Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"Walking Dead" Producer Fears FCC's Set-top Box Proposal

Today, “Walking Dead” producer Gale Ann Hurd published an op-ed in USA Today expressing concern over the FCC’s recent proposal to regulate set-top boxes. Ms. Hurd explains that the FCC’s proposal would require set-top boxes to show and prioritize illegal content alongside legal content. She says the proposal “will make piracy as easy and dangerous in the living room as it is on laptop and mobile devices.”
Ms. Hurd hits the nail on the head. In a February 2016 blog, FSF Senior Fellow Seth Cooper stated that the FCC’s proposal to “unlock the box” would actually unlock copyright protections for video content.
Additionally, in a February 2016 Perspectives from FSF Scholars entitled “FCC’s Cognitive Dissonance Leads to Regulatory Policy Run Amok,” FSF President Randolph May revealed that in June 2015 the Commission found local video markets to be effectively competitive, but now, just seven months later, the FCC proposes regulations. Despite what FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler claims about the video device market, a look at set-top box prices shows no monopoly power. In fact, as we showed in a recent infographic, consumer choices in the video market continue to grow because of market-driven innovation and technological advances.
As Ms. Hurd states in her op-ed, most people agree that piracy is a serious problem. And if you can agree that piracy is a serious problem, then it should be obvious that the FCC should not adopt regulations that would enable the posting and dissemination of illegal content.