Tech at Night

I’m seeing some real panicked shouting online about CISPA, a new bill that some are calling “the new SOPA.” It’s absurd. The bill may not be perfect. It could have flaws. But the argument being hammered against CISPA again and again is that it may be used against copyright infringers who abuse networks. So? The only reason to oppose that is if you wish to destroy copyright property rights entirely, as the radicals do.

I warned about this way back during the SOPA debate. I predicted that the left side of the anti-SOPA coalition would try to hijack the movement into a general one against copyright, as the anarchists over there tend to do, and the shrieking over CISPA is proving me right. CISPA is not a bundle of mandates. It is an avenue to information sharing. Note that everything in CISPA is “totally voluntary,” per The Hill.

If someone and disprove that, and point to one or more mandates in CISPA, I’d like to know. Until then, the burden of proof is on the radicals to prove they’re not really out to protect Anontards and copyright infringers.

For now, it’s looking like CISPA is a solid response to The plans by the President and Democrats to expand government online, by regulating the Internet. Double regulating in fact, as every ‘critical’ industry is already regulated. So this whole “critical infrastructure” thing is more pretext than anything

Speaking of copyright, Adam Theirer suggests a parallel between copyright over-regulation and privacy over-regulation. I can see what he’s getting at, but there is one key difference between the two: copyright is a Constitutionally-enshrined principle. The nebulous concept of privacy, which in practice often amounts to buyer’s remorse of people who give away their information in exchange for free services, but then regret it, is not.

That said, when Obama talks about a huge new Privacy regulatory scheme, I worry. FCC is already grabbing power online through Net Neutrality. The administration and Lieberman-Collins are trying to bring DHS online. Now Obama wants FTC online, too?

Remember that “retransmission consent” scuffle between Jim DeMint and the ACU? DeMint is supporting a bill that would deregulate the process by which cable companies negotiate to retransmit over the air broadcasts. Here’s a defense of ACU’s position. I would suggest that we remember the fundamental reason for retransmission consent rules: a desire to have government protect over the air broadcasters from being stepped around by cable companies. All local broadcasters have to do in order to keep their feeds from being swiped entirely, is to include copyrighted content that would be illegal to be rebroadcast.

So that’s not the fear. The fear is that cable companies will negotiate directly copyright holders to rebroadcast the specific works, without keeping the Local News at 11, shutting out the local broadcaster entirely. The fear is an open market and free wheeling competition. So I support the DeMint plan. Defang the FCC.

So let’s have some more FCC: Bloomberg apparently wants Cable Neturality against Comcast, demanding government regulation of channel lineups. Give me a break. I don’t want Nanny FCC dictating channel numbers.

FCC seems to be doing the job of GSA by trying to facilitate potential government contractors. Now why would they do that? Oh right, the Obama GSA is corrupt.

Attention Brian Bilbray, Joe Pitts, and Lindsey Graham: You are allying with John Kerry. Pull up now before it’s too late. Defense came out against the LightSquared plan. FCC ruled against it. The combination of the two seems pretty conclusive, particularly when FCC is obstructing Chuck Grassley on the matter of favoritism in favor of LightSquared.

Trademark Wars: Rosetta Stone goes after Google. I don’t know, if your name is Rosetta Stone, that’s a pretty generic name for translations. There may or not be a legitimate case for calling AdWords shenanigans trademark dilution, but a generic name like Rosetta Stone, based on an actual historical object, seems like a bad case for me.

Jim DeMint sounds skeptical on the matter of a sales tax interstate compact. DeMint suggests that the compact is a way for high tax states to avoid having to compete for jobs, and that the net effect is a tax hike. I think that’s a reasonable position, but I disagree. I think if we reform sales tax in this way, and add careful safeguards to avoid a true national sales tax, this could broaden tax bases and allow states to have simpler tax regimes. Tax simplification has benefits as well, as Ronald Reagan saw in 1986.

It’s on: The Holder DoJ is suing Apple for working with book publishers to try to rig the online book market against Amazon and book purchasers, as buyer and seller tried to rig the market for the agency pricing model to prop prices up higher.

There may be facts that haven’t come out, and the law against this may or may not be good, but as it stands, they sound pretty guilty to me. It doesn’t help that the key information about this seems to have come out in a post-mortem Steve Jobs biography.

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Nima Jooyandeh facts.