One of America's leading authorities on technology and telecom policy, Motley is a writer, television and radio commentator, political and policy strategist, lecturer, debater, activist, and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.
Latest posts by Seton Motley (see all)
- Localities Shouldn’t Be Dictating (Inter-)National Policy - July 17, 2019
- We Are Surrounded By Intellectual Property – Until We Aren’t - July 13, 2019
- A ‘Drain The Swamp’ Test: Will The Trump Admin Reward Amazon’s Killer Cronyism? - July 11, 2019
President Barack Obama is a Cronyism Machine. No Administration in our history has done more to punish its enemies and reward its friends. In fact, while engaging in rank identity politics – another Divider-Not-Uniter moment in seven-plus years full of them – the President his own self said exactly this: “We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.”
Cronyism candor from the Commander in Chief. And this promise – he has kept. On steroids.
But three more of the latest examples are some unequal-protection-before-the-law fiats from the President’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Except because they are fiats from three un-elected Democrat bureaucrats, it’s more like unequal-protection-before-the-Politburo.
Cronyism Part I: The FCC is about to legalize theft – not for everyone, of course, just for its Cronies. The Commission’s three Donkeys are on the verge of ramming through a mandate that opens tons of copyrighted content to Cronies – without the Cronies having to pay for the tons of copyrighted content.
That content – is television programming. Cable television providers spend a LOT of coin negotiating a LOT of deals with the people who make TV shows and movies. These are very intricate negotiations that include many vital agreements. Like the cable companies being legally obligated to protect the content. Like the cable companies agreeing to place the channels where on the dial the content creators want them. (For instance, ABC doesn’t want its Disney Channel right next door to the Spice Channel.)
The FCC is about to mandate that Crony companies (shocker: like Google) can now offer up these shows and movies – without having to pay for them. And without having to adhere to the carefully negotiated agreements – because they didn’t carefully negotiate them.
Amazingly, Google and their ilk won’t be on the hook should the copyrighted material they are reselling – again, without paying for it – be stolen. The cable companies – that they are in part fleecing – are. Encrypting content is an expensive, laborious process – think Google and their ilk will expend that coin and effort when they aren’t on the hook for the theft that will almost certainly ensue? Of course not. So a whole lot of copyrighted content will be walking right out the door. (China, Russia and others will be thrilled.)
Google and their ilk can reshuffle the channels any way they wish. Against the wishes of the content providers – who, again, express keen interest in channel placement by negotiating for it with the cable providers.
And now we get to the nitty gritty: Google and their ilk can run advertisements on this copyrighted content – again, for which they will not be paying. They will be profiting off of copyrighted content – for which they have not paid. Which is theft – made “legal” by Obama FCC fiat.
All of that’s fair, right?
Which brings us to Cronyism Part II – and it is related to Part I. Google and their ilk will be offering up copyrighted content for which they do not pay – and then collecting data out the wazoo on the people who watch it. And selling (for LOTS of money) that data to advertisers. (The copyrighted content creators don’t get any of that coin either.)
Meanwhile, the FCC is about to issue a mandate restricting cable companies’ use of the data they collect – on the copyrighted material for which they pay LOTS of money. But this mandate will leave completely alone Google and their ilk. They can without restriction sell the data they collect – again, on copyrighted content for which they do not pay.
All of that’s fair, right?
Which brings us to Cronyism Part III. Here’s some breaking news – people like free stuff. Some of the most obvious poll results in history bear this out.
“All adults were similar in their enthusiasm for free data:
- 84% were extremely/somewhat likely to try a new online service if it is a part of a free data offering.
- 93% were extremely/somewhat likely to stay with their current provider if it offered free data.
- 85% were extremely/somewhat likely to use more data if it didn’t count against their monthly data usage.
- 65% were extremely/somewhat likely to sign-up with a new wireless provider offering free data.”
“Free data” is your cell phone company letting you surf the Web and watch TV and videos – without paying to do so. See, the data is their stuff – so they can give it away if they wish. Catch the difference, FCC? Of course they don’t – the Commission is considering banning cell companies from giving their customers free data.
Meanwhile, the Commission has already banned cell companies from allowing customers to voluntarily reduce video quality – so as to reduce the amount of data used. But now Obama Crony Netflix is doing exactly the same thing. And Obama’s FCC couldn’t care less.
All of that’s fair, right?
“We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.”
Obama promise made – Obama promise kept.
And all the Obama Cronies rejoice.