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Comcast Seeking Control of Both Pipes and Content?

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the some-of-each-perhaps dept.

The Media 241

techmuse writes "Reuters reports that Comcast may be attempting to use its huge cash reserves to purchase a large media content provider, such as Disney, Viacom, or Time Warner. This would result in Comcast controlling both the delivery mechanism for content, and the content itself. Potentially, it could limit access to content it owns to subscribers to its own services, thus shutting out competing services (where they still exist at all)."

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Bad timing (4, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085591)

We can only hope that they're one Administration too late to pull it off.

Re:Bad timing (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085657)

Yah right, all they need to do is say that it will get them more money to either A) expand broadband or B) create more jobs, and you can bet that it will be accepted.

Hah! Their timing couldn't be better (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29085685)

Comcast can just wait until Obama needs something [google.com] , then get it in a quid pro quo.

Or do you really still believe anything Obama says?

Troops out of Iraq? Yeah, on BUSH'S schedule?

End to warrantless wiretapping? Not so fast.

95% of us will get a tax cut? Yeah, sure.

Healthcare reform? Let's cut a deal and split the saving with big drug companies!

Re:Bad timing (5, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085699)

Well, historically Democrats are in bed with the Hollywood types so it's not a certain thing that media owners might not see some love too.

But besides that I blame this on google. Yes google and their don't be evil motto. Seems like there's this fixed amount of evil and if one company tries not to use evil then it just accumulates somewhere else.

Re:Bad timing (0, Redundant)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085801)

Unfortunately, the Parent poster isn't a troll. It wasn't just Republicans pushing for the DMCA and the extensions to the copyright term.

Re:Bad timing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29086229)

Don't worry, the Democrats a playing catch-up quickly with their secret ACTA [wikipedia.org] asshattery.

Re:Bad timing (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085887)

...if one company tries not to use evil then it just accumulates somewhere else.

A systemic problem requires a systemic solution.

Re:Bad timing (2, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086251)

Hollywood is a divided town politically. The actors tend to be liberal because they're artists, the execs tend to be conservative because they're in business.

Re:Bad timing (5, Interesting)

Fudge Armadillo (916515) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085761)

This would likely not cross into anti-trust territory. Besides, they have tried it before... http://money.cnn.com/2004/02/11/news/companies/comcast_disney/ [cnn.com] Large cable companies are running out of small mom & pop providers to buy, and have amassed huge cash reserves, which they would like to find something to do with, one of which is to buy a large content provider, or possibly (though they keep denying the rumors), buy a wireless provider. Most of the wireless providers in the U.S. are too large to be taken over by even the largest cable companies, though.

Re:Bad timing (5, Interesting)

Stupendoussteve (891822) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085881)

Or they could pass the savings on to the consumer, by maybe not jacking up their rates yet again.

No wait, that would never happen. It's not like people are locked in to a single provider...

Re:Bad timing (5, Interesting)

lambent (234167) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085961)

what are you talking about? a very small percentage of people have the ability to choose between two, or even three providers! the system is obviously NOT flawed. /sarcasm

i agree with your sentiment, they'll never actually LOWER prices. my experience with comcast is that they will raise prices by at least a dime every month, just to condition you to it.

Re:Bad timing (5, Informative)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086115)

This would likely not cross into anti-trust territory.

When the film industry was finally taken to court over their vertical integration in US v. Paramount [wikipedia.org] in 1948 the large holding companies that owned the production arms and theaters were forced to divest. Note though, the FTC had begun investigating the flim business for their abuse of their integrated delivery system in 1938, and it took 10 years of court cases and broken consent degrees with the Justice department before the deed was finally done.

Also note, the fact that Lowes owned MGM and Lowes Theaters, or that Paramount owned Paramount Studios and Publix Theaters was not sufficiently illegal for the court/FTC/Jusitce to take action. The real issue was that the holding companies used collusive formula deals and clearance and run arrangements to keep independent film producers from having a venue to show their own movies. The original complaints to the FTC were made by independent production companies that didn't own their own distro arm -- the first people to file suit were original United Artists partners and Sam Goldwyn, who sortof reminds of Mark Cuban minus the swearing.

Re:Bad timing (1)

cats-paw (34890) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086221)

so a regulated monopoly amasses huge cash reserves.

well, then they're abviously not regulated enough.

