Tag Archives: stela


9 Aug

One has to wonder why attornies don’t look past the end of their nose or past prior rulings when it comes to preparing cases for court. AEREO is a good example of a fix being in before the case hit the bench.  The consequences of Stealing Intellectual Property and Stealing Cable/Content is a starting point the big time lawyers and Judge looked past when it came to AEREO. Ehow says “Stealing cable is a federal crime and carries considerable consequences such as fines, jail time and potential lawsuits, but that doesn’t stop people from doing it. United States Statute 47 U.S.C. § 553. Unauthorized Reception of Cable Service (last revised in February 2010) prohibits cable being received without charge — unless otherwise authorized by a cable provider. It is therefore illegal to intercept cable from others or use personal cable to make a profit.” http://www.ehow.com/info_8201911_consequences-stealing-cable.html

Each format within which the content is used is of ownership to the Copyright creator to license at their will, under their terms.

NY based AEREO, the cable cord cutting startup, won key court rulings in a broadcasters’ copyright-infringement lawsuit.  AEREO subscribers watch channels live. Television computer signals are converted in to computer data then sent over the Internet to subscribers’ computers and mobile devices. AEREO subscribers  can record their shows with an Internet-based digital video recorder. While Cable is landlocked or homebound, AEREO works outside the home. Users login to AEREO then access live television or programs they recorded from a cloud-based DVR. AEREO hoped to circumvent legal challenges they anticipated would arrive from sharing broadcast signals. AEREO’s strategy for anticipated legal arguments was to argue Users are limited to one micro antenna each without offering an explanation as to how limiting User Antennas would not put AEREO in violation of Copyright Infringement of cable content AEREO was piggybacking on to similar in the way to plugging into a neighbor’s Cable to avoid paying. Accessing a neighbor’s Cable is criminal. Unauthorized interception of cable television service is illegal and a serious problem in the Commonwealth and the United States.  

To understand AEREOs Micro Antenna strategy better, one must understand Cable Access for Unauthorized Use. There is Active and there is Passive cable theft. Passive cable theft is receiving consumer services due to the cable operator services being faulty. Resolution of Passive Cable Theft is an honor system of self reporting to the cable operator. Active cable theft is explained to be an illegal physical connection to a Cable System or modifying equipment to get the service, knowingly and willfully,  without the express authorization of a cable television operator.  

The PLANNED STRATEGY to provide AEREO Users with individual Micro Antennas to access Copyright Content without Authorization is a broad lawsuit against Individuals waiting to happen. Ignorance of the law, in light of NAPSTER downloading suits and other suits against Individuals is no longer excusable by John or Jane Doe Public. Anyone receiving a licensed show will potentially be liable for Infringing Copyrights, sharing and other potential claims Content Owners will be able to pursue along with potentially taking legal action against AEREO and other such similar copycat service providers who will try to hide behind SAFE HARBOR and FAIR USE, of which they are not protected by.

The service started in New York a year ago is warp speeding its $8 a month broadcast television over the Internet service to include Utah, August 19 and Chicago, September 13. Months earlier the service was being rolled out at $12 a month. AEREO expanded to Boston and Atlanta a few months back. The David in battle against the Cable Goliaths is moving to Dallas, September 23, Miami, September 2 and Houston September 16. Lineup includes New York City Mayor Michael Bloombergs financial channel. AEREO comes with over-the-air-content developed by stations.

Lawsuit filed by  WNET, 13, Fox Television Stations Inc, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, WPIX, The Univision Television Group Inc, The Univision Network Limited Partnership, Public Broadcasting Service


Second District of New York Federal Judge Alison Nathan denied broadcasters’ request for a preliminary injunction against AEREO. AEREO argued the requested injunction would put it out of business. Judge Nathan, an OBAMA appointee, ruled “although [the plaintiffs] have demonstrated that they face irreparable harm, they have not demonstrated that the balance of hardships decidedly tips in their favor….. As such, the Court denies Plaintiffs motion for a preliminary injunction.” (http://www.scribd.com/doc/99855807/Aereo-Ruling-Preliminary-Injunction-Denied)

 President Obama nominated Nathan,  March 31, 2011,  to replace Judge Sidney Stein’s seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The United States Senate confirmed Nathan in a 48–44 vote on October 13, 2011. Nathan served as a special assistant and as Associate White House Counsel to President Obama from 2009 until 2010. President Obama is committed to a FREE INTERNET.

