Tech at Night: A message to Mike Lee about Comcast.

On April 9, 2014, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

Mike Lee, we’re your friends here at RedState. We backed you in the primary, and we’re sure to back you going forward. But please, lay off on his Comcast/Time Warner deal. The arguments you’re making, at least as portrayed by The Hill, are the same arguments that were used falsely to fool conservatives into backing the Net Neutrality power grab. Now they’re being used to trick us into backing an antitrust power grab.

First off, even if Net Neutrality wasn’t fixing an imaginary threat, the kind of discrimination you’re talking about is already banned by consent decree from the Comcast – NBC Universal deal. So your fears are doubly unfounded. But don’t take my word for it. Let the market work. Markets are how all of us speak, and we know better than government.

Patent reform should go beyond just patent troll fixes. Now, House patent troll efforts make sense to me, but we are issuing too many bad patents, probably because we’re giving USPTO a funding incentive to issue too many bad patents. I’m not saying we need to defund USPTO, but we need to give it a fixed budget to remove any incentive to issue bad patents.

Mark Cuban’s self-deleting texts idea, Cyber Dust, is dangerous. It’s dangerous not because of how he says it will work, but it’s dangerous because people will believe him, and when people hack the app to store the messages and photos sent, people will get hurt. It’s dangerously negligent for him to suggest teenagers send sensitive things with such an app. Shame on Mark Cuban. He should know better.

Because you know what? Kids are incredibly stupid about this stuff, and it’s way too easy for a kid to be convinced to take a photo that will be regretted later.

I’m disappointed to hear that a number of Republicans oppose reform efforts to end the special subsidy that radio broadcasters have, getting to broadcast other people’s works without having to negotiate payment for the use of those works. If Pandora has to pay, then so should terrestrial radio. It’s only fair, and it’s a market solution to the problem of how to organize this.

Another place we need market forces is in video retransmission consent agreements. Right now the scales are tilted in favor of terrestrial broadcasters and against cable and satellite. As with radio, when new technologies came, the old, entrenched players went to DC and got the rules written in their favor. We need retransmission consent reform.

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