Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Netflix-Backed Video-Sharing Bill Moves Ahead, Again

expendablesGood news for Netflix: Legislation the company has backed, designed to let people share their video-rental history on the Web, passed the U.S. House yesterday.

The bad news: Netflix went through the same exercise a year ago, but the bill never made it out of Congress.

So it’s way too early for CEO Reed Hastings and company to celebrate. Still, it shows that the company’s lobbying effort, designed to tweak the 1988 “Bork Law”* that prohibits disclosing movie-rental information, has gotten some traction.

In many countries outside the U.S., Netflix already has an integration with Facebook that lets users tell their pals what they’re watching. Hastings, who is also a Facebook board member, has wanted to do the same thing for American Facebook users for the last couple years.

*The earlier law stemmed from Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s confirmation hearings, in which his video-rental history surfaced. The Senate ultimately blocked Bork’s appointment; he died Wednesday morning.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald