Tales of the Sausage Factory

A minor administrative detail . . .

As I announced last December, I am no longer with Media Access Project. For the present, I am doing a spot of consulting through an LLC I formed with my brother, Strength to Strength Develop-Ed, LLC (or just STS LLC).

I mention this because yesterday I entered a notice of appearance on behalf of Herring Broadcasting, Inc., DBA WealthTV to assist them in their ongoing carriage discrimination complaint against Comcast, Time Warner, Cox and Bright House. So, lest anyone suffer any confusion, I want to make clear this is just me on my own and not anything having to do with Media Access Project or its clients. Also, for anyone who sees me blog on the carriage complaint issues or — I suppose — on other cable matters, and you disagree, feel free to disregard my arguments for entirely new reasons than you did previously.

In other news, in addition to the book I am writing for IG Publishing, I have a nearly completed manuscript based on the last five years of Tales of the Sausage Factory. Anyone with suggestions on who might be interested in publishing such a thing should drop me a line. And, in keeping with the trends of the time, anyone interested can follow me on Twitter or on Facebook.

Stay tuned . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Big Congratulations To Copps on Being Named Acting

No surprise, but good to see it finally happen officially. According to this article, Commissioner Copps has been named as acting Chair, pending appointment of the official chair (presumed to be Julius Genachowski).

I expect Acting-Chairman Copps will be heavily focused on the DTV transition for the next few weeks. Indeed, I think that if they do not push off the analog switch off date, the smartest thing would be to keep Copps in as Acting until after the transition. We have only a few weeks to go, and the idea of piling on the inevitable confusion of a new Chairman — even one as familiar with the agency as Genachowski — on top of the mad scramble of the DTV transition is probably not a good idea.

In any event, I’m extremely pleased with the FCC in Copps’ extremely capable hands however long it lasts.

Stay tuned . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

And People Ask Me Why I Don't “Trust the Market . . . .”

From recent headlines:
Now that the FCC hearing in Standford is over, Comcast had dumped the idea of a consumer “bill of rights” for consumers. Instead, apparently picking up on Commissioner McDowell’s confusion over ICANN and how it works, Comcast has announced it is joing the Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA). While purportedly eager to include us regular folks in the dialog, consumer interests will not be represented in the initial discussions.

Comcast also is looking at bandiwdth caps, but that’s in addition to “managing” p2p, not instead of managing p2p.

Meanwhile, Earthlink is apparently walking away from Wireless Philly, and may simply shut the system off unless the city buys it out.

And folks ask me why I don’t “trust the market” when I am skeptical that big companies will stick by their commitments….

Stay tuned . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Time Warner May Pilot Metered Pricing With Easy Consumer Monitoring Tools. Good for now, but bad for ecommerce in the long run.

As reported by Broadband Reports and now confirmed elsewhere, a Time Warner internal memo indicates Time Warner will pilot a program where it has an explicit bandwidth cap, and users that exceed the cap will pay additional explicit fees — rather like what happens now with your standard cell phone package where you buy a bundle of minutes and then pay for any overages. The pilot will include a website to allow customers to track their usage, moderate their behavior, or buy additional capacity if they wish.

I agree with Dave Isenberg that this is the best way for Time Warner to handle its network capacity constraints and address the supposed 5% of users gobbling 50% of the bandwidth. We can expect some heavy users to move to other networks without caps, but also expect that users that use much less capacity and frustrated by congestion caused by heavy use by others to prefer plans like Time Warner’s because it should produce a less congested pipe overall.

I would be remiss if I failed to note that I was just musing about this the other day, giving me a chance to do another Stephen Colbert I CALLED IT!!! dance.

O.K., shameless gloating over. Analysis below . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Update to last night's post on RIAA v. XM

Something I should have been clearer on but wasn’t. The Audio Home Recording Act, by its terms of course, applies to audio recording not video recording a la Tivo.

My concern for PVRs and DVRs is one of extension. It is an unfortunate tendency in the law for bad law in one area to bleed over into other areas. The bad trademark law around domain names had impacts into trademark law and fair use generally, before the pendulum started to turn.

So while a decision about the applicability of AHRA to the “XM +MP3” service generally, I worry that the emphasis on subscription service v. free service and the nature of the functionalities does. It does not seem to me much of a leap to apply the analysis used in this case to cases applying the Sony standard, as interpreted in MGM v. Grokster.

But, on reflection, that was not at all obvious in my post, which appeared to say that AHRA applied to video recording services. Sorry for any confusion.

Stay tuned . . . .

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Inventing the Future

Inventing the Future: Jasmine release

Croquet is still being designed. Personally, I’d like to see something useable this summer, but that remains to be seen.

There is a “developer’s version” available now, called Jasmine, but there’s some confusion as to what Jasmine is in relation to the real thing. I’m going to try to straighten that out here.

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