Tech at Night

Sprint is doing what I said Sprint would do all along. Remember when AT&T wanted to buy T-Mobile? Sprint funded a campaign by radical leftists to claim the #2 firm and the #4 firm coming together would be unbearably detrimental to competition, and would hinder American wireless.

Sprint’s new Japanese owners want T-Mobile, they want the #3 firm and the #4 firm to merge together into one, still reducing top-tier competition by one firm, according to the beancounting they used to do. T-Mobile claims it’s inevitable, but Sprint is playing an unfortunate game. They’re using all the left-wing, ridiculous talking points about Internet access in America to push their case.

The problem with that, never mind that Japan’s population density is nothing like America’s, and therefore no comparison is Apples-to-Apples. But as Jon Henke points out, now that Sprint laid out the case against a similar merger, they’re probably going to have to enter into an FCC-empowering agreement in order to get this deal done. That harms Sprint, and that harms America.

Tech at Night

ACU and other normally small-government types have bafflingly come out against the satellite TV bill STELA, and Steve Scalise’s efforts to enact Retransmission Consent reform, a cable idea first proposed jointly with Jim DeMint. This is wrong, and this is a strange supporting of laws that pick winners and losers.

You see, back in the 70s when Cable TV started to take off, broadcasters and socialists alike freaked out. Broadcasters because they were faced with competition for eyeballs where they previously had a monopoly, and socialists because it offended that someone might actually pay for TV. So they teamed up to rig the system, passing laws and regulations that prevented an open market for many broadcasts, instead creating territorial monopolies for broadcasters. These regulations have let the broadcasters get fat and happy (see also Aereo).

Pass retransmission consent reform. Supporters say without reform we “simulate” a free market, and to reform would harm “content producers.” This turns the truth on its head. Broadcasters are overpaid, underworked middlemen with government-manufactured monopolies. They produce nothing but just happen to hold a government license to spectrum. Make ’em compete. And certainly never make satellite providers buy from a propagandist like The Weather Channel.

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Tech at Night

I remember when the Digital Millennium Copyright Act passed. It created a boatload of new rules and restrictions on Americans, in the name of tightening copyright online. One of the key provisions of the DMCA is the “safe harbor” rule, which effectively turns ISPs into agents of copyright, by making them honor so-called DMCA takedown notices in exchange for not being held responsible for what’s put by their customers on their public servers.

We were supposed to accept harsh limitations on basic practices like reverse engineering, in order to get what we were told were strong and effective copyright protections. So when I see new copyright criminalization proposed, I have to ask: Did the DMCA fail? Should we repeal it then? Or are we just throwing a bone to the RIAA and MPAA who don’t want to have to bother enforcing their own rights anymore, and get a subsidy from the DoJ to enforce it for them? Come on.

Sure, Some are saying it’s not as bad as it sounded, but if one policy failed, we can’t just keep adding new ones. Repeal and replace, don’t just create an ever-greater web of problems. Or better: just tweak the DMCA instead of adding whole new criminal provisions! Let’s not grow government more than we have to just because big business asks for it. I’m not anti-business, but I’m always wary when big business and big government work together.

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Governors Matter.

On May 28, 2010, in General, by Neil Stevens

At RedState we’ve hammered for a long time the idea that your local politics matter. We also give plenty of attention to federal elections for the House, the Senate, and of course the President.

But governors matter, too. The next governor of South Carolina will affect us all. As will Georgia’s, Ohio’s, and Oregon’s. It doesn’t matter where you live. These Governors, as well as 26 others, are up for election this year and will have veto power over their state’s next Congressional districts.

It’s no good to win in 2010 if we have to give the House back in 2012 because the Democrats gerrymander our majority away. So let’s pay attention to these races.

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