Re:Bad timing (2, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085799)

We can only hope that they're one Administration too late to pull it off.

If you're counting on one man to save the world, you've been watching too much TV.

Re:Bad timing (2, Insightful)

lbalbalba (526209) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086069)

If you're convinced that one man can't make any difference then you're way too cynical for me.

Re:Bad timing (3, Insightful)

krou (1027572) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085917)

As Bill Hicks said, "I'll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here. 'I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs.' 'I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking.' 'Hey, wait a minute, there's one guy holding out both puppets!'"

First Po- (0, Offtopic)

Swordopolis (1159065) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085601)

This first post claimed by Reuters, Inc.

Disturbing (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085605)

But think of the lower prices! We can live better!

Re:Disturbing (2, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085663)

We see this in many areas. Soon you will have to select brand of TV depending on cable operator too.

Like it is today with some telecom operators - you may only select the phones THEY are offering, not the phone you want.

Re:Disturbing (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29085759)

Right, because you have the "right" to any phone you want on any network.

Grow up. If you "must" have X phone, deal with Y network.

If you don't like a company, don't use it. everything else is whining.

Re:Disturbing (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085953)

Yeah? I have the right use purchase anything I want (within legal boundaries*). I have the right to purchase PhoneX instead of PhoneY. I have the right to use TelecomA instead of TelecomB. Why shouldn't I have the right to use my desired phone with my desired telecom?

Re:Disturbing (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086063)

yah, these rights are firmly installed in the Constitution AND the Bible.

Re:Disturbing (0, Offtopic)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086217)

these rights are firmly installed in the Constitution AND the Bible.

In some parts of the US, those two things are one in the same, and a science textbook to boot.

Re:Disturbing (2, Insightful)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086245)

yah, these rights are firmly installed in the Constitution AND the Bible.

They are part of anti-trust. Or do you expect the supreme document to detail every last thing that we do in this country? Seems excessive.

Re:Disturbing (2, Informative)

darkpixel2k (623900) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086085)

Yeah? I have the right use purchase anything I want (within legal boundaries*). I have the right to purchase PhoneX instead of PhoneY. I have the right to use TelecomA instead of TelecomB. Why shouldn't I have the right to use my desired phone with my desired telecom?

Because it's not your choice. Telecom is a bad example though because huge portions of their networks were built with taxpayer money--but most companies built up capital and decided to provide a service. They set the rules and price in which that service is offered. If you don't like the price and/or rules, don't buy it. If enough people don't buy it, they go out of business. If someone like you gets annoyed and decides to start a company with less rules and restrictions and/or better service, you'll win more customers. Of course it goes both ways, the other company can turn around and 'compete' with you by lowering their costs, providing better services, etc... It's called capitalism.

Re:Disturbing (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086195)

Right, because you have the "right" to any phone you want on any network.

No, but you have the "right" to use a different provider, which lots of people do when the right hardware comes along (or in the case of Comcast, when the wrong provider comes along.

Re:Disturbing (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086291)

There's some people who don't have access to the proper angle of southern sky to get a DBS signal, are in a location too lacking in population density for cable to be profitable, or don't control the building they live in so they must subscribe to the only provider available or none at all.

Re:Disturbing (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085949)

If you wave your hands and squint, companies like Hulu and Netflix already try to make you use one of the TVs they have approved.

Re:Disturbing (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086197)

Nope. The FCC is ahead of you on this one. All of the major cable companies offer CableCARD devices that handle the decryption, and that's a standard that allows you to purchase any compliant TV or settop box. TiVo's main product is now based on this technology.

FCC! Now! (2, Interesting)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085615)

Shouldn't there be FCC regulations against this potential nightmare scenario? If not, why not?

Re:FCC! Now! (5, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085767)

The FCC has no interest in protecting individual rights or promoting a competitive market. They are there to sell off public assets to private corporations, and enforce rules and fines to ensure societal conformity to the morals of politically important voting blocs.

If Comcast is prevented from acquiring someone due to federal interference, they will probably sue because they will claim that the free market is being tampered with. Just like any corporation, their definition of free market has nothing to do with the liberty of individuals to have access to a competitive market system. It has to do with the corporate right to be unbound by any rules and have the freedom to stifle competition and destroy the market for their own profit.