September 16 2011, Obama said “”We have to do everything we can to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit, wherever we find it. We should be helping American companies compete and sell their products all over the world. We should be making it easier and faster to turn new ideas into new jobs and new businesses. And we should knock down any barriers that stand in the way. Because if we’re going to create jobs now and in the future, we’re going to have to out-build and out-educate and out-innovate every other country on Earth.”  http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/technology



23 Jul

A farmer showed up in the Nordstrom’s store. He hefted a tire on to the counter to the shock of the Return Counter employee. The farmer said “I want to return my tire.” The startled employee got no where with the adamant farmer who insisted he bought the tire there years ago and wanted it taken back with a full refund. The manager was called. The employees caucused- fast. The manager stepped to the counter, thanked the man for his partronage, confirmed the amount being requested, then counted it out, to the farmer’s satisfaction. The staff began to talk all at once. Their manager shushed them when he said “the customer is always right.’ Years earlier there had been a farm store right where the Nordstroms stood that day. And so goes the Nordstrom’s Model, that Congress has to take a lesson from.

If its good enough to be part of the Bible in Business schools all these years later, its good enough to teach CONGRESS that the CUSTOMER is always right not the companies let alone the companies like Disney forcing companies like (_______) to take “stuff” they don’t want for the “programming” they do want.

There are 308,694,441 Americans.

Do the voter math.  

THE ANAGRAM OF STELA IS STEAL (E&C roundup June 2013):

23 Jul

Congressman Joe Barton leaned in to his microphone. He shared the humanity of a legislators life in a city where often legislators are painted as less than humane. But legislators doing their constituent’s work- need housing here, in the Capitol, and there, wherever back home is. Multiple residences means multiple costs of services replicated in each home, as Barton’s case may be, in each state and county. Three homes means three cable bills. As Mr. Barton pointed out, cable doesn’t come cheap these days. Do the Congressional math- $200 a pop times three equals $600, a hefty price, when service options are restricted by Cable providers to package options, each pricier than the other, bundled with programming options along with the one show, or two, customers like Barton want. 

The hearing, a second on STELA, held by the Energy & Commerce Committee, was coincidental to the Cable Industry Gala the night before. Hearing witness Amy Tykeson, CEO of Bend Broadband was congratulated for being inducted into the Cable Industry Hall of Fame. How nice to save an industry travel costs back and forth to the Capitol.

Chairman Upton opened the hearing making an understatement in a world where technology changes day to day. Upton said to hearing attendees that the video marketplace changed since STELA, the Satellite Television Extension and Localism, was enacted back in 1988. The E&C’s hearing was called to “Revoke” or “Revise” STELA. Recycle should be an option. Walden said, “The purpose of the law was to give the then nascent satellite industry a leg up in providing distant broadcast signals to viewers out of range of local over the air signals.” Mobile has conquered the world. Viewers in Bangladesh are receiving vimeo on mobiles. Fred Upton acquiesced “television providers are no longer new kids on the block. And cable operators, once the commanding presence in the pay TV sector, now face competition not just from satellite providers, but phone companies and the Internet as well.”

STELA’s Act may be up in 2014. The jig is up when it comes to Congress showing its failing in getting Legislation ahead of the next technological move, and the next after that, and so on. It doesn’t take rocket science to see solutions. It takes therapy. Congress must move past being their own Self Help group by admitting they are co-dependent on the wrong community as advisors- technology, corporate lobbyists and Congressional Research staff for advice- the people who walked Congress into getting caught with their pants down when it came to technology that is now running America, and the world, amok.

Fuggedaboudit when it comes to healthcare, NSA, etc. being the themes for Town Halls. Talk about the common thread in all of the issues making headlines- IP, Intellectual property- and in the headlines not being made, constituents ability to make their living based on their entrepreneurial skills. And intellect. 2D IP, intellectual property used in the content produced and disseminated by Satellite through Search Engines and ISPs and soon to be AEREO, the even newest kid on the block Farhad Manjoo of Pandeo calls “stupidest high-profile tech start-up ever launched.” (http://pandodaily.com/2012/07/14/dont-root-for-aereo-the-worlds-most-ridiculous-start-up/ )

Why is Congress stepping towards the AEREO light?

