yesterday's testimony before the House Commerce Subcomittee on the Internet provided the expected half-truths and hysteria from Big Content, as they thrash about in a desperate attempt to preserve their creaky, capital-intensive business models.
News Corp COO Peter Chernin opened with a lame joke about "agressively pioneering this Committee's brand-new video conference technology," the coaxial equivalent of "Congressmen, i just flew in from New York and, boy, are my arms tired!" after some unnecessarily complicated, jargon-laden history behind the Broadcast Prodtection Discussion Group (whose activities the EFF has documented here), Chernin gets to the point Rupert Murdoch sent him to make:
it is critical that Congress play an active role in ensuring that the parties reach a consensus on how to solve this problem as quickly as technologically possible.Ý This is an Internet problem that needs to be solved at Internet speed.Ý As with the broadcast flag and analog hole solutions, we will need Congress to codify the solution to the illegal download problem.Ý
in other words, while the BPDG looks and sounds like a non-binding, consensus-based, cross-industry standards group, that just won't do for Big Content. they need their secret conclave's decisions to carry the force of law. AOL Time Warner's Richard Parsons is standing shoulder to shoulder with his Big Content cartel-mate:
the main impetus will come from business, AND WEíre strongly committed to WORKING WITH OUR COLLEAGUES ACROSS THE RELEVANT INDUSTRIES.Ý Yet, itís clear to me -- and i believe thereís a growing consensus across the entertainment, computer and consumer electronics industries -- that at certain critical points our work must be complemented by targeted government action TO SUPPORT PRIVATE-SECTOR solutions. [bizarre emphasis AOLTW's]
besides the Subcommittee's token inclusion of DigitalConsumer's Joe Kraus, there was one bright spot from an unexpected source. Philips Consumer Electronics of America CEO Larry Blanford didn't appear to have taken a sip from Big Content's Kool-Aid:
the current direction embodied in the on-going Broadcast Protection Discussion Group addressing ways to prevent Internet Retransmission of digital television broadcasts is not in the interest of sound public policy, is not in the best interest of the affected industries and is certainly not in the interest of the consumer.
this is, after all, a unit of the same company that balked at corrupted audio CDs carrying the Compact Disc logo. (via Washington Post)