12/24/2010

What those pushing "net neutrality" are after

Fairly depressing that these liberal foundations have been so successful in pushing new regulations. Price regulations will probably lead to more government intervention in the future, and possibly the elimination of private companies involved in the internet. From the WSJ:

The net neutrality vision for government regulation of the Internet began with the work of Robert McChesney, a University of Illinois communications professor who founded the liberal lobby Free Press in 2002. Mr. McChesney's agenda? "At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies," he told the website SocialistProject in 2009. "But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control."

A year earlier, Mr. McChesney wrote in the Marxist journal Monthly Review that "any serious effort to reform the media system would have to necessarily be part of a revolutionary program to overthrow the capitalist system itself." Mr. McChesney told me in an interview that some of his comments have been "taken out of context." He acknowledged that he is a socialist and said he was "hesitant to say I'm not a Marxist." . . .

Free Press has been funded by a network of liberal foundations that helped the lobby invent the purported problem that net neutrality is supposed to solve. They then fashioned a political strategy similar to the one employed by activists behind the political speech restrictions of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform bill. The methods of that earlier campaign were discussed in 2004 by Sean Treglia, a former program officer for the Pew Charitable Trusts, during a talk at the University of Southern California. Far from being the efforts of genuine grass-roots activists, Mr. Treglia noted, the campaign-finance reform lobby was controlled and funded by foundations like Pew.

"The idea was to create an impression that a mass movement was afoot," he told his audience. He noted that "If Congress thought this was a Pew effort, it'd be worthless." . . .


According to the WSJ, the regulations might be used to kill HULU.

One of Washington’s proposed conditions on the Comcast-NBC U deal will force the merged company to offer NBC’s shows to any Web competitor.

So what does that mean for Hulu, which has already locked up exclusive rights to NBC’s Web video?

A couple of possible answers: Perhaps Federal Communications Commission head Julius Genachowski is trying to put a fork in Hulu. . . .

Background: Each of Hulu’s three partners/owners–GE’s NBC, News Corp.’s Fox and Disney’s ABC–has agreed to mutual exclusivity pacts. If you want to watch one of their shows for free online, you can see them on the networks’ own sites, or via Hulu–either on the main site itself, or via other sites that are taking Hulu’s feed. (News Corp. also owns this Web site.)

But one of the primary conditions Genachowski wants to place on FCC approval for the Comcast-NBC deal is that Web competitors will get access to NBC’s shows, . . . .

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