Deep pockets. Barry Diller and a “loophole in technology.” Manjoo wrote “I’m being harsh. But someone has to be. In the past few months, after Aereo was hit by insane lawsuits from the television industry, it has become something of a cause célèbre for people fighting for more progressive copyright laws. No doubt it was good to see Aereo win its first legal test this week, when a federal judge denied TV companies’ request to have the firm immediately shut down. But don’t mistake Aereo’s win as a sign of progress in copyright law or as a victory for consumers. If Aereo is successful, it will be only because it found a strange loophole in the legal thicket surrounding how we treat content. But as BuzzFeed’s John Herrman smartly points out, “loopholes aren’t a technology” just because a company has found a legal loophole does not make it a sound business idea, a sound technical idea, or a good deal for consumers. Read it and weep Congress. Read it and weep.

Just because Disney, WDIG (the Walt Disney Internet Group) sit at a table in front of you testy because Schurz Communications had  bigger ‘ones’ than Disney does. Marci Burdick, Senior V.P. of Broadcasting, Schurz Communications, Inc. did not let Ben Pyne, President Global Distribution, Disney Media Network get away with anything he attempted to set aside. Good reason. It’s a paycheck to Ben. It’s a family dynasty to Marci…”It all began in 1872 when Alfred B. Miller and Elmer Crockett founded the South Bend, Ind. Tribune. The Tribune is still the flag-ship property and family members have held editor and publisher positions at the newspaper for five generations. Schurz Communications newspapers have a long tradition of editorial excellence, technical innovation and a commitment to the highest standards for quality and excellence in journalism.” (http://www.schurz.com/about/history/)  

The hearing focus was wrongly on CEOs. Each individual is a CEO sometimes even only in their own mind. Companies start with Individuals who have ideas. Other witnesses at the table included Geoffrey Manne, Senior Fellow, TechFreedom; Mike Palkovic, Executive VP, DirectTV; Hal Singer, Managing Director, Navigant Economics and Amy Tykeson, CEO, Bend Broadband.

Legislators need to go back to the drawing board, first stepping on technology’s push for a free Internet where consumers are bundled and sold, spied upon and petrified that IF the Russians or terrorists attack, they will know how to find them- each and every member of their family and know how to torture them- forget about waterboarding- google has everyone’s lives in their storage centers, even yours Mr. Upton. A few months back Americans believed hackers were foreigners, now they know the people to fear are people living next door.

Let your constituents talk to you at Town Halls. Let them tell you how they feel about getting technology that takes away their rights to privacy, their rights to their Intellectual Property that will make their living for them. Ask them the questions your Research Committee isn’t giving you. Why? Partial reason. Your research is being done by the generation that is acting before they think or realized the same technology they are pushing Congress to move forward is the same technology that hacked and released Congressional staffers emails- Anonymously. Not. Aided and abetted by Congress’s decisions that got Legislators to where they sat that morning…. STELA- revise or revoke.

Satellite companies are here today and hair brained schemed replaced tomorrow. AEREO? Really. Customers. Customer service and where Congressman Barton got the conversation heading- customers and corporations being forced to take what they don’t want to get what they want at prices and with disclosures that change without constituents not being told about technological wizadry provided to Satellite companies in order to predict what Customers want and THEN, withholding that programming from them unless Cable packages are bought. If paying customers are the lab rats being tracked at home for Search Engines and ISPs to sell data on, the PAY THEM by bringing Google billions back from offshore and reduce customer monthly costs.

Chairman Walden said, “We have a year and a half before we must decide what action to take.” No sir. Deadline passed. E&C has no time to clawback latitudes given to the tech companies and the Behemoths in industries that are pushing competitors out of business.

In 1988, some rocket scientist put Satellite under the Judiciary because of a link being drawn IP. Remove Satellite from Maria Pallente’s jurisdiction and put it under the FTC’s Julie Brill where it belongs.  In the eye of the Search Engine and ISP content- Google model, everything is content. In the eye of the consumer, the consumer has become Search Engine and ISP content. In the eye of the realist, CONTENT is king. The consumer has lost. Especially this secretly recorded wife now, Content’ http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/07/22/man-uploads-wifes-explosive-temper-tantrum-on-youtube-one-of-them-has-reportedly-moved-out-and-filed-a-restraining-order/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=story&utm_campaign=Share+Buttons. Content has been evolved from Google Glass being worn into a Strip Club by a non frequent visitor Patrick Hill. Hill posted hi Google Glass content to youtube where it was picked up by CNET writer Chris Matyszck who then posted the link to his page and so on and son on in the evolution of Content then dispersing it http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-57594982-71/get-em-off-man-gets-into-a-strip-club-wearing-google-glass/

The push for mobile was orchestrated years back. “ITS” no longer just about TV. “ITS” being sold as Freedom. The new Freedom bandwagon is mobile. Advertising was predicting mobile as the way to go. Ask Ted Leonsis of Monumental Sports. 3x more money comes from an online targeted ad then online broadcast ad traditional shotgun ad.

