Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Hollywood Groups Weigh In on FCC Internet Reclassification

An alphabet soup of entertainment-industry groups submitted briefs to the Federal Communications Commission today as part of its request for comment on a framework for broadband services.

Specifically, whether or not to reclassify the Internet as a telecommunications service, which would trigger all kinds of juicy regulatory power.

The Internet has been classified as an information service and not a phone service–a problem now, since a court ruling earlier this year said the FCC has no legal authority over an information service.

Rut-roh!–especially since FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has wanted power to push for net neutrality and faster broadband.

There are all kinds of complex issues at stake, from net neutrality to piracy to open Internet to broadband access–and Hollywood groups have conflicting interests, all related to content distribution.

But everyone’s obvious concern is copyright infringement and how to create rules around it without also having too much regulation or not enough freedom.

Oh, so vexing to explain and so many lawyers clearly involved, so just read this pair of briefs–one a joint filing from AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), DGA (Directors Guild of America), IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees), SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America); and the other a different take from the WGAW (Writers Guild of America, West):

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And here is Genachowski talking about a lot of this in an interview with Walt Mossberg at the eighth D: All Things Digital conference in June:


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work