issue. But the overriding point is that I assume people who stream music will now do so to the point where they exceed what was once a capped amount -- otherwise what's the appeal of this offering?

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              • icon
                Chris Rhodes (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:42pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                T-Mobile doesn't have a hard cap, though. They have a data amount above which they may, at their discretion, slow down your connection.

                If their "cap" is intended to be enforced against people who are trying to cheap out and use their phone as a mobile hotspot to support a full time business, then the average user using a larger amount of streaming data may not be what T-Mobile is targeting anyway.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:55pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          (I don't know of a major streaming service not already whitelisted)

          The problem is giving advantage to the major streaming sites, and leaving the smaller sites, podcast sites etc. impacted by caps disadvantages those sites. This, if it expands to all mobile services is setting up the conditions for establishing a gatekeeper role for the big streaming sites. For instance, this sets up the condition whereby the RIAA/MPAA could gain control over the major sites and know that the sites left in without such deals cannot compete.

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          • icon
            JohnG (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 3:56pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            but that's fundamentally different than "net neutrality". NN refers to how the bytes are treated and T-Mobile is not treating podcast bytes different than spotify bytes -- it's not slowing them down or restricting their flow or any of that. It's simply saying some bytes won't count towards your cap and others will. And again, this is T-Mobile's network to operate as it sees fit. If you don't like it, switch carriers!

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 4:31pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              But the bytes are being treated differently, some you pay for, and suffer a slowdown if and when you go over cap, and other you can download all month without having to worry about exceeding your cap. It is splitting data into two classes by the way that it is charged to caps, and treated when someone goes over cap on data charged to their cap.

              As to switching carriers, if this idea becomes common, either all carriers have very similar, if not the same sites in their no limit classes, or they differentiate themselves by putting different sites in the no limit classes. In the first case switching carriers does not make any different, in the second case what does someone do if they have heavy use of sites that are in the no caps classes of two different carriers, and they charge heavily for over caps, get devices from both. The first case is the carriers deciding which sites will prosper on the Internet, and the second is fragmenting the Internet in T-mobile Internet and Verizon Internet etc.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 2:37am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So you're saying T-Mobile aren't treating the bits different - except on the bill?

              In other words, they *are* treating them differently...

              "If you don't like it, switch carriers!"

              ...and if there's nobody else who covers your area, you're tied into a contract that won't let you switch (but was signed before this practice occurred), what then? What about the competitors who are also penalised by having T-Mobile customers blocked from using their services as much as others? It's OK, guys, we didn't need Spotify to have been able to grow a few years ago, people could already access Shoutcast and T-Mobile can screw over any competitors they want - that's your argument?

              "T-Mobile's network to operate as it sees fit"

              Within certain rules. No matter what the RIAA tries to tell you "I own a business and/or copyright" does not give you carte blanche to do whatever you want without oversight or consequences.

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              • icon
                JohnG (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 5:24am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Is there really anywhere in the country where T-Mobile is the only cellular provider?

                "by having T-Mobile customers blocked from using their services as much as others?"

                Nobody is being blocked.

                "T-Mobile can screw over any competitors they want - that's your argument"

                My argument is it's T-Mobile's network and if they want to make an agreement with Spotify or whomever or want to not count data bytes from certain content providers against a user's data cap it's T-Mobile's right to make such an agreement.

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                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 5:56am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "Is there really anywhere in the country where T-Mobile is the only cellular provider?"

                  I don't know, but it's certainly possible. unless I'm mistaken, there's no US provider that promises 100% guaranteed coverage on all network types across all states?

                  There's also the point as to what happens in the future. As we've seen in other industries, just because they have competition right now, that doesn't mean they always will. T-Mobile could collude with those competitors, buy them out or put them out of business. Where do customers turn now?

                  The problem with this issue is that it's harder to stop once companies start to do these things, and the effects are highly negative on anyone not paying the chosen ransom - even if there was another choice at the time the ransom came into play.

                  "Nobody is being blocked."

                  Read the rest of the sentence - "as much as others". If there's a restriction on some things but not others, then that's what's happening, no? Perhaps blocked is the wrong choice of word, but the meaning of what I wrote applies.