Mobile is a parents nightmare. Mobile devices are tricky for parents to monitor. It is a stalkers paradise. It is a Satellite consumers fear. Yes, there are stories of “call centers” overseas taking Satellite consumers Intellectual Property. Better yet, the IP and personal data thievery Congress always dumps on China is a helluva lot closer to home Fort Lauderdale Florida (www.dmnews.com/former-call-center-workers-accused-of-stealing-consumer-information/article/72133/). Facebook has been compared t oa Walled Garden. Google has been compared to a digital nudist colony. No one can cover up their nibbles & bits anymore. Kids and teens are about to learn the choices in their Internet life, they didn’t make. They were groomed- a slap in the face to the hard work former Congressman Ed Markey and Joe Barton have done to protect children’s privacy. The technological foot print children are making is being shaped by their online interacting being stalked by technology. Remember the Jim Carey movie? Where a crew behind the scene made his choices happen based upon decisions the crew notated he did before? Who would have thought we are in Jim Carey’s mind.

The problem is definitions. The problem is there are none. The problem is technology’s pot bangers are telling Congress how amazing the Emperor is looking. NSA’s data theft and teenagers making content of gang rapes of drunk teenagers should be telling Congress the Emperor has no clothes on. Dudes. Cover up.

The STELA conversation is not about looking back at “cable regulations, such as the must carry, basic tier, buy through, program carriage, program access, and set top box rules….The video market is changing rapidly. Phone companies are in the video business now, both over wires and wirelessly. Netflix is offering original programming over the Internet. And Aereo, for better or for worse, could turn everything upside down” as co-Chairman Walden said. The STELA conversation had to be about setting up a Ten Commandments that protects what made America great- Consumers rights to their Property promised by the Founding Fathers- their rights to privacy, their rights to owning their Intellectual Property OR getting paid for it, sharing in the profits Search Engines and ISPs are making from consumers while charging more and providing less in a push to prop up corporate profits. 

Congressman Murphy said these conversations never quite reach the level of the Artist who designs the logo or the website or even the uniforms and office and equipment for the doctor or professional addressed in these hearings. Michael Burgess talked about doctors and dentists offices and patient IP. Dr. Burgess- doctor-patient privacy? Used to be scotched the second your staff hits ‘Send.’ Now, the ISPs are entering computers constantly taking data, even when offline- all communities. Simplify the protection needed- everyone’s 2D IP, ID and Commerce. The worry isnt that the theft goes on but how the Internet has expedited the speed thefts are taking place. 

Footnote, Congress. On the heels of Snowden and the NSA? Stop blaming China for stealing American IP. Take a lesson from China’s example of IPR, Intellectual Property Rights courts instead of Maria’s solicitation of Small Claims as a forum to resolve IP theft. Ask which search engine gave their encryption codes away to access THAT market. Hopefully China doesn’t clue in and sue America yet for stealing Chinese Food….. And one day, may I’ll write about Bulova Watch Company IP theft from a half a decade ago or how “Tuesday is Russian Day at the USPTO. Congress, every day is Russian Day…

Congressman Horton said put one office in charge of Satellite and IP. No. Two. And they exist. The FTC and Register of Copyrights. Re-divy Satellite back to the FTC . Create IPR courts along the lines of China’s and India’s. NOW. Enforce Economic Espionage Act, Computer Hacking laws. Don’t depend on the Direct Marketing Alliance. What part of Digital and Marketing and Alliance is Congress not getting. There is no silver bullet to Media Literacy and Public citizenship.

Where did Congress get the misdirection that consumers and Moms & Pops are worth less than Mega-Witnesses like Disney who was at the table. The answer is really quite truthful- college, it seems, and from the DAA Digital Advertising Alliance’s Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising (www.aboutads.info/participating) College professors created a theory that companies worth is justified by its returns to investors, obliterating the old school way of Customer Service and, most likely, the push for global expansion. Guess, most of the legislators aren’t old enough to recall the Nordstrom Model of Business. Well worth repeating. Will save the story for last.

