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Tech at Night: Comcast, NBC, Internet, FCC, Republicans, Google

Tech at Night

I went ahead and took Martin Luther King day off, so it’s a double dose of stories to cover tonight. Though first, in case you missed it, make sure to see my post today on Marsha Blackburn‘s call to action against stifling, destabilizing Internet and technology regulation.

Other than that, the big story this week so far has been the FCC finally approving the NBC Universal/Comcast merger. I don’t even know why the center-left is even supposed to be worried about that merger at this point. After all, they passed Net Neutrality, right? Anyway, it’s a real shame that this approval has only come with a number of special set asides for left-wing causes, but as I’ve said before, I’m guessing the shareholders will take what they can get after all of this delay.

Of course, the neo-Marxists are sobbing hysterically about this development. Let’s all pause, lower our heads, and take a moment to laugh at Free Press’s Josh Silver.

Unfortunately, NBC Universal doesn’t come to the table with entirely clean hands. NBC is actively promoting the criminalization of copyright through an ever-expanding mandate for government to patrol the Internet for copyright infringement. If civil law is good enough for patents, then it’s good enough for copyrights. We don’t arrest corporate executives for patent infringement, after all. What’s good for them should be good for all Americans who infringe on copyrights, patents, and trademarks, I say.

Quick hits: Seton Motley says Net Neutrality is worse than Obamacare, while Democrats continue to push for content regulation by the FCC beyond even the Fairness Doctrine, on as far as to shield members of Congress from criticism that may endanger their re-election (well, they’re not saying that in so many words but, much as with the BCRA, that’s what the upshot is). And while I previously pointed out that the FCC is actively trolling for a Net Neutrality test case, what’s crazy is that they’re now even documenting tricks on forum shopping to back up their unlawful power grab.

Here’s name I think is new to Tech at Night: Josh Treviño says a court case we should watch is FCC v AT&T. The facts of the case take a moment to digest, and I would urge you to read Josh’s post, but it seems that the FCC abused AT&T to favor the firm’s competitors. Picking winners and losers, where have we heard that before?

Competition continues to shake up the Wireless market, meanwhile. AT&T sent me (as a customer) an email recently suggesting that they will join T-Mobile in making a big push to advertise HSPA+ technology as “4G.” I consider that misleading, because HSPA+ can’t compete with the “true 4G” WiMAX and LTE technologies currently deployed by Verizon and Sprint/Clearwire, but it is technically an upgrade for their existing “3G” networks, I suppose.

On the other hand, Sprint seems so confident that its WiMAX network will impress users of the best phones that they’re charging an extra $10/mo “Premium Data” fee.

Moving on, remember when Google tearfully announced that they were going to pull full HTML 5 support from Chrome, to attack the iOS-friendly H.264 video standard in favor of Google’s own embraced-and-extended VP8 codec? Well it turns out Youtube will continue to send out H.264. Of course they will: free content gets free licensing from MPEG LA to stream H.264 online. Still no assurances from Google that they’ll indemnify from MPEG LA lawsuits any VP8 implementers, though.

And a final note tonight: Can somebody please read the Constitution to California Democrats? Especially the part about interstate commerce being under the jurisdiction of the feds, not the states. California Democrats are again trying to pass an “Amazon tax”, taxing out-of-state retailers with no California presence on sales to California residents, which is the clearest possible description of an act of interstate commerce.

Of course, when they can’t even spell Sacramento correctly in the above link, the Constitution is probably far beyond their grasp. it’s over 100 years old, you know.

P.S. If this bill passes, Amazon will likely pull the Amazon Affiliates program from all California residents. So if you’re in that program, and you live in California, you have a personal stake in this.

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