When the FCC asked about unlocking set-top boxes, the Copyright Office ran to the MPAA


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/10/26/when-the-fcc-asked-about-unloc.html


#2

Christ what an asshole. Glad th new guy seems to be cleaning house. I hope that goes somewhere positive.


#3

This sounds like the US Copyright Office is more than a match for the US Patents Office when it comes to being piss poor.


#4

Conservatives are right about one thing - no competition means no innovation. Under the Bell System, the telephone was essentially unchanged from 1920 to 1970. If the DoJ hadn’t broken them up I’m not sure we would have cell phones today. I am absolutely sure they wouldn’t be cheap and ubiquitous. Likewise the set-top box; I wonder how that works in Finland? Probably not the same as the US.


#5

And my phones from that period still work well today, better than any of the cheap aftermarket phones from the 80s and later. And be fair, during the height of their monopoly the Bell System gave us at least a little innovation: Unix, the transistor, the laser, error-correcting codes, the first actually useful photovoltaic cell. And while they invented CDMA and TDMA just before the breakup, apparently cell phones really go back to the USSR in the 1930s.


#6

Whatsmore, landline phones still suck even after the breakup. I can’t get an SMS on my home phone, I can’t facetime, or install Whatsapp or Snapchat on my landline phone. I can’t get notifications that the pizza delivery is coming in five minutes on my landline. And if I decide to buy a new hotness landline phone, I can’t easily transfer whatever contacts are stored in it, if I bothered to actually hand-program them into a handset one-by-one.

Really, I’m surprised landlines have existed this long. They’re not even more reliable than cell service anymore. I had a big wind storm last year that knocked out power, cable, and the landline phone, but I was able to watch Youtube all night on my Android, thanks to the generators and the shielded underground power lines cell towers have.


#7

Cory needs a new adjective. Dumpster fire just doesn’t have the punch that it used to.


#8

[quote=“LDoBe, post:6, topic:88188, full:true”]
I can’t get an SMS on my home phone[/quote]
Fax

I can’t facetime, or install Whatsapp or Snapchat on my landline phone.

That’s a feature.

I can’t get notifications that the pizza delivery is coming in five minutes on my landline.

I can. It’s a phone.

I can’t take photos with it - especially the one screwed to the wall - but I don’t think we can credit the breakup of AT&T with the idea of taping a camera to a portable phone. After all, we were combining phones with footwear back in the 60s.

Really, I’m surprised landlines have existed this long. They’re not even more reliable than cell service anymore. I had a big wind storm last year that knocked out power, cable, and the landline phone

As someone who has lived through hurricanes and earthquakes, I have to disagree; cell phones become rather useless during most weather emergencies, as does anything that relies on local power. Cell networks get congested, and of course phones run out of power. As long as a landline is physically in place it carries both power and signal to the handset, so the only reason it should shutdown is if you have a cordless phone or if the wires have actually broken.


#9

Fair enough. Although I’d personally choose my smartphone without cell service, over any physical landline phone without service.

That smartphone has a lot of computing power, sensors and radios. Very useful.


#10

I only brought up phones as an analogy, but there is a flipside. Particularly in America, the phone network is engineered for extreme reliability. Every central office has an enormous bank of batteries to provide power during an outage. But the things still need 50 volts to ring your phone, even if you’re served by optical fiber. There’s a price for backward compatibility all the way to 1880.

Those set-top boxes are completely different because they don’t save lives, and because they’re not regulated like a public utility. Still, monopoly means they never need to upgrade the entire system.


#11

EFF for president!


#12

I favour “shit storm” as a phase to describe many things I see and hear about.


#13

You know what they say in marketing, “If it ain’t broke, maybe you should think about planned obsolescence.”


#14

What’s the problem here?

I mean the cable companies/MPAA/Hollywood lobby hard about the boxes and get to keep their cash income, while more and more people say fuck this shit, ditch cable, and move to something better.

Win/win right?

Personally every person who ever made a decision to force me back to having a fucking box to change channels should be beaten with in an inch of their life with a Betamax player. But that’s just how I feel.


#15

I’ve always thought of landlines as ‘option of last resort and most reliable.’

So… Huh.


#16

This whole argument is Ludacris and a bunch of distraction and diversion.

The cell phone is a great analogy of a relationship between third party and it’s provider. Att doesn’t make the cell phone, apple and Samsung do… they makers are required to work on standards as given to them so the provider can authenticate the device on their network.

Cabke companies can do the same thing. The maker of the set too can build its bells and whistles into their devices… and the security portion would have to align with standards of the industry in order to work. This is no different than cell phones, cable modems, and quite frankly, set top boxes now. Motorola and Cisco, to name a few, make the boxes… only they have deals to provide to the cabke operator. The same makers could make those boxes and sell direct to the public.

Cabke isn’t giving up its content to box makers… it’s giving up its revenue… and they don’t like thay.


#17

Well, given that the Roku 4 came out a year ago I’m gonna have the say, the FCC might be a little late to this fight…


#18

Much innovation DID occur between 1920 and 1970 as Bell Labs invented fucking transistors.


#19

Would you believe a dial shoe phone?


#20

@d_r