Congressman Barton started down the conversation addressing cable subscribers paying through the nose for services they don’t want to get the one or two channels they want. Legislators must keep an eye on news back home while they are away on Capitol Hill. Options? Buy the package the satellite carrier  is selling or, as Mr. Barton said, go back to free TV.  $600 a month out of  legislators’ pockets while facing a $2000 per staffer healthcare Obama tax looming has legislators weighing their running, again.

Undiscussed during the hearing was the games cable companies play with customers beyond Program Packaging Options. Satellite companies fail to advise customers of new promotions that might drop a high bill to $89.99, with no cost for the package switch. Companies like Comcast don’t tell relocating customers their monthly fee might be changed by the satellite company without the customer being told. Customers are not advised $20 credits are available if techs are late or fail to show. Customers are not told when Plans expire the company picks the Plan customers are renewed in to, without notice or permission. Nor are customers told they are subsidizing cable for people who live in rural America IN AN INTERNET/VIMEO/AERO/SEARCH ENGINE/ISP world.

What are the norms going to be. Google Glass, a transmitter/ streamer Bathroom two men standing in one says are you ok if I wink your winkie? Democrats signaled they would prefer to reauthorize the act rather than bog it down with other issues. As it is, the Judiciary committee has to be involved in the legislation because of the interlocking copyright provision in the law.

Mobile has changed the ecosystem. Legislators, maybe it is time to say no to Hollywood. They are no longer King of Content.  Now, if someone wants to be a star, they just have to turn their flip phone on themselves in the bathroom mirror and Click. CONTENT. As legislators are learning, Gotcha moments are a reality TV show waiting to happen…

Walden is wrong. Its not about “respecting the investments of the networks that create it and the broadcasters and Pay TV companies that deliver it? “ Its about protecting the consumer who has unknowingly paid for this with the greatest price of all, loss of privacy. The chairman said “million viewers write and call Congress reminding Congress of that clause in the Constitution “about the right of Americans to watch whatever they want, whenever they want, wherever and however they want.” GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT!

The key is to learn from the twenty five year old STELA Act. Keep its best as framework. It isnt the satellite industry that needs addressing. New industries continue to emerge. It is the model- Consumers and their entertainment consumption. The model has been thought through. Simple, CONSUMER v BUSINESS ENTITY. This is where the Nordstrom’s Business Model comes in to play.

And the Ten Commandments of Consumer Consumption, that Congressman Barton called a Consumers Protection of Intellectual Property Rights, well, he said “Bill of Rights For Consumers.” Hint.   No don’t do as Michael Palkovic, DirecTV’s svp of services and operations, said “make the laws smarter to reflect the 21st century video marketplace.” Do the American thing, create the Bible that stands the test of time, the framework of the country. KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid- Ten Points that will protect Tablet One (Constituents) Privacy, Customers, Innovators, Data, ________, from Tablet Two (Corporate) Open Data, Notice, Simplified Contracts and Terms of Service, Algorithms, ________.

For whatever it is worth, E&C, the anagram of STELA is STEAL…

A MUST READ EXCERPT FROM STELA & then some- No is an OK word:

13 Jun

The concern legislators expresses is for consumers who have no voice here, with no  control over their bill. The customer gets hundreds of channels they don’t watch from a revenue model that has no liability for cable manager who makes the deal just passes it on to the consumer. Congresswoman Blackburn pointed out content must be compensated for as does the content creator deserve to be compensated.

This is the same same Copyright conversation being held down the hall and around the corner in the Judiciary Hearing Room- ownership of one’s IP- intellectual property. You see the thing that many ignore is the age old adage that ‘the more things change the more they stay the same’ a bit of cowboy logic the Texans are quick to uphold. But out of the box logic observes (1) maybe there is too much content being generated AND not enough viewers hence the Cable Companies are forcing consumers to take and pay for what our moms’ used to call ‘crap.’ You know JUST because someone has an idea does not mean it is something to act on, the tragic fallout of the Free internet causing overload of people, pocketbooks and just plain old time. Maybe it is time to invoke the “Cut The Crap” adage to set up steps to mitigate the Home Movies now being forced upon consumers by College Professors misguidance that companies must perform to please shareholders. No. Stakeholders count. Cables biggies are forgetting that LESS IS MORE. Some content on cable needs to stay ‘home movies’ rather than used to extort subscribers and nice nice little companies such as Bend.