To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable enough to the interest of the publick; but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens... It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it. --Adam Smith

Re:FCC! Now! (0, Troll)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085903)

It has to do with the corporate right to be unbound by any rules and have the freedom to stifle competition and destroy the market for their own profit.

The monopoly Comcast has was created BECAUSE of government interference. It's not fair to expect that the power extended to these companies doesn't have strings attached -- Sue all they want. The government and Comcast now share a responsibility for the market's well-being. It's not one or the other.

Re:FCC! Now! (3, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085935)

If Comcast is prevented from acquiring someone due to federal interference, they will probably sue because they will claim that the free market is being tampered with.

As the summary states, Comcast has an enormous stash of (not-so-hard-earned) cash. They're acting like squirrels: if they see food they don't need right away, they just shove it into a hole somewhere until they find a use for it. That probably should not be allowed: it's one thing to put something away for a rainy day, but when corporations end up so flush with cash that they can influence entire markets and ruthlessly suppress competition something is wrong. It also means they're probably significantly overcharging for their goods and services (as an ex-Comcast-down-to-the-depths-of-Hell subscriber I can attest to that.)

Comcast's management also has other things in common with squirrels.

Re:FCC! Now! (4, Funny)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086319)

Comcast's management also has other things in common with squirrels.

They always have nuts in their mouths?

Re:FCC! Now! (1, Troll)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085791)

Shouldn't there be FCC regulations against this potential nightmare scenario? If not, why not?

No there shouldn't be any FCC regulations preventing this. Actually the FCC should not exist, it was created for mass media businesses, there is no Constitutional authority granted to the government to create the FCC.

Falcon

Re:FCC! Now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29085897)

Sure there is. Interstate-Commerce Clause. Learn to know shit.

Re:FCC! Now! (1)

dagamer34 (1012833) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086133)

I think that's the FTCs jack-of-all-trades card, not the FCC.

Re:FCC! Now! (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086151)

BS.

The FCC was created to enforce communications law, with the most important goal of restricting the RF spectrum because if it was a free-for-all environment, too many people would be transmitting on the same part of the spectrum at the same time and nothing would work.

That's why TV stations are allowed to make money under the condition that they serve the public good (and agree to censorship limits) on the public resource. If you want to do content that doesn't fit the rules of broadcast TV, go to cable. Howard Stern found his act wasn't tolerated very well on the FM frequencies, and he's making more money than he ever has before on satellite. Sirius/XM didn't isn't making enough money from his show, so he'll likely wind up as a pay-for podcaster on the Internet.

You have a right to free speech, you don't have a right to an amplifier or even a microphone connected to anything. You've got to pay for or earn those.

Re:FCC! Now! (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086097)

Yep, there is. Cable networks that need to be distributed via satellite feed must be offered to all pay TV providers under reasonable terms, and broadcast TV stations have to either require they must be carried by all pay TV carriers in the area, or can collect reasonable retransmission rates. They can't exist on only the provider that owns them... there's only limited local sports and news channels that can afford to distribute via landline to stay cable-only.

The only place where we're seeing national provider-specific content deals are on the Internet. Things like ESPN360 and ABC News Now are accessible only if your ISP has agreed to host a server on their network and pay for the content. That's against the principles of net neutrality, but there's no regulation yet to stop them.

Say what? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085665)

I didn't realize that Cable TV was such a lucrative market that they could afford to buy a media conglomerate.
If there's so much profit in the market, maybe there isn't enough competition.

Re:Say what? (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085815)

"I didn't realize that Cable TV was such a lucrative market that they could afford to buy a media conglomerate. If there's so much profit in the market, maybe there isn't enough competition." Seriously? You didn't realize this? Now, I haven't had TV in 10+ years, so maybe I'm missing something, but for people who want "TV" in the traditional sense, how many options do they have at home for getting "TV"?

Re:Say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29086183)

I apparently can get Comcast, ATT, DirecTV, and Dish. Now, if you mean over the air 40 years ago TV, then an antenna is still your option if you live someplace that allows them. Many places don't allow them, but will allow the little dishes used by DirecTV and Dish. If you just mean "cable TV", then comcast is it in my area. There is generally a local government created monopoly just like there is for garbage service.

