Mainstream Media Commercial
“The only way democratic, capitalist societies have ever been able to lift the bottom is by investing in capacity for the bottom and the places where you get that money is from the very tippy-top because, right now, that’s where it all is.
We don’t live in a volunteer society. We live in a society that requires all of us to pull together. Try using that [radical individualist] attitude at the next company meeting. I’ve run a lot of companies and once in a while somebody will pop-up with this attitude. You know what we do with those people? We fire them; Both because they’re useless and they’re poisonous to the culture. The simple fact is that important things don’t get done on a volunteer basis.
It’s ridiculous and it’s fundamentally flawed. If it was true that less taxes and less regulation and less government would create prosperity, then some place on Earth there would be this Libertarian Utopia where nobody paid any taxes, nobody followed any rules and everybody lived like a king. Prosperity [has always been] linked to our investment in society. That’s why, of the 195 countries on Earth, the only prosperous ones, are ones that are high taxed, high regulation and high government. And anywhere you find somebody employing limited government, it’s a hell-hole.
The Regan legacy was a legacy of deficits. Regan was a Keynesian, he invented deficit spending. 1980 is not 2010. The simple facts are that the middle class has been eviscerated to the point where you can’t give them a tax break big enough to generate the kind of demand you need to get this economy going. If middle class Americans retained the same share of income today as they did in 1980, the average American would have $15,000 more per year to spend. The problem is that we have structured an economy and a society that asymmetrically benefits people like me. It’s not fair and it’s horrible for business. That’s my fundamental point. I am not a liberal do-gooder.”
—Nick Hanauer, mega-rich venture capitalist
Television networks are having a busy month trying to stamp out new TV-watching technology, including telling a court that skipping a commercial while watching a recorded show is illegal. Yesterday, Fox, NBC, and CBS all sued Dish Network over its digital video recorder with automatic commercial-skipping. The same networks, plus ABC, Univision, and PBS, are gearing up for a May 30 hearing in their cases against Aereo, a New York startup bringing local broadcast TV to the Internet. EFF and Public Knowledge filed an amicus brief supporting Aereo this week.
The suits against Dish are a response to the “Hopper” DVR and its “Auto Hop” feature, which automatically skips over commercials. According to the networks’ complaints, the Hopper automatically records eight days’ worth of prime time programming on the four major networks that subscribers can play back on request. Beginning a few hours after the broadcast, viewers can choose to watch a program sans ads.
These suits are yet another in a long and ignominious series of lawsuits by content owners seeking to control the features of personal electronic devices, and to capture for themselves the value of new technologies no matter who invents them. We’ve seen this movie before. Most directly, the Dish suits look like a replay of the 2002 suit against DVR maker ReplayTV. The networks sued ReplayTV for copyright infringement based on another automated commercial-skip feature. They claimed that viewers were infringing copyright when they skipped ads during playback, that skipping “robs the advertisers,” and that ReplayTV should be responsible. EFF argued then, and in a later suit on behalf of Replay’s customers, that choosing not to watch ads during playback is pretty far from being a violation of federal law. Unfortunately, the cost of the suit drove ReplayTV out of business before the court could rule on the networks’ wacky theory.
Fast forward ten years. The networks are accusing Dish of “inducing” copyright infringement. That’s a legal theory first created in the record labels’ case against peer-to-peer software maker Grokster. The problem for the networks is that a technology maker, service, or other middleman can’t be held liable for inducing copyright infringement unless their customers are actually infringing. And that means the networks will have to convince a judge that people who record a TV show, and later decide to skip over the commercials during playback, are violating federal law.
Dish is fighting back hard, filing its own lawsuit in New York to have its devices ruled legal. Hopefully, the courts won’t turn millions of American commercial-skippers into lawbreakers.
“This is not a volunteer nation. This is a democracy. We all must work together.
If it was true that less taxes and less regulation and less government would create prosperity then some place on Earth there would be this libertarian utopia where nobody paid any taxes, nobody followed any rules and everybody lived like a king.
Prosperity is linked to our investment in society. That’s why, of the 195 countries on Earth, the only prosperous ones are those with high taxes, high regulation and have big government. And anywhere you find a place with limited government, it’s a hell-hole.”