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Tech at Night: The LOCAL TV Act needs retooling

Tech at Night

Well here’s an interesting development. Deb Fischer is no Ted Cruz but Heritage Action does have her slightly above average for a Republican Senator. So it caught my eye to see that she’s working with Cory Booker on the LOCAL TV Act, which would direct the FCC to study how it divides up the country into “Designated Market Areas” (DMAs) to see how some areas might be poorly served by that.

Then I saw the intent, and I think it needs some work.

As it’s being presented now, the bill sounds like it’s meant to encourage FCC to pick new winners and losers in place of the winners and losers currently chosen. Right now the DMAs are drawn to favor bigger states and bigger cities, at the expense of smaller neighbors like Booker’s New Jersey and Fischer’s Nebraska.

Booker and Fischer want the FCC to rig the rules to create new favored middlemen in their states, at the expense of their neighbors. I think that’s a bad idea. We need to get the FCC out of the business of picking winners and losers.

That said, they seem to have a point, that the current system is disfavoring some areas. I think we can fix that, and we should probably take the kernel of their idea, and modify it with a more deregulatory approach, one that will let the market move to serve underserved areas.

In particular we may want to see how the Internet and unlicensed spectrum may come into play here, to create opportunities for smaller video and radio markets to be served in new and innovative ways.

But please, no more winners and losers.


Turns out those Internet filters that a lot of us were worried about in the UK were entirely optional, and as it turns out, people are choosing to opt out, so it was a big nothingburger after all. I admit I got fooled by the complaints about this, but it was no problem at all. Probably still a bad law, but not nearly as terrible as it sounded. It’s a market intrusion, not censorship.

The blackshirts at 4chan and Anonymous apparently hate Jews and are declaring war against Israel. So much for that alleged libertarianism, fighting for Sharia and all that to be imposed by Hamas.

This makes me smile. Right now fantasy sports for some reason that makes no sense to me have an exemption from federal gambling law, but that may end. I think we need to get the feds out of gambling entirely, and bring it back to its rightful place under state control, but this makes me laugh.

So the House passed a clean STELA Satellite TV bill and the Senate finally might pass a temporary Internet tax reprieve. So we get two mediocre compromises.

Here’s another example of why DMCA takedown rules don’t need strengthened. Right now they’re already prone to abuse. We need to make filing false claims an offense, with a right of private action.

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