Re:Say what? (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086177)

Comcast's days as a monopoly-by-default are over. There are two DBS companies that offer almost the same lineup of channels nationally. Also, AT&T and Verizon both are actively wiring their areas with a new network that's capable of delivering TV content too. Look out... challenges ahead!

Re:Say what? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086215)

I don't think you realize just how small the "media conglomerates" are. The pundits don't seem to consider Disney a likely target despite the Slashdot summary and the other two are much smaller than Comcast. Disney is slightly smaller and Comcast made a bid for it once before. While the "media" industry is very loud, it isn't all that large.

Comcast sports network is already here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29085673)

I'm watching it on Verizon FiOS as we speak.

Its times like these... (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085677)

Its times like these where the landowners and cities that own ground where Comcast's wires are going through should have leased the land and forced them to pay more or upgrade the infrastructure to keep up with the times to keep using it. With the pathetic condition of Comcast's network, they should use the money to make their network halfway reliable.

Re:Its times like these... (1)

vcgodinich (1172985) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085789)

Yeah, place the obligation on others instead of the users of the service. Here is a capitalistic idea. . . . if YOU don't like the service, YOU stop using it, stop putting the onus of responsibility on someone else.

Re:Its times like these... (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085865)

Yeah, place the obligation on others instead of the users of the service. Here is a capitalistic idea. . . . if YOU don't like the service, YOU stop using it, stop putting the onus of responsibility on someone else.

Who do you think those local governments represent?
Who do you think owns the ground that comcast's cabling run over?

We are them. Its our land, and our rights of way which we have collectively granted to comcast.

Re:Its times like these... (1)

vcgodinich (1172985) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085969)

The local governments represent ALL of the people in their area, not just the ones that use comcast. The great numbers of other non-comcast using members of that area are hurt by that idea. The government leasing the right-of way generates less tax burden for everyone they represent. They should lease to everyone that wants to bury cables (and they do). Why should the (local) government be the watchdog and be willing to lose money (and be forced to raise taxes) because a few people think that their service is bad? I dare say that your second point is moot to the point of ridiculousness. Comcast dosen't have infrastructure passing through 99% of its customers land. Most all of it will either be on public land (yay lower taxes), or a very small part through private land. Are you going to really say that those people should cut comcast off (when most of the leases will be for 20+ years), resulting in a loss of income for them, and worse service? The people in the best position to decide what happens to comcast is their users. If enough people really dont like it, the company will fail. You are willing for someone else to take a risk to wake comcast better, but you are not willing to do anything yourself. If you hate it, quit. simple and easy. If you are willing to pay per month, it is worth it to you. end of story. The wonderful thing about a free market is that the second someone does it better, that business will uproot the poor one.

Re:Its times like these... (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086181)

Comcast dosen't have infrastructure passing through 99% of its customers land.

Of course it does. The wiring runs across the property of every single person on the street where service is made available. If they want to get to house A+1 they gotta go across the property of house A.

The local governments represent ALL of the people in their area, not just the ones that use comcast. The great numbers of other non-comcast using members of that area are hurt by that idea

Tough shit. When it comes to right of way its no longer simply the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Property rights are one of the most scarosanct there are in the USA and violating them requires a much higher standard than that.

Re:Its times like these... (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085847)

Its times like these where the landowners and cities that own ground where Comcast's wires are going through should have...

This isn't a problem for any self-respecting mad scientist with a penchant for high energy experiments on shielded wiring.

Re:Its times like these... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29085855)

Whats wrong with comcast? I have their 50/10 service and consistently max it out on both sides. Never had any issue.

Re:Its times like these... (1)

Tiger_Storms (769548) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085955)

I see you must live in one of those areas where the network sucks. Because I live in an area where it's never sucked. So... it's the same with Qwest, At&t, Verizon, and Earth link, There are always going to be good parts and bad parts. The only downside is if you don't tell the company how on earth are they going to know?

Re:Its times like these... (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086201)

The only downside is if you don't tell the company how on earth are they going to know?

TDR. Seriously, it isn't that hard for a network technician to measure the quality of network infrastructure without the active participation of the end-points.

I like this better the first time (4, Interesting)

Associate (317603) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085683)

when it was called AOL.

Re:I like this better the first time (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085717)

In that case it was the content provider buying out the dial-up services provider.

