President and CEO Gigi Sohn's oral testimony is available as a PDF here. The written testimony, available below, is also available as a PDF here.
Testimony of Gigi B. Sohn
President, Public Knowledge
U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on Energy and
Communications and Technology
“The Future of Video”
June 27, 2012
I spent a lot of time at CES talking to companies that are trying to bring Internet video to your TV. Looking back, two types of companies emerged: Browser companies and Widget companies.
Browsers vs. Widgets
Browser companies are companies who see no difference between accessing video on a traditional computer monitor and accessing it on a TV. As far as they are concerned, if you are using a computer to access content on the Internet it should not matter if you are watching it on a screen classified as a monitor or a screen classified as a TV (or, for that matter, how far away you are sitting from the screen). This allows Browser companies to make all the video on the web available to users.
As the Selectable Output Control (SOC) battle continues here in Washington, Public Knowledge just sent a letter to the FCC pointing out that movie studios are doing some of the best work to show why SOC just doesn’t make sense.
As you may recall, the entire point of SOC is to allow movie studios to release movies via Video on Demand (VoD) prior to the DVD release. The MPAA claims that without SOC protection, the VoD releases (which, unlike DVDs, are not protected and therefore theoretically easier to copy) would immediately be used to make perfect copies available to pirates. These perfect copies would destroy the market for DVDs, and ultimately destroy Hollywood. SOC protection would allow studios to protect VoD distribution and therefore save Hollywood.
All one needs to do is go to the Presidential Transition website, Change.gov, to see how busy the various agency review teams and policy working groups have been getting the new administration ready to take over the reins of government on January 20. The agency review teams are busy talking to the current occupants of agencies like the Federal Communications Commission to determine what their current agendas are and how things can be improved in the future. The policy working are thinking only of the future and how to implement policies going forward in areas like the economy, health care and national security. And both types of teams are meeting with stakeholders to get their ideas on how the Administration should proceed.
Today, PK was a participant in two meetings organized by the Media and Democracy Coalition. Nearly 40 individuals representing two dozen public interest organizations and foundations attended.