Failure lies in communication of Cable lobbyists to put into words that the Internet is the new Cable. The laws are unable to keep up with the Flow Of Free Content on the Internet hence the forced bundling Congressman Barton shared he is stuck with here and back home in Texas- in order to get phone, computer packages he is subject to buying the Triple Play Package although the show he wants to watch is his baseball back home.

Congress might consider a great new word, to me at least, NO. It is OK to say no. Saying YES buys more problems than friends both in the worlds of the Camel and the Tent joke and in the world of Constituents. No is OK to say…..

Congress might also dive deeper on top of Disney who admitted to Congress they are playing both good cop and bad cop- charging beaucoup bucks for forced cable or else ‘blackout’ and dipping into the virginal internet pond of Free Content, with Hulu, something the smaller companies may not have the resources to do.

Ahh. NOW I know why Disney was plunked at the witness table between the two babes with brains.

Got to love karma….

HEY STELAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2Fm-gGgOKw&NR=1&feature=fvwp

13 Jun

No , it wasn’t Rocky calling out for Adrian or the call of the wild for the woman he wanted. It was the focus of an E&C committee today on the Hill. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone in DC was focused on Immigration issues although the Halls were crawling with immigrants and children wearing Let My Daddy Stay T-shirts long enough to be dresses on boys. One child dropped his raisin on the floor, squatted to pick it up and ate it while his mother was pen in hand talking to one of the Hispanic Senate custodians. It was a day in the District political style.


Across the Capitol off Independence Avenue, history spoke, living history. Congressman Dingle (D-MI) was acknowledged for being the longest serving Congressman. E-V-E-R. John served Congress 57 years, five months and twenty six days. His bezzie, Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX), sat on the other side of the hearing room. John is a mentor to Joe. John is a friend to Joe & Joe is a friend to John, in this crazay zoo of politics, exemplary example that Donkeys and Elephants can and do get along. AND actually like and respect each other. John and Joe are pretty special. Both have led the Enegergy and Commerce Committee. They understand the Do’s and Don’ts of politics the ‘Young Guns’ did not take time to learn. Questions asked are meant to be questions answered, as John pointed out here.

John won a special election for his father’s seat, held by his Dad over two decades. Dingell, sworn in December 14, 1955 by Sam Rayburn, understands all about working his way up. John served as a congressional page during his father’s tenure. Dingell’s honorary Congressional title is Dean of The House offering wisdoms to hearing attendees such as “It aint how long you took but how well you did.” John’s colleagues said that every major law has John Dingell’s fingerprint on it. Today was a page turner even for a man who has voted over 25,000 times in DC.

The hearing had been underway when John entered the hearing room, an example to the political pups in the audience. And the hearing continued when John left, not for much longer though. John announced he was not going to ask questions. He made a statement only the Hero Of The Halls could make without pushback. John had no plans to ask questions. John planned only to make a statement- nailing it that speeches being made by some of the witnesses were so far off the mark of the hearing.

The hearing was about STELA, John reminded attendees, hearkening to Stanley, infamous, from Marlon Brando’s famed movie Streetcar Named Desire. John wanted, desired, one thing- stick to the point of the hearing the Subcommittee on Communication and Technology was meeting on “The Satellite Television Law Repeal Reauthorize or Revise?” held coincidental to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, formerly the National Cable Television Association Convention and Awards held in DC this week, headlined by Jennifer Lopez, CCO for NUVOtv, interviewed by Lynette Rice, West Coast News Editor from Entertainment Weekly. http://www.cabletechtalk.com/the-cable-show/jennifer-lopez-opens-wednesdays-general-session-video/

The witnesses were Mike Palkovic , exec VP services and operation DIRECTV;
Marci Burdick, senior VP of Broadcasting Schurz Communications Inc;
Ben Pune, president Global Distributiin, Disney Media networks;
Amy Tykeson, CEO, Bend Broadcasting: Hal Singer, managing director, Navigant Economics and Geoffrey Manne, Senior Fellow from Techfreedom.