Presumably they would have realized that making music and video only available to AOL subscribers would have hurt their much more profitable content business.

Re:I like this better the first time (4, Informative)

vbraga (228124) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085851)

No, AOL bought Time Warner.

In a stunning development, America Online Inc. announced plans to acquire Time Warner Inc. for roughly $182 billion in stock and debt Monday, creating a digital media powerhouse with the potential to reach every American in one form or another.

Source [cnn.com]

Re:I like this better the first time (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085883)

Which is why it'll be ironic if they end up buying Time Warner.

Re:I like this better the first time (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086079)

Which is why it'll be ironic if they end up buying Time Warner.

1) TW just recently split off TW-Cable from the TW-content empire. So, it would be weird if TW-Cable's competitor comcast, would buy TW-Cable's previous owners, the TC-content group. Genealogically I guess it would be like .... I really can't describe it. But I don't think it fits the definition of ironic, unless you subscribe to the "street definition" where ironic simply means anything that makes you think.

2) Last time around, the pipe-company AOL bought the combined TW empire, mostly for the content. This time around, the pipe-company comcast might buy TW-content. Not so much ironic, as it sounds stupid, to try that failed play again. If it failed for ten years, then about a year after the split, how could a new pipe company successfully merge with TW-content? I'd love to see that board meeting, "I've got a plan that has never worked, lets try it!". Maybe they are trying to fail, in the hope of a federal bailout program, like "Cash4Cable" or "Cash4Content" or something?

Re:I like this better the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29086257)

irony, n. incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29085711)

"Potentially, it could limit access to content it owns to subscribers to its own services"

. . .how? A "comcast internet user exclusive"? besides greatly impractical, they would just limit the number of consumers for the media, and everyone else would pirate it, or just not watch it.

Its not like comcast is everywhere. If they are willing to fall on their faces by only giving a select percentage of the market to option to buy their media, i say we shut up and let capitalism work. (by letting them fail)

If anything spells antitrust it's this (2, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085719)

Using one market to leverage another? I'm not lawyer and I've been mistaken about this sort of thing before, but this really looks like a bad thing and that the justice department should weigh in on this sort of thing. I think sooner rather than later the ISPs need to be designated as common carriers and not allowed to play in certain arenas.

Please do (1)

lavalyn (649886) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085729)

This seems like a fast way to force Net Neutrality laws, as the resulting carnage of takeovers and mergers create segregated islands of content. Even congressmen and senators should find it difficult to swallow needing all of a Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon connections to obtain their Disney, FOX, and HGTV channels.

Although I also think the telecoms are underestimating the power of the "independent" content providers, like Google or Yahoo. Clout-wise, companies like that might actually be able to extract payment from the backbones for the privilege of getting customers to them. What's Comcast going to do, say "sorry you can't do that" to their customers because they don't have an agreement with Google?

Re:Please do (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086269)

Net Neutrality would prevent other providers from refusing to carry Comcast content. It wouldn't prevent Comcast from refusing to provide content.

Hacker ethic, arise once more. (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085749)

I think it's clear that our strength is technology and our weakness is the legal system. The legal system will always be in favor of those with deep pockets and have (at best) a tenuous grip on the ethical and moral considerations of the larger society. It's become so ineffective, insepid and innane as to become harmful to society -- Forget them. Laws do not govern moral conduct and never have. Integrity has no need of rules! But that's just a stop-gap. We need new technology -- and I think we need to go back to the basics to get there.

We need to bring the internet back as a peer-to-peer exchange, but to do that we're going to need to create protocols that are specifically designed to resist attack and interference from intermediaries. The original concept of the internet was based on a flawed model that the network could be trusted to deliver packets from point A to point B using the same logic throughout; It was assumed that the network would be managed by a central authority. This hasn't been the case for awhile, and now we are seeing an increasing desire to bend and break the original standards to serve commercial interests. The protocols must be redesigned to only present the minimal amount of information necessary -- the source and destination, and the actual payload encrypted and made tamper-evident.

To hell with demands that we have protocols with data exposed for "law enforcement", "national security" or "protecting the children" or any other specious argument. The ultimate expression of democracy is the free flow of information between citizens, and that's an ideal that comes ahead of all other considerations: We need to make a conscious and deliberate choice to accept the risks that come in embracing those early ideals, and not let the edge cases (terrorism, sexual predators, and elvis) sway us from the immense benefits of doing this. If the signal is to travel at all, it must travel freely.

