Diller: Cash Keeps Hollywood Quiet On Net Neutrality
Says its never been a town that "thought of the day after tomorrow"
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 9/14/2011 9:14:18 PM
"I think we need to do it. We still haven't done it," he said. The FCC is even now preparing to submit its new network neutrality rules to the Federal Register for publication, then they become effective 60 days after that.
But Dillers's point was that even that was a brokered solution between the net neutrality side and telcos. "I still think that what we need, is absolutely, particularly, in the chaos that is going to come, very clear rules that say there is no intermediator in terms of the data you are provided at whatever the charge rate is for the data you are provided, and the provider."
Given so many creators in Hollywood with so many channels and voices, why isn't anyone screaming about the issue, asked moderator Jason Hirschhorn of Media reDEFined. "Because they are all getting paid. For whatever reason, people are too rich, too busy, too engaged. This has never been a town that has ever thought much about the day after tomorrow."
Diller said that Comcast was one company that was thinking about the day after tomorrow, which is why it was so strongly opposed to network neutrality. "What do they want. They would certainly like to charge the consumer for data, and they do, and their margins are quite large, but they would like to charge anyone else they can."
That includes "extracting" equity from content providers, or as he put it, "the reason anyone would want to pay them." Diller said consumption pricing for broadband is coming, just like electricity, and says that is a "kind of natural thing" and "you think that is what it ought to be."
Diller said that is why anyone who is on the product side or the consumer side should absolutely say that net neutrality "is on the side of the angels."
Diller said that digital companies who don't need the capital of traditional businesses have historically been wary of any regulation on theory on let's not regulate anything on the theory that they may want to own it. He said he has not seen much "other than from those who were there at the beginning and are publishers and people who care about the Internet as a place and form and who realize how lucky they are that this thing started in a way. It was completely open. There were no toll takers. There was nobody in control. But those 'preservationists' are not a loud enough voice."
But Diller suggested that he did not see a blocking trend in any event. "One way or the other, I am fairly content that it [the net] won't be invaded."
On the subject of net neutrality, Bob Gibson, Executive Director of the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, recently said: “It’s a debate that is going on in the Congress, and it’s really: Is the Internet going to be something that everyone has free and open access to, or, is it going to be something that is sort of controlled? What we don’t need is a lot of government control in the businesses of the internet. I think what we need is more of what we have with National Public Radio, which is a really true and balanced set of reporting that unfortunately has become politicized. What we are seeing is a shift from “anything goes” on the Internet to a shift where major corporations are shaping the news outlets and buying up more and more of the news outlets and putting them under corporate control and one set of a small number of hands.... We need freeware, we need shareware, and we need open access. People need to be able to trust sources that they can find on the internet, rather than have them controlled in a small number of hands or by the government.” (Gibson appeared on the Charlottesville, VA, interview program Politics Matters with host Jan Paynter discussing journalism at politicsmatters.org)
PoliticsMatters - 9/15/2011 2:03:46 PM EDT
What Diller does NOT say is that his own drive for so-called "net neutrality" regulations (which aren't neutral at all; they favor content providers such as Diller) is motivated by cash. Diller wants these regulations because they would force ISPs to subsidize him and other content providers, such as Google. (One of the reasons President Barack Obama picked Julius Genachowski as FCC Chairman is because Genachowski once worked for Diller, and could be trusted to implement these regulations in a way that satisfied Google, a large Obama campaign contributor.)
The fact is that the regulations are not only harmful but illegal. Expect them to be challenged and overturned by the courts once they are published in the Federal Register. Obama and Genachowski are counting on this occurring after the election, though, so that Obama still reap large contributions -- monetary and non-monetary -- from Google in the upcoming election.
Brett Glass - 9/15/2011 1:42:52 PM EDT
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