Tech at Night

Keep in mind that in the Time Warner/CBS dispute, CBS has a built-in negotiation advantage due to federal laws. So I don’t buy it when CBS claims that Time Warner is the unreasonable side. CBS’s complaints about what other cable companies do reminds me of the cartel-like “negotiations” done by UAW.

I do appreciate the cleverness of giving out free antennas though. If only Aereo were huge right now. That’d be great for Time Warner to work with.

Psst: Net Neutrality was always a power grab, and not a fact- and law-based endeavor. I love though how the left-leaning Daily Dot is outraged that Net Neutrality isn’t being used to push for more free stuff.

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Tech at Night

It’s funny how the same House Judiciary Committee that took up SOPA is now taking up IRFA, opposed by a growing list of groups including Taxpayers Protection Alliance, ATR, CAGW, and ACU. SOPA of course would have grown government in the name of strengthening copyright. IRFA makes government meddle more in a way that weakens copyright. And not in a good way, either: IRFA would not encourage innovation or content creation. It just favors Internet broadcasters over everyone else.

Also yeah, the RSC paper on Copyright that I backed before it was wrongly pulled, it is not a statement against property rights nor is it against copyright at all. If the side favoring ever-lengthening copyright cannot argue honestly with us, and has to mischaracterize those of us who favor an approach to copyright that balances the interests involved, then that to me suggests a deficiency in their position.

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Tech at Night

In an example of lucky timing, the GSA scandal proved why Darrell Issa’s DATA act was needed. Transparency in government allows for oversight. So the bill passed the House by voice vote.

I first floated a while back the idea that this sudden, strident CISPA opposition was roote d in a desire to distract the public from the much stronger and more dangerous Lieberman-Collins bill in the Senate. It’ll work with the libertarian left because hey, they’ll believe whatever the left says about eeevil Bushitlerian Rethuglicans. But it disappoints me when the right, including FreedomWorks, is tricked and puts effort into CISPA instead of Lieberman-Collins. Did we learn nothing from Net Neutrality?

But yeah, when the usual whiny groups along with Barack Obama and the administration are joining together to talk exclusively about CISPA but not at all about Lieberman-Collins, I’m right.

House Republicans may in fact limit the bill in response to the veto threat, but the fact is we need a flexible legal framework to empower the good guys to have information which is critical when countering bad guys who share information all the time.

International attacks are real though. In fact, everyone may want to check into this account by the FBI about a thwarted attack that may still infect your computer.

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Tech at Night

Good evening. I’m considering shifting Tech at Night to Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. But I might not. I’ll have to think about it.

So, more CISPA. The comparison with SOPA is absurd. I put out a challenge for anyone to refute the claim first by the Republicans and now by Facebook that there are no new mandates in CISPA. No takers so far. That’s because CISPA is not SOPA.

In fact I’m disappointed that CISPA backed down on copyright infringement, as that was the real reason for the CISPA objections. Anti-copyright radicals were angry about property rights.

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Tech at Night

Monday night, as promised, we still have some catch up work to do. So let’s start with those Amazon Taxes, those Internet sales taxes of dubious Constitutionality. Colorado’s got tossed in federal court and Illinois’s didn’t raise any money. Obeying the Constitution counts, folks. Pass a true interstate compact through the Congress first.

Also as promised, there’s the matter of the Next Generation Television Marketplace Act. This is the one where ACU has come out against Jim DeMint, and that caught my attention. I have to side with the bill DeMint is sponsoring. I think ACU simply misunderstood what’s at stake here and had good intentions, but the excessive complexity of the regulations defeated them here.

The bill does not let cable providers become free riders, retransmitting others’ streams for free. It just stops the law from trying to dictate the parameters of the negotiations on retransmissions. I see no harm in that, and potentially much good.

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Tech at Night

November 20. That’s the day the Obama administration has chosen to regulate the Internet after what even The Hill calls “a partisan vote” at the FCC to pass the Net Neutrality regulations. I’m hoping Verizon and/or MetroPCS will sue and win a stay before that date, though I don’t know how likely that is for a court to act that strongly.