If this doesn't come to pass then our future as a democratic society is at an end. Democracy is more important to me (and I hope you as well) than my personal safety or material comforts. A free and open communication medium between all members of society must be a universal, because it's the only way to maximize our individual and collective potentials. This is another step in a slow descent into a life we do not want, and we won't notice until it's too late how much we've lost.

Raw Sockets: Whatever happened to THOSE? apk (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29085965)

See subject-line, & answer please - I know what MS did w/ them, because there were things I could do in Windows NT 3.51, for example, that I could not from Windows 2000 onwards!

"The protocols must be redesigned to only present the minimal amount of information necessary" - by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday August 16, @03:53PM (#29085749)

Well, you've BEEN getting exactly THAT - right in your Microsoft Windows OS'... they've had 'raw sockets', removed (full headers are gone etc. et al & part of a readonly resource iirc once read in, once). Yes, it's useful to do, vs. folks that use tcp reset attacks & such, but also do what you ask (there are 'downsides' though).

Raw Sockets: As far as I am concerned? Well - They're GONE (supposedly an ADMINISTRATOR class user still has access to full sockets, headers & all, on packets, but - I still know there's things they won't let you do anymore even when logged on as ADMINISTRATOR itself, not just a member of that usergroup)

I.E. -> Certain programs aren't even allowed to run anymore, blacklisted, for example (& I cannot + will not go into specifics/program names, either)...

YES - This kind of thing is happening on your systems, right under your noses, & for a decade++ now - hiding in plain sight.

APK

P.S.=> Anyone know what I'm talking about here, or, better still, run into what I am describing? If so, then you also know where part of this restriction came from too, & where it really is starting (our own systems - but, "good" & "bad" possibles are the result (good in that it implements part of what girlintraining's about, bad in that it actually LIMITS what you could really do with a raw socket & full set of headers on packets))... apk

Re:Raw Sockets: Whatever happened to THOSE? apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29086241)

Dude. Sit still. Don't hurt yourself. I've called help.

And lay off the hash pipe.

Re:Hacker ethic, arise once more. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29086135)

Nice speech. Now pay attention to the bit where Comcast owns the pipes and the content. Got that? Comcast owns the pipes. If Comcast doesn't like you, you have no internet. The only way to loosen Comcast's grip is to have alternatives. This is not a software problem.

Re:Hacker ethic, arise once more. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086189)

Democracy is a compromise, not an ideal. It may be an ideal compromise.

I'm a lot more concerned about my freedom than I am concerned about your ability to vote on how to mess with it.

Re:Hacker ethic, arise once more. (2, Informative)

cpghost (719344) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086295)

The original concept of the internet was based on a flawed model that the network could be trusted to deliver packets from point A to point B using the same logic throughout; It was assumed that the network would be managed by a central authority.

As a WAN admin with 20+ years of experience in NOCs, I beg to disagree. The Internet design is based on the assumption that network pipes and routers (and whole Autonomous Systems (AS)) will fail, and that traffic will route automatically around disruptions. As such, it is extremely robust and resilient. Of course, that applies to backbones, which are usually meshed. There is NO central authority controlling the Internet, there are only peering ASes that route traffic back and forth.

The problem you're referring to has nothing to do with the Internet itself, but with telco monopolies owning the last mile to your home. Of course, this can be annoying, but that's not the Internet's fault. As long as you have only one uplink, you'll be at the mercy of your upstream provider. This has to do with you being at the edge of the network. It would be the same for an AS that would be foolish enough to peer with only one AS: no AS in their right mind does this. Acquire more links (e.g. to other upstream providers), and you'll realize that there is no central authority controlling the Net, only peers talking to each others. There's no need to change the design of the Internet protocols as they stand.

Comcast already owns the pipes and the content. (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085771)

The pipes being the last mile cable line to your house. This is why they can get away with much of what they do.

The FCC would do well to force the cable companies to give up ownership of last mile infrastructure to allow cities and neighborhoods to open those lines up for multiple, competing ISPs.

Re:Comcast already owns the pipes and the content. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29085877)

And this is why I'm seriously looking in to U-Verse because, thankfully, it's now available in my home market.

