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Re: [dvd-discuss] ClearChannel Plays It Safe
- To: dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
- Subject: Re: [dvd-discuss] ClearChannel Plays It Safe
- From: Bryan Taylor <bryan_w_taylor(at)yahoo.com>
- Date: Sun, 23 Sep 2001 12:47:27 -0700 (PDT)
- In-Reply-To: <F8JCWI5Sr4cFyG8n4EA00006cb5@hotmail.com>
- Reply-To: dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
- Sender: owner-dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
--- Harold Eaton <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> The RF spectrum is in no way "YOUR" resources - I cannot use them
> while Clear Channel can. The government organized it this way and most
> radio stations paid absolutely nothing for this privilege.
They pay the operating costs, including the salary of the DJ, if they want to
control his play list, that's their editorial discretion.
> Actually the FCC grant of the station licenses was the legal basis
> for the public service requirements - that's why the monopolies
> were granted for free. It's just that the current FCC brass doesn't
> care to enforce the public service requirements so they readily accept
> token service as adequate.
The full extent of the public service requirement I've been able to find is the
"Fairness Doctrine" which says that news coverage has to present opposing
viewpoints and the requirement to play political ads. The Supreme Court
decision I cited before makes it clear that this public service relies on,
rather than opposes, the exercising editiorial discretion.
> Resources need not be *consumed* to be resources. Consider water: it
> is almost never consumed (broken into constituent atoms), it just
> circulates round and round like electrons in a power lines. Still it
> is a resource of limited extent - not everbody can use the same water
> at the same time.
I don't think most people consider sewer water to be very valuable. The
resource of interest to the market is CLEAN water. If you can better way to
make drinkable water from sea water or sewage, then the market will reward you
handsomely, as it should.
> Perhaps you would have no problem with granting
> a few elite corporations free rights to all water flowing through
> major rivers in the US with only the public service requirement that
> they "use" the resource.
That's a bit absurd, and hasn't happened and isn't likely to happen.
Actually, water shows precisely the kind of system that I am advocating. Water
and mineral rights generally are property. There is no public service
requirement for water you remove from a private well. Lots of private
individuals own mineral rights they got under the homestead laws. Once
government plays its role to define the scope of that property, water is
(mostly) handled by the free market, and it works pretty well.
> If they chose to "use" it in such a way that
> your city (or state for that matter) should just shut up and accept it
> since it's their ownership right to do as they like and there is no
> public interest in doing otherwise! Property rights damn it! We've
> got to protect their property rights! They BUILT the damns that stopped
> the water from getting anywhere near your lips after all!
Huh? A dam creates power by allowing water to pass. The net flow through a dam,
after it's resevoir size stabilizes is precisely equal to the average flow
before. I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about with regard to
keeping water from my lips, since I have more options for drinking water than I
can think about.
> Suppose that a single corporation was granted broadcast rights to all
> broadcast medium and they were the only ones able to rapidly reach
> a nationwide audience. You argument sees no problem with this situation
> and we're probably less than 100 years away from that situation given
> current trends. >Just turn them off if you don't agree - never mind
> that they effectively control what most of the population thinks by
> controlling what information they can get easy access to.
The scenario you describe proves my point. Any system besides first come first
serve embeds the government with the power to "grant" a monopoly. I've said it
at least four times -- the problem is that the FCC is discriminating. A system
that embeds government with control over the market will fail inevitably. The
response that works is the free market, not greater government control.
> Strange, most of them have also paid for advertisements to state exactly
> how much money they're giving... as PURE altruism as you'll ever find.
So what. It roughly balances out the voices of all the people who chatter on
and on about how evil they are. They have a reasonable case for wanting to get
the facts out.
> I do agree that corporations are perfectly able to act morally,
> evengenerously on occasions. However they're also able to act selfishly,
> unethically, and even illegally much of the time and in most corporate
> crime cases the punishments are insignificant.
I agree completely. Companies are neither absolutely good nor absolutely bad.
They take on the ethics of their decision makers.
> So you believe that if the FCC revokes a radio statio's license for
> repeated indecency fractions that the station would be able to sue
> for damages under a "takings" premise even though they paid nothing
> for the rights??
Yes, just as people who own homesteaded farmland would be entitled to takings
compensation even though they paid nothing. I recognize that here, I'm
advocating a "should be" rather than an "as is". I think the "seven dirty
words" regulations and the Supreme Court decision upholding them are absolutely
wrong. Every time I hear a song with the profanity edited out so it can be
played on the radio I curse the FCC. If you want to talk about censorship. THAT
> Recent new spectrum allocations have been done on an auction basis,
> but you seem to be unaware that before that recent change, licenses
> were free (except for that pesky public service requirement) to those rich
> and powerful enough to get them. But hey, now that they've got
> those rights over the airwaves on your property, it's their private
Free to those rich and powerful enough to get them !? Why weren't they free to
all? That is the problem.
> Supose you own a very large tract of land and set up a
> low power transmitter at the center such that only a very sensitive
> radio receiver with a very high gain (i.e. highly directional
> antenna) aimed straight at your transmitter could even detect the
> RF presence from outside your property. This could never cause
> interference to anybody outside your property, yet you'd be in violation
> of federal law for using the "private property" of folks like
> Clear Channel. That's a hell of a property right they've
> got there.
There is no reason that the real estate property right has to coincide with the
broadcasting property right. Mineral rights are often separate. With
broadcasting, unless you allow this, nobody can transmit over distance, which
makes the medium nearly worthless. The role of the government should be to
define the property right and then allow anyone who can put it to use to have a
cut. The problem was that the FCC created "bands" like AM and FM and restricted
who could have rights on those bands. Small players were forcably segragated to
short wave bands, which most radios don't carry.
> For what it's worth, I'd ask you what is the constitutional authority
> for federal grants of broadcast licenses? I can't think of any
> beyond commerce, but a great many radio and television stations are not
> receivable in other states, so what justifies federal licensing of
> those stations? Doesn't the 9th and 10th amendments reserve the right
> to generate EM waves to the people or the states? After all Ben Franklin did
> it without governement interference or regulation
It is the commerce power that justifies it. Commerce implies a definition of a
tradable property right exists that requires government playing a role. Whether
that should be federal or state government is another question, but I'm all for
reigning in the Federal commerce power, and I see no reason why the States
should not be able to grant broadcasting rights. The federal government should
have done little more than what constituted unacceptable interstate
interference levels and left it to the states to actually assign broadcasting
rights consistent with those. Actually, that is a very good idea, because the
expansive federal commerce power interpretations create a single point of
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