Streaming video by

Why FilmOn, Aereo, and others should not qualify for copyright’s cable compulsory license.

FilmOn is a more-obscure-but-less-inefficient version of Aereo, which recently folded after its attempts to use the Internet to retransmit broadcast TV content were rejected by the US Supreme Court, and then by lower courts on remand. Why then, has a federal judge issued a ruling in favor of FilmOn, one that conflicts with most existing interpretations of US copyright law?
Broadband by

Akamai on broadband: A few surprises and a new (but useless) metric

Akamai’s most recent “State of the Internet” report is 60 pages of insightful data on broadband around the world. The report contains reiterations of many things we already knew (including that the US is not, in fact, falling behind), but also offers some surprising insights into IPv6 adoption and a completely new – albeit somewhat useless – metric.
Playing favorites by

The price of progress: Rent seeking in the FCC’s approval of the AT&T/DirecTV merger

Operating under its broad public interest standard, the FCC is largely free to ask firms for an almost unlimited range of concessions in exchange for favorable outcomes in matters before the commission. Such rent-seeking is business as usual. In the merger context, the only practical limit on what the commission can request is however much the parties are willing to give up before walking away from the deal. Past examples have included requiring firms to make “voluntary” donations to support public safety initiatives, agreeing to abide by net neutrality requirements that had been rejected by the courts, offering wholesale discounts to competitors, repatriating outsourced jobs, offering discounted accesses to disadvantaged communities, and more. While these conditions often represent laudable goals, they often are unrelated to the matter before the commission. And they frequently impose obligations upon the transaction that are otherwise outside of the commission’s legal authority.
Data caps by

5 things OTI gets wrong about data caps. Including using the term “data caps.”

Earlier this month, the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute (OTI) released a short paper attacking usage-based broadband pricing. Provocatively entitled “Artificial Scarcity,” it purports to show “how data caps harm consumers and innovation.” But the report is short on evidence in support of its proposition, and overall it fails to present a balanced view of various broadband pricing strategies. While there are several points worth discussing, this blog post will focus on five key errors.