                  "My argument is it's T-Mobile's network and if they want to make an agreement with Spotify or whomever or want to not count data bytes from certain content providers against a user's data cap it's T-Mobile's right to make such an agreement."

                  ...unless it falls foul of other rules, regulations and restrictions that would make such a thing unacceptable, including those relating to anticompetitive behaviour or collusion. These actions are guaranteed to have negative impacts, both intentional and unintentional. Why is that part so hard to understand?

                  It might also technically be their right to run their network on whatever frequency they choose, but you can be damn sure they'll not be allowed to do so for long on any frequency that's not assigned to them. They have to abide by the rules, and those rules are in place to protect both businesses and consumers. Same here - even if the rules have not been written in stone as yet.

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                  • icon
                    JohnG (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 6:31am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Why is that part so hard to understand?

                    I understand the argument, I just don't agree with it.

                    including those relating to anticompetitive behaviour or collusion

                    Where is the anti-competitive deal here? Businesses make deals with each other for special treatment all the time and no one freaks out. Why are people freaking out in this instance?

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                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 7:08am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "Businesses make deals with each other for special treatment all the time and no one freaks out."

                      Unless they violate antitrust or other rules - very pertinent in the US at the moment where many people lack choice and where some major providers are merging to give less choice. Many companies have been shot down in court, and even forcibly broken up - for these kinds of practices.

                      Also, "but everybody does it!" is not a valid rebuttal. there are many examples where companies working together is a good thing, there are many where it's negative.

                      "Why are people freaking out in this instance?"

                      If this is allowed as standard practice, it's a routing round of some fundamental aspects of the way the internet works, with wide-reaching negative consequences for consumers and non-legacy companies alike. That they're deciding to implement it through billing measures rather than direct blocking or throttling of content, does not mean that it's not a negative thing.

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        • icon
          JohnG (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 5:26am

          Re: Re: Re:

          But that agreement hurts other beverage makers, especially smaller ones, by preventing them from offering their beverages to the NFL players.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 5:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            By preventing them from getting advertising from a third party in violation of existing contracts said third party has with their employer.

            How is that equivalent to restriction to an end customer's choice and access? Forget apples and oranges, you're trying to compare apples and iPods.

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            • icon
              JohnG (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 6:16am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              T-Mobile isn't restricting access or choice. Please try again.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 7:02am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "T-Mobile isn't restricting access or choice."

                Yes, they are. But, since you seem to be blindly dismissing financial restrictions as a factor, you probably are missing a major part of the argument.

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                • icon
                  JohnG (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 12:11pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Those same financial restrictions applied before the announcement as well. If I'm using a service which isn't whitelisted I can still continue to use said service with no change in operation. This decision by T-Mobile changes nothing for me since T-Mobile isn't changing how they treat the traffic, only how they bill for it.

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    • identicon
      Anonymously Brave, 29 Nov 2014 @ 7:55am

      Re:

      Correct, the NFL should not be allowed to make such an agreement if the result is that I am charged extra by the NFL for drinking a competitor's drink while watching an NFL game at home on my smartphone or tablet.

      And here's the big part you're missing: this will drive users to purchase and drink Gatorade instead of its competitors -- not based on the taste or quality of the drink -- but to avoid the NFL's unfair tolls. It is bad for the smaller companies whose business is hurt by the deal.

      And again, this is not a closed venue with limited physical resources, such as a sports arena, where they can choose to offer only certain refreshments. This is a service offered in the open world that ostensibly provides access to the entire internet.

      Your analogy only works if the NFL started allowing you to bring your own drinks of any brand into the stadium, as long as you paid a fee equal to more than the amount they charge for the same amount of Gaterade within the venue (keeping in mind you've already paid for the drink elsewhere).

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      • icon
        JohnG (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 6:34am

        Re: Re:

        Stop thinking about this in terms of the people watching the game and consider it in terms of the people playing the game.

        Only Gatorade is allowed on NFL sidelines. If a player wants to bring his own beverage he can but expect him to be charged a penalty. So how is that agreement legal (NFL gives Gatorade a beverage monopoly) but the T-Mobile agreement to not count data from certain music providers against the cap should not be legal?

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 7:00am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You still haven't mastered the art of analogies, have you? You at least admit that the NFL players in this scenario are employees agreeing to contract terms, so you're improving a little.