I’ve said much about the House and its strong opposition to Barack Obama’s regulatory overreach, but Senators are unhappy as well. Kay Bailey Hutchison is ready to fight. It looks like she will push to get the Senate to go forward with using the Congressional Review Act, as the House already did, to repeal Net Neutrality.

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Tech at Night

I’m in danger of repeating myself as the AT&T/T-Mobile saga goes on, so let me open up tonight’s post with to my latest analysis of the situation. Summary: the behavior of Sprint Nextel’s and Clearwire’s share prices, combined with Sprint Nextel’s decision to sue AT&T, should lead any observer to believe that the AT&T/T-Mobile deal benefits the 4G Internet-using public at the expense of Sprint Nextel and current market leader Verizon.

Same as it ever was, as the Talking Heads said. When Sprint gobbled up Nextel, the public gained. So, too, will the public gain if the government keeps its hands off this time.

Is Sprint in trouble? Some say yes, but the point of antitrust laws isn’t reduce competition to prop up ineffective businesses.

Help the economy, President Barack Obama. Drop the suit. Encourage your subordinates to get out of the way of job creation, innovation, and technical progress. Event the San Francisco Chronicle has run a piece explaining that.

Hearings begin September 21. Ah, government. Slow, slow, slow. Imagine life or death medical decisions in the hands of this government! Maybe they’re still trolling for some evidence that just isn’t there.

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Tech at Night

This is one of those weeks when all the important stuff happens at once, and there’s much to cover. I’ll start with the big national story. As I previously covered, The Eric Holder/Barack Obama Justice Department is coming after AT&T, using its own odd brand of economics to claim that the merger with T-Mobile would make the wireless market less competitive. When in fact, as history has shown with deals like Sprint/Nextel, prices are only going to come down as the market gets more competitive.

But, nonsensical as it is, the Obama administration is pressing on with the same tired thinking that gave us zero net job creation last month, and downward revisions in prior months. So let’s sweep around and look at what’s going on, what others are saying both about the news and about the prognosis, beyond the Culture of Corruption aspect I already covered.

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Tech at Night

As is usual, tonight I’ll give priority to the things we had posted at RedState, and mention those first. Especially My own post on the latest on the California Amazon Tax referendum, and more specifically on the plans of Democrats to nullify the constitutional referendum process, in service of their unconstitutional Internet sales tax. We need to pressure Republicans to vote the right away, at least.

We also have a post by streiff on regulation, and how we need to do something about it. He asks a great question, on the relative levels of oversight the Congress gives to the military and to the post-New Deal alphabet soup: “So why should the commissioning of a lieutenant or the promotion of a mid-grade officer merit positive action on the part of Congress but an EPA regulatory regime that seems focused on making the use of coal illegal allowed with no action?”

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In the big budget deal this year was a provision known as the Amazon Tax or the Internet Sales Tax. Officially it’s an expansion of the Use Tax. Whatever you call it, it’s an unconstitutional* cash grab, attempting to force out-of-state Amazon to pay California sales tax.

The tax has already killed businesses in California that depended on revenue from Amazon and other affiliate program hosts, who were forced to shut out California residents in response to the tax. Even though the tax itself is set to take effect January 1, out of state retailers needed to take action to protect themselves in advance. So as a result, state revenues have been reduced, not raised, by this bill. The already lagging state economy has been worsened.

So a referendum will be put on the ballot by the people, to be voted on by the people, to stop this harmful, illegal tax. It could pass, too. Early polling hasn’t been bad. So the Democrats are going to try passing a new bill, starting in the Senate, to change the tax to make it take effect immediately.

The trick is that by passing the tax as urgent, it will nullify the referendum under the state Constitution. And worse, to get support for this, Democrats have effectively bought off eBay to turn on Amazon, by making tweak to the bill to exempt eBay from having to collect tax. Convenient, huh?

So, California, it’s time to take action and defeat this attempt to nullify the referendum.

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