Former FCC Chief Economist Thomas W. Hazlett issued a study which points out that the very opposition of broadcasters to the XM/Sirius merger is evidence that they are afraid of competition. A stunning example of the NAB's disingenuousness: Despite broadcast's vast lead over satellite in terms of number of listeners, the NAB bandies about figures that make it seem as though satellite already has a lock on the market. According to the NAB, in a given market XM might control 51% of the radio market, while Clear Channel controls only 1.5%. This is because it considers each one of XM's 150+ niche programming channels to be equivalent to a radio station. Defining markets in this way is disingenuous and does not serve to advance the debate.
Lasar's Letter on the FCC observes that the Commission has previously opposed allowing a single entity to control all of satellite radio. Whether language issued by the FCC a decade ago in response to a different market reality will be a “substantial hurdle” for the FCC today remains to be seen.
- To general acclaim, the Copyright Office has unveiled its kid's site, “Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright,” featuring the investigations of fearless kid detective Cop E. Wright. Let's hope that Detective Wright will help us solve a pretty big mystery– whose interests are being served when the Copyright Office issues royalty rates and carves out DMCA exemptions?
Major-League baseball continues to tilt at windmills, this time arguing that names and statistics of ballplayers are protected by copyright. Unfortunately for them, wishing really hard will not change the law, and the law is that facts are not copyrightable. Check out the great coverage on Ars and Techdirt.
Flashback! In 2002, the Business Software Alliance (BSA), Computer Systems Policy Project (CSPP), and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reached an agreement on digital content. Some interesting language from this agreement:
Technology and record companies believe that technical protection measures dictated by the government (legislation or regulations mandating how these technologies should be designed, function and deployed, and what devices must do to respond to them) are not practical. The imposition of technical mandates is not the best way to serve the long-term interests of record companies, technology companies, and consumers.
Remember the audio flag? Part of the broadcast flag, it was the archetypal government technology mandate.
Or how about the suit against XM? Apparently, to the RIAA, asking a court to declare that innovative technologies are illegal is not a technical mandate. It doesn't want to require that you use a particular technology. It just wants to declare that any technology it does not approve of is illegal.