|AT&T Says "Open Wide the Prison Doors" For Netizens|
|Sunday, 12 October 2008 11:15|
Sarah Deutsch of Verizon, we need you in D.C. Verizon and every other carrier is likely to face millions in expenses when the new "copyright czar" enforces the latest "protect ten companies law" that lobbyists pushed through the U.S. Congress. AT&T has been one of the strogest supporters, although the bill attacks AT&T customers. I assume this is a favor trade among D.C. insiders (?Cicconi and Padden.) Two ex-presidential staffers, Mark McKinnon and Mike McCurry, take the money
Hollywood is doing their share, including making untrue claims in their latest lobbying effort, arts+labs. The least they can do is to make sure their paid advocates get the basic facts right. McKinnon couldn't even explain "intelligent networks" much less prove they are necessary.
I'm writing this to show the part of the sausage factory that produces these ridiculous bills. 80-90% of U.S. voters would rather the government dealt with the economy and the war rather than wasting effort on making Mike Eisner his next half-a-billion. Most would oppose this nonsense at any time. Few U.S. families don't have a member who could go to jail if Hollywood got what it wanted. The same is true in France, England, and most of the developed world.
Part of the answer is Hollywood money, glamour, and some exceptional lobbyists (Padden, Valenti.) I'm also seeing a trail of a favor trade, even when it's against their own company's interest and what their CEO testified in the Senate. A few Washington insiders notice, possibly including some who influence votes. Few other are aware of the role AT&T plays, so they can do it unhindered.
A shoutout to Verizon and Sarah Deutsch for standing up for their customers. The czarina or czarina will need to prove they are "effective." Deutsch played an important role bringing the DMCA closer to reality, out of Verizon's self-interest. Under this one, half the readers of this note could be prosecuted with government money.
Hollywood seems to be observing their part of the bargain. Time Warner supported the copyright czar in D.C. At about the same time, one of the most senior Time Warner officials back at the mothership was worrying that the telcos would do precisely that. He thought it would be a disaster for their company.
This story was inspired by Hollywood's latest propaganda mill, where McKinnon insists "intelligent networks" are required. That's not merely illogical, but it's also untrue. At AT&T Labs, David Isenberg wrote a seminal paper suggesting it would be more effective and much cheaper to take advantage of ever cheaper Internet bandwidth rather than spending on "intelligence" and the huge technical staff that requires. Two of the moat successful networks in the world - Free.fr and Yahoo BB in Japan - are an existence proof that not can be the best policy.
Deutsche Telekom and AT&T have had multi-billion dollar over runs because they over-engineered their network, and will need every year to pay an army of engineers. Free.fr has taken four million customers from France Telecom, profitably, partly because their costs are so much lower. Iliad/Free handles three times the traffic per user as Comcast, but his costs are about half.
WIth luck, the new officials will do nothing but make a lot of speeches and waste some government money. They will hae accomplished one goal - Dan Glickman at MPAA can show his studio bosses they are getting something for the millions they are paying. More likely, the appointees will look for something to do to prove they are effective, such as sending thousands of subpoenas on a regular basis. Hollywood has "five families" a handful of companies who control all the money. Music has four main record companies. Nine companies are not worth constant diplomatic problems.
Coming along next secretly negotiated "shut 'em down" ACTA treaties. Even members of Congress can't find out what's in the negotiations, but they want to get it through before Bush leaves.