But, I remain about the fetish that AT&T and any of its related businesses/activities seem to have about wanting
to charge by the megabyte. This is a bit of a quandry for me - tolerate Comcast's heavy-handedness (including its
bandwidth caps of 250GB/month) or AT&T's trying to screw every penny out of the consumer any way it can.

Of course, Comcast is now also trying to manage their consumers' DNS responses a bit heavily, too. I just hope
I can find a workaround under Linux for it.

Re:Comcast already owns the pipes and the content. (1)

Tiger_Storms (769548) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086013)

Of course, Comcast is now also trying to manage their consumers' DNS responses a bit heavily, too. I just hope I can find a workaround under Linux for it.

Or you could click on the Opt out link on their website That worked for me.

Re:Comcast already owns the pipes and the content. (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086333)

Nah, we've got a better solution in the pipeline. Phone companies are actively re-wiring their service areas with new networks capable of delivering phone, TV, and 'net. It'll take some time for them to fully deploy, but everywhere they have hit, Comcast has been forced to update their network to compete.

Regulation is nothing compared to a solid competitor.

Didn't AOL try this? (0, Redundant)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085781)

Didn't it not work out very well?

Re:Didn't AOL try this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29085813)

AOL was primarily a content provider, they did not control the pipes.

Re:Didn't AOL try this? (3, Insightful)

ZackSchil (560462) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085839)

Only because AOL utterly failed to capitalize on their market dominance or prepare for the future. What did they think, dialup would last forever? That people would actually want their terrible service on top of broadband?

AOL tried this and failed (2, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085827)

Doesn't anyone remember the AOL/Time Warner merger? it was approximately 10 years ago now that it was announced. it was a dismal failure as technology changed in 2 years to make the whole thing worthless. The only media deal that can make sense is to buy the NFL, MLB, NASCAR or NBA because people will pay up for sports even in a recession. If the Disney channel suddenly becomes a premium channel I won't be getting it. even though i have a child.

and with Verizon laying fiber along with AT&T were a few years away from another networking technology explosion that will make this deal obsolete.

Re:AOL tried this and failed (1)

dasunst3r (947970) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085909)

Don't forget about ClearWire -- they're rolling out WiMax to a few metro areas within the year as well.

Re:AOL tried this and failed (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086235)

If the Disney channel suddenly becomes a premium channel I won't be getting it. even though i have a child.

You forgot your history. Disney Channel launched as a pay-for-like-HBO scrambled premium channel. So did most of the sports networks that show local games.

What these content baskets realized was that it was more profitable to take a few cents for every subscriber (even the ones that don't care about you) instead of getting a few bucks from everybody willing to pay just for you. That's why everybody's cable bills started going up faster than inflation, the cable operators were paying more for the same content.

Now, the premiums are movie channels and out-of-town sports packages... and those are secured by digital encryption rather than the pathetically-easy to decode analog schemes.

TW/RR? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29085859)

How is this any different than Time-Warner/Roadrunner?

Antitrust (1)

crashfourit (1378219) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085905)

This has anti-trust and attempt to obtain a vertical monopoly all over it. Hope Comcasts idea is crushed.

Uhhh. dude? (1)

Tiger_Storms (769548) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085925)

What are you talking about, They already Own E! and a few other station and those are used on other cable/satellite companies. They are just making sure that anytime a competitor makes money they are apart of it. It's like Microsoft buying stock in all of it's less competitors, and same with apple buying stock in Microsoft. They are trying to branch out their resouces so they get have a greater flow of cash to keep them self's in business. It's kind of anoying to think people see other companies as giants and that they wan't to take over the world or something.

Re:Uhhh. dude? (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086059)

They are trying to branch out their resouces so they get have a greater flow of cash to keep them self's in business. It's kind of anoying to think people see other companies as giants and that they wan't to take over the world or something.

Wow, just, wow. I hope English isn't your first language.

In order to stay on topic I'll say this: Most companies will buy another company that sells services or products in a different market rather than just buying stock in the other company. Microsoft has done that many times then re-brands the products as their own.

I've seen this movie before (0, Redundant)

jay2003 (668095) | more than 5 years ago | (#29085975)

Anyone remember AOL Time Warner? which is now in the process of being undone....