          Now, perhaps you'll explain why you think that an employment contract is any way similar to a service contract.

          "NFL gives Gatorade a beverage monopoly"

          You might as well argue that Fox running a commercial for Gatorade is giving them a monopoly because nobody else can run a commercial for a competing brand at the same time. It's a horrible analogy with little to do with the situation being discussed.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:19pm

    they understand. they are doing this as a foot in the door. once people get used to the idea then it soon becomes the norm. after it becomes the norm they push the line further and further back.

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  • identicon
    Kit Triforce, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:31pm

    You could look at this another way

    This could just be the beginning of a company eliminating data caps all together. First music, then all non-video data, then no caps at all, everything truly unlimited. Wishful thinking, I know, but this could just be a usage experiment to see how this would effect their infrastructure.

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  • identicon
    Nope, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:34pm

    "Whereas T-Mobile should be delivering all bits equally"

    That's not what I'm paying them for.

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  • icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:35pm

    "arguing that because nobody was paying T-Mobile to bypass the caps -- it couldn't possibly be a neutrality violation."

    I may have pointed this out before, but no one's paying to bypass the caps because no one knows about it.

    1. T-Mobile has it's "Unlimited" plan that I think costs $35. What they don't tell you is that it's limited to 7G.

    2. Their "Truly Unlimited" plan is $80+ and not advertised anywhere. I had to spend 10 minutes explaining to them what I wanted before they offered it to me. It is truly unlimited, even on 4g, but you have to know to ask for it.

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  • icon
    Malor (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 8:13pm

    What they're doing isn't so bad: plus, you're coming from the wrong angle anyway.

    I think you're missing the boat a little bit on this one, Techdirt.

    Having done networking for a long time, one of the fundamental truths of being an ISP is that, for the most part, you're paying for bandwidth. T-Mobile is in that same position; their customers pay them for traffic, and then they buy the capacity to deliver that traffic from other people. (taking, of course, a hefty markup, since they're buying enormous circuits and get a heck of a volume deal.)

    One thing that T-Mobile can do, though, is avoid paying for traffic by peering directly with destination networks. That is, rather than buying transit via Cogent to get bits from Netflix, they can run a wire directly to Netflix, and then carry those bits over their own infrastructure without having to pay anyone else.

    What has net neutrality supporters really upset is when an ISP uses its monopoly control over its customers to extract rent from providers; they're demanding to be paid on both sides for delivering data to customers, when the fundamental idea of the Internet is that you're only supposed to get paid for bandwidth once, and that people are free to buy bandwidth from any provider. In essence, ISPs like AT&T are using their monopoly status to muscle out the competition, taking money away from Cogent, Level 3, and other transit providers, and demanding that it go into their pockets instead. This is profoundly abusive, and it's something to be furious about.

    But just running a link to another network, and avoiding paying for transit? That's just smart engineering. My take is that T-Mobile is saving money by directly peering with different services, and then passing those savings along to the customers. As long as they don't charge the provider anything, it's cool. In fact, it can save money for both sides; Netflix doesn't have to buy bandwidth for T-Mobile customers, and T-Mobile doesn't have to buy bandwidth for Netflix. They have a (significant!) upfront capital cost to buy the routers and run the fiber, and then it's done, and costs almost nothing to run. And all the money being spent goes to other companies entirely, like Cisco and Juniper and so on. There's no conflict of interest, it's just eliminating the middleman, and passing the savings along.

    Now, over the long haul, this could become a problem; T-Mobile might decide it wants to charge Netflix for access to T-Mobile's customers. That, in a word, is garbage. As long as that doesn't happen, as long as the peering agreements don't cost either side anything, other than the capital cost to build the link, then it's not such a big deal.

    And what about small players, without their own network numbers and BGP presence? Most of them are going to be so small that T-Mobile can probably just absorb the streaming cost without hurting too much. If they get big enough to be visible on the usage charts, then they can set up some kind of peering arrangement. If nothing else, they could set up a small remote presence in a colo where T-Mobile has equipment. This isn't hugely expensive, and any service pushing enough traffic to be noticeable on a giant network like that should easily have the money to set something up.