Henry Waxman invoked a reauthorization integrating copyright in to the issues, wanting to assure, in to the conversations for opportunities for consumers and content creators alike, diversity, the hot current contemporary Congressional buzzword. Waxman acknowledged that consumers must have content and that creators want their product seen far and wide. Congressman Waxman’s constituents include Disney and Directv, two of the witnesses seated at the table before the legislators. The Tennis Channel, another of Henry’s constituents, boasts over 20 million employees, was protected by the 1992 Cable Act, Henry said, acknowledged in a letter CEO Ken Solomon sent along to be read into the record.

Mike Palkovic , exec VP services and operation DIRECTV; testified it is unimaginable the Cable Act, approved by Congress, grew to facilitate America’s demands for what they want when they want it where they want it and, with constant new emerging technologies, how America wants it. Bundling, the consolidating of cable channels, has grown from four channels in 1992 to over hundreds. Palkovic pointed out corporations use the Retrans process to force consumers to take channels they don’t want while blacking customers out on channels the customers do want.  Palkovic maintained the regulations smart. Palkovic suggested, coming across as tongue in cheek, that providers could be allowed to negotiate directly with consumers, after all, Palkovic said, cable broadcast companies refuse to negotiate with them making product content expensive. Consumers want change, Palkovic said, more importantly stating, consumers deserve it since what was intended by congress is working well and what was not intended is not working well, reality being the laws were created in1992, for 4 channels not 400 and a time when operating costs are eating the profits. Palkovic wanted people to know, money isnt being made off increases made off the pocketbooks of consumers. Directv doesn’t want Stela to change. Unless change is addressing the blackouts suffered when one challenges the Biggie leveraging rights for other content.

Marci Burdick, senior VP of Broadcasting Schurz Communications Inc testified on behalf of NAB TV. Burdick reitierated Television is important to politics, reminding that without TV politicians can’t reach their constituents. Burdock said she will fight her own fight, that she will make her own deal and asking though that Congress not tip their decision in favor of any one industry. Burdick thinks the marketplace works. Burdick cited a percentage of stations they are given are Must-Carry stations that have developed traction then built themselves into viable businesses of their own, addressing Faith, Ethnic and diversity audiences. Burdick pointed out, with Rights and Fees, her constituency argues about paying copyright providers for their copyright performer rights they are providing it for free. Burdick corrected misstated history- Cable rates were going up before the Cable Act of 1992. The consumer suffers. The consumer is losing the connection her peers provide- local news weather, with miniscule compensation, not duplicated anywhere else, reinforcing there is a value to localism and protecting local rights and lifeline services that local cable provides. After all, the show must go on…. Consumers expect it.

Disney’s Ben Payne was stuck between two women and clearly not enjoying it, snapping at the women when the stood up to his comments that did not reflect their experience. Payne reminded how he did not include ipads in the technology he testified about in 2007. iPods yes. iPads came along three years later along with smartphones, tablets and apps. Payne said Disne was the first broadcaster to provide streaming service, recognizing value in online distributors Disney could use to get content out. Hence, Disney’s Hulu acquisition, to help Disney’s commitment to provide outstanding service to consumers. And, he did not say, to provide dividends to investors, the professorial syllabus of what makes a company viable- expansion, growth and payout. Quality content is expensive to produce, says Payne. The Brits know that hence shows like Downtoan Abbey run a short time, the return after an extended hiatus. The lion share of programming is on broadcast TV, said Payne. Disney’s position is the current system works letting Disney get its content carried where consumers want it. Disney, Payne testified, believes Congress should let the legislation sunset rather than extending it. If Congress decided to extend the legislation he said they should do so only by adjusting date and nothing else. Oddly enough as arguable was he was and testy with his peers, the female kind, Payne came to Congress, unprepared to answer specific demographics of who is watching what. Payne did say something about the average consumer past 23 cents. Used to buy 5 pieces of bazooka gum. A Disney history lesson Payne provided was the evolition of abc.com- came about after The Mouse realized shows are pirated within 15 minutes after airing.  but he came prepared w the price that average per viewer cost is 23 cents.  Oh, and btw, six companies control most of programming so he recommended. Don’t repeal support of copyright. Use the Cable Act to leverage against consumers.
Said 6 companies who control most of programming. Point the gun and say take it or leave it or blackout.,it isn’t a free market. Using the cable act to leverage against consumers.  