Content and pipes are fundamentally different businesses. In a content business, there's no monopoly position to use to increase profits year after year. Content providers have to continually produce content people want to see as opposed to providing mediocre service and raising prices every year. If Comcast does this, it will be a disaster.

Old news, surely (2, Interesting)

OscarGunther (96736) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086009)

They've already tried to purchase Disney once before, as I recall. I think there's no question of anti-trust on this; we're talking a straightforward attempt at vertical integration within an industry. Comcast can even argue that Time Warner and Viacom have already set precedents for the acceptability of such a merger and that, in fact, Comcast needs to do such a deal to remain competitive.

Re:Old news, surely (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086357)

Comcast can even argue that Time Warner and Viacom have already set precedents for the acceptability of such a merger and that, in fact, Comcast needs to do such a deal to remain competitive.

Correct, Time Warner had a cable unit. [wikipedia.org] So this kind of deal is not anything new. However, I think the scariest scenario is Comcast owning Disney.

Limiting the number of people exposed to... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086039)

...Disney, Viacom, or Time Warner sounds like a real public service to me. Seems improbable, though. More likely they would make some of the pay services of whatever outfit they bought free to their subscribers. That might squeak y the antitrust "regulators", as well as actually being commercially feasible.

Content providers w/o ISP subsid are already doing (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086073)

disney is already doing this to all ISP's with compulsory wholesale licensing a-la cable TV.

If you have any major ISP (ATT, Comcast, etc) you are unknowingly paying disney for ESPN360 even if you dont use it.

ISP's resisted this for quite some time, but disney/espn started offering it free to university students, and presenting them with a message when they went home in the summer saying "complain to your ISP because they're not paying us".

It doesn't matter at this point of comcast buys disney/viacom/whatever because the other side of this equation is already doing this.

Unless the government or FCC intervene internet service costs could skyrocket as more content providers catch on and start pulling this.

They may take our TechTV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29086081)

but they'll never take.. OUR SYFY CHANNEL!

"Huge Cash Reserves?!" (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086099)

Comcast has roughly $1B in cash, and $30B in debt. Disney has a market cap of ~$45B, and Viacom $15B, Time Warner is at ~$30B. Comcast's total market cap is $45B.

While they would love to own a "must have" content provider, so would I. I think we are both roughly in the same position for being able to pull it off. I have a $5 bill handy...

Re:"Huge Cash Reserves?!" (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086313)

Disney is not considered a candidate, despite the Slashdot summary. They could easily borrow enough to finance a combination cash-stock deal for either of the other two (i.e., each Viacom shareholder would get some cash and some Comcast stock. The loan would be secured with Viacom's assets).

I don't think it will happen, though. Wall Street seems to be pretty down on the idea.

Vertical integration! (1)

oDDmON oUT (231200) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086109)

If it's good for the shareholders, it's good for you!

Time Warner did it with AOL, and look how well that .... errrr ... heh. NVM.

Re:Vertical integration! (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086279)

> If it's good for the shareholders, it's good for you!

If you aren't a shareholder it doesn't involve you, but the shareholders don't seem to think it's good for them: the stock is down on the rumor.

> Time Warner did it with AOL, and look how well that .... errrr ... heh. NVM.

Lots of commemtators are pointing to that example.

Easy solution: (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086171)

Shut out Comcast completely. Who needs "traditional media" anyway nowadays.

You can even do it all alone by yourself.

Remind me again how well that worked for AOL? (1)

ReallyEvilCanine (991886) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086205)

They owned the connection, they owned the content, they had their little walled village with ads as far as the eye could see and redirects to every possible "premium partner". And then came 1996...

It's craptastic! (1)

edfardos (863920) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086219)

A communications disruption can only mean one thing - Comcast!

--edfardos

Limited Access? (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086303)

Potentially, it could limit access to content it owns to subscribers to its own services, thus shutting out competing services (where they still exist at all).

Isn't that pretty much the old "AOL" plan of attack... stuff you could only get from us (as long as you don't look around very hard).

Road Runner? (1)

lalena (1221394) | more than 5 years ago | (#29086367)

LOL. Where I live, we think of Time Warner as the delivery mechanism, not the content provider: Time Warner Cable + Road Runner Internet + Intenet Phone.
I think the question of whether Time Warner's content can be owned by an internet provider was answered many many years ago.
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