    Further: you're looking at this from the wrong angle, anyway. You're being a little horrified that T-Mobile is charging more for some bits than others. What you should actually be horrified about is the idea of charging per-bit at all. Data caps should not be allowed: ISPs should be required to sell bandwidth as commit speed, and burstable-to speed. This reflects the actual architecture of networking. Transferring bits from place to place is just barely this side of free, until you don't have enough space in your pipes, at which point you have to spend a bunch of money to run a bigger one... and then the run cost goes back to just about zero. Charging per bit is an absolute racket.

    Going with a commit and a burstable-to communicates truthful figures. Commit represents what everyone will get if they're all trying to use their connections at the same time, and will be quite low, but guaranteed to always be delivered, barring major hardware or software failure.

    Burstable-to is what everyone sells now, the headline number, and it's fundamentally a lie. Very few ISPs can actually deliver the bandwidth they're claiming to sell. This is what you should be furious about. Net neutrality is really only an issue because ISPs are under-provisioned. If they weren't allowed to lie anymore, if they were forced to sell only what they could really deliver, then there would be no need for prioritization, because there would be enough bandwidth.

    The whole idea behind caps is to try to monetize a free resource. Bits are so cheap you can think of them as costing nothing; it's not quite true, but it almost is. What actually costs money is peak demand, and that's where the commit and burstable-to figures come in. They represent your slice of the big pipes at the ISP. After you've paid for your slice, it's nobody's business what you do with it. Use it 24x7, or don't use it at all: those pipes cost the same amount either way. There's no marginal cost on usage.... the cost comes from laying in more capacity, and from paying the people to keep it all running. Those costs don't change based on usage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Malor (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 8:23pm

    Oh, and from another angle: I believe the 'free music streaming' is, at its most fundamental, T-Mobile saying, "We have enough bandwidth now to support a live audio stream to a lot of devices at once." What they're probably (rightly) scared of is people using their service for video, which can be something like 25 times as data-intensive as a basic MP3 stream. So they're kind of trying to split the difference, using the data caps to try to keep people from using services they can't truly support yet (like Netflix), while simultaneously letting them use ones they CAN handle, like Spotify.

    In another ten years, it's quite likely that their network will have grown enough that they won't care very much about Netflix anymore: maybe they'll just do away with caps completely, sometime between now and then.

    Again, commit and burstable numbers fix this problem, but if you're being honest in wireless, saying something like '64K commit, 2Mbit burstable' looks very unappealing next to your competitor who's lying his socks off and screaming about FIFTY MEGABITS TO YOUR PHONE, and then adding, in mousetype at the bottom, "until you hit your data cap, fifteen minutes later."

    tl;dr: they don't want to admit that they're lying about bandwidth, like everyone else in the industry, so they're trying to be creative about telling you that using a little bit of data, all the time, is okay, just dear Lord, don't stream Netflix.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Malor (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 8:34pm

    Heh, yet another thought: as far as T-Mobile is concerned, the nightmare scenario is the family-of-five on the road, with one driver, and four people pulling separate Netflix streams simultaneously.

    That image would keep their network teams up at night. Wired providers shouldn't care in the slightest, but in the wireless business, that is (at present) a very scary idea.

    Four music streams? Not so scary.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 8:11am

      Re:

      Thanks, that was interesting.

      It makes me wonder, have we really thought about what we're doing here? It's technically and financially feasible for pretty much everyone to have a tiny television set in their pocket to which they can stream video unconnected at any time. Is it really a good idea? Those four people all streaming video into one car sounds extraordinarily selfish and extravagant when you think about it. Why can't the kids be satisfied to all watch one thing? Well, teenagers don't want to watch Care Bears, ...

      How about if we re-think this "Internet of Things" idea? Do we all (everything) have to be net connected 24*7*365, really? Can't the kids play a couple of DVDs instead of streaming Netflix? Or do some coloring, or take a nap? How far is it to granma's place anyway?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 8:17am

    Precedent

    I think the bigger issue is that this sets a precendent for non-neutrality. Today it's the bigger music services, but then it'll be the bigger video services.

    This topic was actually mentioned in another article and went into more detail about how this becomes anti-competitive. Sure, Apple and Google can afford to pay, but what if T-Mobile decides to extort, I mean ask, other companies for money simply because Apple and Google are paying? Those companies want to compete with Apple and Google, right? Then pay up or their users will suffer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    shane (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 11:42am

    Good old days

    Within my lifetime, I seem to remember no data caps.