Amy Tykeson, CEO, Bend Broadcasting was proud of her company’s achievements including investing 100 million to be the top local dog and an industry leader. Tykeson says her company is being hurt by the current law. Bend is unable to produce the content and packages her customers want. Blackouts hurt her customers. Networks increasing fees are driving up consumer costs from 260 million to 2.6 billion in 6 years and expected to rise more. The quality of devices consumers  are watching is argument enough to make the change for more choice and lower prices.   
She said the market doesn’t work . Customers are forced to accept programs they cant afford or programming they don’t want. Bend has to place programming in tiers.
The prices for retransmission consent are growing faster than fees for other programming but all costs are going up doubling and tripling each cycle and costs are going up along w inflation and agreements.

Hal Singer of Navigant economics served as an expert on prior issues in the arrive  cable industry (Nfl). Singer said it is important to care for independents is because they provide the best content since unfettered by law. Singer cited one professor who called to ban vertical integration . Downside said Singer should be evaluated on a case by case approach is that relief does not come with it. The policy question is who should adjudicate- FCC or anti trust laws which won’t be suitable for discrimination  independents. Singer said the original intent of Congress was to immunize the cable with redundant laws that have little to do with the involoved parties. Said decision making is biased. Without direct evidence, he said,  there is a presumption of balance to the larger networks which complicates matters for the smaller independent networks, likening it to a newspaper times eliminating a popular columnist- the columnist still has value.

Geoffrey Manne of Techfreedom reminded the hearing to ‘remember House of Cards,’ Netflix. Kevin Spacey, representing the work of  new technology in the face of technological change. Manne wants Stela to sunset, saying it isn’t deregulation just smarter regulation that smarter rules that will stand up. Giving more to the consumer for their buck-, Manne says is better, the ‘more the higher the quality.’ Regulatory mistakes, Manne said, are discovered in retrospect. To be considered are costs- opportunity and technological costs- with the devil in the details. The economics Manne sees are two behemoths on either side of the negotiating table, with no strong basis in economics if have the two big players on either side. At the end of the day, Manne said you have to pay a price for things you must have, cautioning that content owners must make valid business decisions to maximize their market which is remarkable but can be better.

The concern legislators expresses is for consumers who have no voice here, with no  control over their bill. The customer gets hundreds of channels they don’t watch from a revenue model that has no liability for cable manager who makes the deal just passes it on to the consumer. Congresswoman Blackburn pointed out content must be compensated for as does the content creator deserve to be compensated.

This is the same same Copyright conversation being held down the hall and around the corner in the Judiciary Hearing Room- ownership of one’s IP- intellectual property. You see the thing that many ignore is the age old adage that ‘the more things change the more they stay the same’ a bit of cowboy logic the Texans are quick to uphold. But out of the box logic observes (1) maybe there is too much content being generated AND not enough viewers hence the Cable Companies are forcing consumers to take and pay for what our moms’ used to call ‘crap.’ You know JUST because someone has an idea does not mean it is something to act on, the tragic fallout of the Free internet causing overload of people, pocketbooks and just plain old time. Maybe it is time to invoke the “Cut The Crap” adage to set up steps to mitigate the Home Movies now being forced upon consumers by College Professors misguidance that companies must perform to please shareholders. No. Stakeholders count. Cables biggies are forgetting that LESS IS MORE. Somethings on cable need to stay ‘home movies’ rather than used to extort subscribers and nice nice little companies such as Bend. Congress might consider a great new word, to me at least, NO. It is OK to say no. Saying YES buys more problems than friends both in the worlds of the Camel and the Tent joke and in the world of Constituents. No is OK to say.

John Dingle said the bill of 1969 had 9 titles but few pages. It was argued in good faith negotiations, predicated on promoting localism. Dingle said most of his colleagues including him don’t understand the matter at hand let alone what to do with it so he recommended the committee stick to the theme at hand…. STELA!!!! John’s bezzie Congressman Joe Barton injected irony and humor into the cable hearing, a commercial for annual Congressional Baseball game- of which Joe is a coach for the GOP, ironic in that cable used to boast itself about being commercial free. Times, costs and entertainment tolerance have changed along with the professorial business models. Sadly, I will be in New York at my son’s Darren-palooza, his annual birthday fete he hosts downtown.

Broadcasting and signals of a baseball kind aside, the divide between the Mouse and the smaller cable companies is big and growing. Consumers in DC can take the night off and watch Congress take it to the field after which life will return to paying for programs they don’t want. Maybe the problem isnt cable but too many people making too much programming that, when it comes down to it, aside from the performers and creators, people may not really want…..STELA! STELAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!