[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: [dvd-discuss] ClearChannel Plays It Safe
- To: dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
- Subject: Re: [dvd-discuss] ClearChannel Plays It Safe
- From: Michael.A.Rolenz(at)aero.org
- Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2001 08:28:28 -0700
- Reply-To: dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
- Sender: owner-dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
Your reply is better than the one I just banged out so I won't waste the
bandwidth sending it but there are a few additional points to be made
Bryan Taylor wrote
>Often the public service IS the use of the public resource.
According to This argument, the silliest sitcom broadcast becomes a public
SERVICE? So that argument doesn't hold although I know the network would
love that argument. What's good for the network is good for America?
>What public resource is consumed by radio or TV?
To communicate one requires POWER and BANDWIDTH both (Shannon). Power is
supplied by the power company and paid for by the broadcast service.
BANDWIDTH is licensed from the spectrum which is owned by the public.
THerefore, public resources are required by radio and TV. Why is it owned
by the public? you might as well argue that the public doesn't own the air
Jeme Brelin wrote
>It would only be a matter of time before wealthiest had all the rights to
Look at this in terms of a game. If I know that you can afford to bid
$100M and I can bid $200M, I bid $101M. I win. Now the next time, you say
that I have $99M and you can outbid me. But that's true only if I can't
get back a 2% return on my investment. Look at next time. The second time
I outbid you, I only need a 1% return to outbid you the third time. Change
the $200M by $2000M and the equations get even more imbalanced. You've
seen this before in a slightly different guise in the form of the
Jeme A Brelin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent by: email@example.com
09/18/01 08:40 PM
Please respond to dvd-discuss
To: Openlaw DMCA Forum <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: [dvd-discuss] ClearChannel Plays It Safe
On Tue, 18 Sep 2001, Bryan Taylor wrote:
> > The use of public resources brings the responsibility of public
> > service.
> What is the legal basis for this? Public service is an entirely
> voluntary activity as far as I'm concerned. It might be admirable, but
> it certainly isn't obligatory.
The Telecommunications Act of 1933 and 1996 and FCC regulations.
Did you think so-called Public Service Announcements were entirely
The amount and type of public service and public interest content has
steadily declined since the public airwaves were allowed to be licensed to
for-profit companies, but to this day there is at least token obligation
to public service for use of the public airwaves.
> Due process of law requires whatever consideration must be given for
> use of public resources to be specified unambiguously ahead of time.
> Often the public service IS the use of the public resource.
What? Simply USING a public resource is not a public service. That's
Public resources must be used IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST. If the stewards of
our public resources (our government) fail to enact sufficient
requirements for public service in exchange for limited use of public
resources, then they have failed.
> What public resource is consumed by radio or TV? As far as I can tell,
> the use of public frequencies to communicate doesn't require any
> public resources, and it only increases the public's access to ideas.
The exclusive use of a particular frequency range is the consumption of a
> As I've said, the problem with the FCC is their needless exclusion of
> small players from the AM and FM bands.
Every attempt by the FCC to increase the public interest requirement (or
block a decrease) has been met by Congress with a threat to review the
need for the FCC at all. Congress has a stake in for-profit media and the
money and support it gives during election time.
> I think the rights to broadcast on a frequency are a ownable asset,
> not a public resource.
Well, here's where you're mistaken when it comes to the law.
While it is de facto ownable, the law allows the FCC to review and revoke
licenses held by corporations that change hands or branch into other
industries. This ability is never exercised, just as corporate charters
are almost never revoked by states even though they have that right.
Again, it's the law, it's just not enforced.
> The government should be involved only to the extent needed to assure
> that property rights are respected.
If broadcast frequencies were an ownable asset with all the associated
property rights of, say, a shoe or a book, Rupert Murdoch would simply buy
them all up.
No, they are public assets that are licensed to broadcasters under some
conditions, one of which is public interest use.
While that public interest requirement has been anemic and never enforced
with real threat of license revocation, it is still the law.
> I have no doubt that companies use their broadcasting rights in a way
> that they feel is moral. When you disagree, don't listen to them.
A corporation is not moral. It has one objective: To maximize profits.
Any other goal could undermine that purpose and spell certain death.
> > But a corporation cannot be moral. It can ONLY make decisions based
> > what maximizes shareholder value. In the realm of commercial
> > broadcasting, this means service to the sponsor, not to the public.
> That's silly. Companies do things all the time purely for altruistic
> reasons. You should examine some of the big checks that various
> corporations have written this week to the Red Cross.
Yeah? Point to a company that gave more than $10,000 to the Red Cross and
DID NOT issue a press release or alter its usual "charitable donation
write-offs" to account for the money.
PR and tax deductions are both methods used to maximize profits.
> > Choosing not to place certain songs on the global satellite feed is
> > thing. Banning all local deejays and station managers from playing
> > certain songs (at the risk of their jobs) is censorship. This is most
> > true when the broadcaster has monopolistic or cartel control over a
> > "market" or broadcast region.
> The latter half of your statement is the real problem, and it's
> directly attributable to the government.
Monopolies and oligopolies would only be MORE prevalent if broadcast
rights were treated like property, bought and sold to the highest bidder.
It would only be a matter of time before wealthiest had all the rights to
While that's functionally true today, it is still theoretically possible
to put that power back into the hands of the people or to hold those with
broadcast license to a public interest requirement.
> The first half of your statement is absurd. You are saying that you
> cannot hire somebody to operate your electronics in a way you want.
> DJ's voluntarily agree to select songs from the stations playlist in
> exchange for pay. Failure to do this is breech of contract, which in
> addition to justifying the loss of their job, should also entitle the
> radio station to any actual damages caused, if applicable. DJ's who
> want playlist freedom can negotiate for it in their contract.
It is censorship when you control all of the radio broadcast in a given
area. That's a violation of the public trust.
> > Each and every broadcast frequency is a public forum.
> You are expressing a dissenting view about how things "should be". I
> hope that you recognize that "as is", legally, this isn't true.
> Legally, the rights to broadcast are an ownable private resource.
I think you should re-read both of the Telecommunications Acts and come
back. You're sorely mistaken.
Oh, and while you're at it, read "The Media Monopoly" by Ben Begdikian and
"Rich Media, Poor Democracy" by Robert W. McChesney.
Jeme A Brelin