    No cap, no worries. How is it easier for them to provide unlimited streaming from specific sources? Why not just unlimited streaming?

    Because they long for the days of cable again. One way communication means all your information from the same people. Monopolies.

    They love them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Zonker, 26 Nov 2014 @ 4:05pm

    “And today we’re taking another huge step toward our ultimate goal of including every streaming music service in the program. Anyone can play. No one pays. And everyone wins."
    OK T-Mobile, the longest list I can readily find of streaming music sites (US only) has 37 sites listed compared to your 27. Even the author of that list states that "Of course, there’s no way I could ever list them all – there are simply too many". These should all be on your exempt from your usage caps too.

    Then there are the more than 25,000 streaming radio shows and podcasts listed on the Stitcher list alone. These all need to be exempt from your usage caps as well.

    Of course, any website could potentially host a music streaming service, so if you were really going to cover all bases you should exempt all of the 672,985,183 web sites as of 2013 according to internet live stats.

    Or you could simply drop your usage caps entirely.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ducter, 27 Nov 2014 @ 5:58am

    The same thought process could be applied to free nights and weekends. The industry has been offering free nights and weekends for as long as I care to remember...by the argument stated they are essentially admitting the minutes given in a plan are not adequate and offset by free nights and weekends...or, and what's happened is we, as consumers just accept something is better then nothing and move along. I am tired of this be fair to everyone mentality that has overtook the world. Had t-mobile made the offer to only include these smaller services people wouldn't be complaining about net neutrality, rather why not include the services most people use.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2014 @ 11:37am

    This is actually a great idea, people would love it. In fact why don't they make streaming video sites not count towards the cap, and non-streaming video...you know what why don't we just make everything not count towards the cap. Yeah I like that idea.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 28 Nov 2014 @ 4:44pm

    When the Merchant is King, the peasants are pawns.

    "T-Mobile Still Doesn't Understand (Or Simply Doesn't Care) That Their 'Music Freedom' Plan Tramples Net Neutrality"

    Wrong on both guesses. T-Mobile neither misunderstands nor is unconcerned that their Music Freedom Plan tramples Net Neutrality.

    They paid damn good money specifically so that it would trample Net Neutrality and Trampling Net Neutrality will be their primary goal in every other new "plan" they devise, until the web has been conquered by The Billionaires running America, and turned into another commercial outlet to sell even more shit as shinola.

    They will not stop until the net, as it stands today, is destroyed, because it interferes greatly with their ability to exploit the masses, disseminate disinformation and manufacture deceptive versions of reality for public consumption to cover-up their crimes.

    And they have a lot of "friends" aiding them in this endeavour, who all want the same outcome for the same reasons. Their biggest "buddy", is the US Federal Government, regardless of what the current corporate Figurehead, masquerading as POTUS, says publically.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dakota Fred, 21 Dec 2014 @ 5:35pm

    FREE music streaming is killing the music industry.

    FREE music streaming is killing the music industry.

    How are content creators (your favorite artists) going to continue creating content if nobody is paying for it? Do they not also have bills to pay? Equipment to buy? Session musicians to pay? Studio services such as mixing and mastering to pay? What about the 70 hour weeks of work that go into writing, producing, mixing, mastering a song.. should they not also be compensated for their work, just like any other industry/job? How about cost living.. Rent? Food? Medical?

    It is a VERY long list of expenses that must be paid before a song is finished and released to the public. No money to the content creator = no future content. What we will be left with is a 1% sponsored major label "poster child" and 99% part time hobbyists. Gone will be the professional musician/artist. Along with them will go studios, musical equipment stores, manufacturing companies (both digital and hardware) etc... millions of jobs, peoples very livelihood are at stake here. The only people making money are the CEO's of these companies.. paying themselves tens of millions of $ every year off the backs of content creators. Wake up people!

    The idea that music is somehow "FREE" is absolutely ridiculous.

    If you want your favorite artists to continue making the music you love, then support them! Do not give your money to these thieves - budget "Wally" stores selling the plans, phone companies offering "free music", streaming sites etc. Go to the artists website and buy their music directly from them! Otherwise, within the next decade the music industry will literally be dead.

