‘What’s Hot’ List: 10/17/14

Here’s the ‘What’s Hot’ list for the week of October 17th.


HBO To Offer Streaming Video Service In 2015 (Mediapost, 10/15/14) Finally moving into Netflix territory, HBO says it will offer a stand-alone streaming video service next year.Speaking at a Time Warner investor meeting on Wednesday, Richard Plepler, chairman/chief executive officer of HBO, said 10 million broadband-only homes is a key opportunity. “That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped,” Plepler said. “It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO.”

Copyright, the Internet and Efficient Risk Bearing (Brookings, commentary by Stuart Brotman, 10/16/14)Later this month, the Department of Commerce will host the fifth in a series of roundtables and forums that are designed to focus on a critical issue–the operation of the notice and takedown system under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The current DMCA system requires online service providers including YouTube, podcasters, and others to remove copyright infringing content from their sites once they have been made aware that an infringement has occurred. One proposal that merits serious consideration is using an efficient risk-bearing standard to improve the DMCA notice and takedown system.

Obama Makes FCC’s Tight Spot on Net Rules Even Tighter (Wall Street Journal Online (Digits), 10/13/2014) Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is in a tight spot as he writes rules for how broadband companies can treat traffic on their networks. Last week, President Barack Obama appeared to make that spot a little tighter. At a town-hall meeting in Santa Clara, Calif., the president said he was “unequivocally committed to net neutrality,” the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally on providers’ networks. “It is what has unleashed the power of the Internet, and we don’t want to lose that or clog up the pipes,” Obama said.

Commerce Secretary: US won’t allow ‘Internet to be co-opted’ (TheHill.com, 10/13/2014) Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker insisted Monday that the United States would prevent the Internet from being “co-opted” by any government or person. She said the United States will remain a champion of an open Internet, as the Commerce Department plans to move away from its oversight role of the system that governs Internet addresses.

Google is sitting out the net neutrality fight. Here are 4 possible reasons (Gigaom, 10/14/14) The FCC is moving closer to announcing new net neutrality rules and yet Google — the most influential company on the subject — still won’t step into the debate. Here’s four popular theories why it won’t.

GM sides with U.S. wireless carriers in net neutrality fight (Reuters, 10/15/2014) Top U.S. automaker General Motors Co. has emerged as a heavyweight ally of the wireless carriers battling against stricter Internet traffic rules, with a new letter that linked the issue to wirelessly connected cars. In a letter to a Federal Communications Commission official viewed by Reuters on Wednesday, GM’s Global Connected Consumer executive director, Harry Lightsey III, urged the FCC to “retain the critical distinction” among rules for fixed and mobile Internet traffic and said new limitations for the mobile industry may constrain innovation in connected cars.

FCC’s proposed rules would block joint spectrum auction bidding among Tier 1 carriers (Fiercewireless, 10/14/14)The FCC is proposing new rules for competitive bidding in spectrum auctions that would bar joint bidding arrangements among Tier 1 carriers. The proposed rules are also aimed at getting more small businesses, rural telephone companies and businesses owned by members of minority groups to bid in auctions.

New rules would protect cell tower workers (The Hill, 10/14/14)Federal regulators are considering new safety recommendations for cell tower climbers. The Labor Department and Federal Communications Commission announced Tuesday they are teaming up to combat a recent rise in workplace deaths.

FCC Plans Stealth Internet Tax Increase (Forbes, 10/17/14) American politicians of all stripes clearly see and oppose the abuses of the Internet abroad. But our government officials are not aware that the Federal Communications Commission, without statutory authority, is proposing to expand its taxation and regulation of the Internet. The relationship between the Internet and government has become a useful barometer of personal and economic freedom. Oppressive governments use the Internet to oppress political enemies, censor ideas, and spy on citizens.  The United Nations and other international organizations see the Internet as an untapped opportunity for tax revenues and regulations to support political favorites.