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Of course we should expect this from a Congress that seems more intent on protecting the 1% and sticking it to the 99%. In the same week it is considering breaking the Internet to protect the big media companies from Internet piracy, a bill is introduced that would allow cable and satellite providers to pirate content.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) apparently think so based on the cable- and satellite-friendly bill they submitted today called the Next Generation Television Marketplace Act. It would end retransmission consent — the rules that require pay TV providers to negotiate deals with local broadcasters to carry their programming. It doesn't stop there: The proposal also would end restrictions that enable syndicators to sell shows exclusively into different markets. And it would scrap rules that bar cable companies from importing network programming from out-of-market stations when they can't strike deals with local broadcasters. DeMint used the trendy magic words — "job creation" — to support the bill. To promote innovation, he says, "we need to stop issuing new regulations and instead remove and modernize rules written to address the last century’s business and regulatory models." DirecTV agrees, saying that the proposal would "eliminate byzantine regulations that shackle innovation, competition and consumer choice."

Is Congress Prepared To Deregulate Television?

If passed the law would end the usual retransmission hostage-taking we get to enjoy about once a year when the local content providers and the cable people fight over the fees the operators will pay. It would go back to the old days when cable and satellite providers could transmit local programing without paying for it and if they can't agree with the local content creators the providers could then simply replace the programing with similar programing from out of the market.

I feel that cable and satellite providers should pay something for retransmitting local content since I pay for it on my cable bill. Some of that money should go to the local content creators.

How is that fair when Congress wants to go after websites that steal content without due process while looking the other way if cable and satellite providers do it.

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Comment Preferences

  •  tipped & recced, this needs to be discussed. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I don't have cable, so I don't have a horse in this race, or even a bet on a horse.

    DeMint is a detestable nasty mean person, so we should always be highly skeptical of anything that comes after his name that isn't sworn to by an independent witness.  

    However, the present situation where television content is dictated by deal-making between people who for the most part could care less about the public interest, is not acceptable.

    What's needed is a uniform and fair rule-set, with predictable outcomes, that serves the public interest.  

    Toward that end, there needs to be a fair and regulated market mechanism for retransmission of content, for carrying local broadcasters over cable networks, and so on.

    What's also needed is to open up the rabbit-ears broadcast airwaves to small locally-owned stations, both commercial and noncommercial, and to enable those stations to obtain content from a variety of sources.

    "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 08:28:41 PM PST

  •  a la carte cable: a win-win solution: (6+ / 0-)

    While we're doing all the rest of this, one thing that's conspicuously absent from DeMint's proposal, that we can win on by insisting it be included, is something called "a la carte cable."  That would enable subscribers to choose the channels they get, and pay for what they choose, and not have to pay for content they have no desire to see.

    Sports fans could subscribe to more sports channels, science fans could subscribe to more science channels, movie channels would cater to every taste from the classics to the latest independent releases, and so on.  

    But here's the dirty little secret.  

    If we get "a la carte cable", guess who is going to lose?

    Yes, that's right, Rupert Murdoch.

    Because millions of households will immediately vote with their dollars to switch off Fox and all of its tentacles.  Perhaps some of them will pay-per-view to watch The Simpsons or something.  But the Murdoch gravy train of being automatically included in the "basic rate," will be O-V-E-R.

    We don't have to emphasize the vanquishment of Sir Rupie to the troll's den in the forest.  All we have to say is that "a la carte cable" will give every household the choice of paying for what it wants to see, and not paying for what it doesn't want to see.  Everybody likes choice, everybody likes not having to pay for stuff they don't want, and everybody agrees they should pay for what they do want.  It's a no-brainer, an absolute winner, and ought to be in the Democratic platform.

    How it would work in practice:  The cable company offers quantities of channels, but you get to choose which channels you receive: this much for up to 20 channels, this much more for each additional block of 10 channels (choose which ones you want in each block), and then premium pricing for special services that have high costs for whatever reason (e.g. sports channels that have expensive deals with the major leagues, first-run movie channels, etc.).  

    If they did that, I would probably get cable.  So would a lot of people who don't have it now.  

    Democrats need to insert this into the bill, pronto.

    "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 08:31:05 PM PST

    •  We discarded cable years ago except for internet. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We buy the few shows we watch and watch other stuff from the streaming services Netflix and Hulu Plus. Tons cheaper since we only watch about 2 hours a night counting Rachel or Ed or Lawrence... (they all talk mostly about the same stuff so it varies). Now movies I go crazy but we either stream or buy them.

      I am trying to cut the cable internet umbilical by going 3G or 4G .... So far can't get it figured but I will. But boy i really hate the cable company... They have had a monopoly in my home town for 45 years ... far longer then was required to pay back investment for laying lines and they really rip you off.  And thier programming stinks.

      Fear is the Mind Killer

      by boophus on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 10:18:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This seems to be a great idea. (0+ / 0-)

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