    For the sake of our generation and future generations to come... DO NOT SUPPORT THESE THIEVES!!! SUPPORT THE DIY ARTISTS!!!!! BUY DIRECTLY FROM THE ARTISTS!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 24 Dec 2014 @ 8:18am

      Re: FREE music streaming is killing the music industry.

      Yawn... nearly a month after the article, attempt to dictate rather than take part in the one-sided rant, completely ignores several types of customer - most of which you're insulting here, ignores decades of similar business models (no, most people have not paid directly for all of their music - radio, sharing, etc. have existed for longer than you have), ignores the fact that the indie artists you claim to support were equally screwed under previous systems, ignores the fact that many customers you're attacking go to going, pay for records, etc. even after using these services...

      How very typical. We've heard it all before, and it was likely debunked another 3 times before you finished typing your rant.

      Either you're a well-meaning fool or a tiresome shill. Either way, it's not working. Either take part in a conversation with the people you're trying to preach to, or give it up.

      I agree with your final statements. The first step is to stop attacking the people who provide the free advertising these artists need to be able to find the music in the first place (since you're clearly not talking about major labels, and they own the majority of traditional platforms).

      I'll be over here, PAYING for my music streaming, while not attacking those who won't/can't and yet still make you people some money even as you attack them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dakota Fred, 21 Dec 2014 @ 5:55pm

    I would also like to add, before it gets said.. and it always gets said... NO! Live performances are NOT the answer.

    The live music/DJ market is already highly over-saturated and mirrors whats happening with digital content.. only the top 1% are earning enough to support themselves. What we have are these 1% "poster child" fabricated artists earning $100,000-$500,000 per show (of which they actually only receive low 5 figures after expenses are covered BTW) and the other 99% in the pay to play/free up to $1000 per show category. And performance fees are annually dropping..

    What we are witnessing in real time is the decimation of the independent music industry. No money for content means no more professional content creators - everyone loses. Because content creators have no money now, equipment, services etc. are lowering their prices to reflect the change in climate simply to survive.. which means more and more kids and non-musician hobbyists are jumping into the industry.. which in turn means more live performers and along with it lower performance fees due to over-saturation. On and on....

    What we end up with is 1% fabricated poster child and 99% part time hobbyist mediocrity (at best) - everyone (but the silicon valley tech non-musician CEO and non-musician "face" poster child) loses.

    Folks, this is one seriously vicious cycle we have here.

    BOYCOTT ALL OF THESE COMPANIES THAT ARE DESTROYING THE MUSIC INDUSTRY!!!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 24 Dec 2014 @ 8:26am

      Re:

      I wonder, do you think your whiny bullshit is actually going to change anyone's minds? I mean, you attack people and try to pre-empt arguments with long-debunked or woefully one-sided rants, but you don't provide any resources where people can find the music you're claiming to be defending. Not one artist is going to benefit from this kind of attack.

      Try a different approach - participate in the conversation, and deal with peoples' actual words rather than the strawmen you build in your head. Pepper the conversation with constructive hints - if a person isn't going to use free streaming to find their music (I'll ignore for now that a large proportion of, say, Spotify users actually PAY for their accounts, then what tool do they use? Where do they find the artists? How do they sample the music to find out if they like it. Independent record shops, where this used to happen, don;t exist in many towns nowadays, so what's your alternative solution?

      Try that rather than attacking a pre-assumed illusion. You might get somewhere then.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 24 Dec 2014 @ 8:47am

      Re:

      "The live music/DJ market is already highly over-saturated"

      Oh, and I just need to point out the ridiculousness of this content. You mean there's too much competition for the market to bear? Much from your beloved artists, it must be said. In other words, your industry is very popular, it's just so crowded with competition that everyone gets a smaller slice of the pie than they did when they weren't competing with so many other artists. That's fine, since it's not a zero sum game, but if you're at the bottom for whatever reason, it's not Pandora's fault.

      Well, this happens in every industry. But, I don't hear plumbers whining that they should get paid whether or not they work a full week just because there's a lot of plumbers out there.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Dec 2014 @ 6:46pm

    Not that these cap exemptions do anything for people who have the unlimited data

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2015 @ 11:48am

    T-Mobile SUCKS DONKEY DICK

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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