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
“WKRP in Cincinnati” is a fantastic legacy television show – about a 1970s rock-and-roll radio station. And perhaps its most famous episode – is “Turkeys Away.” (God bless the Internet – here is a thirty-second clipped summary thereof.)
WKRP general manager Arthur Carlson decides as a Thanksgiving promotion to drop live turkeys from a helicopter on a strip mall. Because he is somehow unaware that these particular fowl – are flightless. So basically he – as disc jockey Johnny Fever described it – “firebombed with live turkeys” the mall and everyone there.
Newsman Les Nessman returns from the debacle – and describes what subsequently happened: “Then Mr. Carlson had the helicopter land in the middle of the parking lot. I guess he thought he could save the day by turning the rest of the turkeys loose. It gets pretty strange after that….I really don’t know how to describe it. It was like the turkeys mounted a counter-attack. It was almost as if they were… organized.”
In Washington, D.C. – the Turkeys are most certainly organized. And have been for s VERY long time. And the American free market economy – is under constant arial assault therefrom.
You’re a DC Turkey – if you can’t get by without government. Or can – but don’t want to, because it’s just easier to have government place its giant thumb on your side of the scale. And many such corporate Turkeys – are willing to bribe the government Turkeys to get them to apply the digit. Behold – Cronyism.
Add up the elected officials, the bureaucrats and the very many Cronies – and DC is one giant Turkey coop. And a $4-trillion-a-year federal government budget – funds a LOT of bird feed.
We’ve certainly seen much evidence of DC Turkey-Crony Organization since the presidential election of Donald Trump. Trump pledged to “Drain the Swamp” – i.e. Empty the Coop – and ever since the Birds have been striking back. And Les Nessman thought what he saw was horrific. It’s like a terrible, very boring remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s flick.
But this nonsense way predates November. We just barely escaped from eight years of the pronounced Turkey-Crony Organization of the Barack Obama Administration. Obama, Inc. spent the entirety of its existence – on the auction block to the highest Leftist bidders. This was the Google Administration. This administration was a Pez Dispenser of awful, crony, anti-capitalism government actions – all to benefit their Crony Turkeys.
One of the other biggest Turkey-Crony beneficiaries – was Apple. You know, that tiny little $800 billion company – that really needs as much government assistance as they can muster. (Note: that was sarcasm.)
A couple of years ago, Apple declared war on Qualcomm – and enlisted the Obama Administration to aid in the assault.
Qualcomm had the audacity to invent the fundamental components of what makes an iPhone an iPhone – and then charge Apple to use them. To which Apple strenuously objects.
Without Qualcomm’s inventions, Apple’s iPhone – is just a very shiny, very skinny telephone. No Internet connection. No email. No apps. No videos. None of any and everything that makes the iPhone – worth the at least $750 per Apple charges us.
For making that $750 minimum charge possible, Qualcomm charges Apple…less than $20 per phone. Get that? For all of the essential intelligent guts combined – Qualcomm charges Apple less than 3% of what Apple charges us. Apple charges us that much – for one USB power adaptor.
And Apple doesn’t want to pay even that. Even though they signed contracts – agreeing to pay that.
So now Apple has sued Qualcomm. And has unilaterally, preemptively declared that they won’t pay Qualcomm the tiny fraction of what they charge us. They’ll keep making the iPhones. They’ll keep charging us nearly $1,000 per for them. They just won’t pay Qualcomm for making the whole process possible.
And all along the way – the Obama Administration Turkeys were helping Apple destroy the next generation of all things iPhone. And by extension – all things economy. And on their way out the door – they took two even worse, more damaging steps.
Obama Administration Antitrust Enforcers Take Last-Minute IP Licensing Actions: “(A) lawsuit brought by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) against Qualcomm, reveals the views of at least the Obama Administration’s FTC about the licensing of standard-essential patents (SEPs)….IP (Intellectual Property) owners should be aware of the limits – revealed in these two recent actions and other enforcement activities – that antitrust law can place on IP licensing.”
Please forgive this site’s legalese. It’s a law firm. Translation: This is a bunch of Obama Turkeys using government – to aid Crony Turkey Apple. By suing Qualcomm – just like Apple. Because too many lawyers – is never enough.
But “two recent actions” were cited. The second – is worse still:
“The DOJ (Department of Justice) and FTC on Jan. 13, 2017 released the new Antitrust Guidelines for the Licensing of Intellectual Property, updating the Guidelines’ original version issued by the agencies in 1995. The Guidelines articulate general enforcement policies of the agencies with respect to the licensing of patents, copyrights, trade secrets and know-how “’to assist those who need to predict whether the [a]gencies will challenge a practice as anticompetitive.’”
Again, the legalese. What these Obama changes do – is declare a brand new government war on IP. Via antitrust law. Which is a novel, totally terrible idea. Here – and all over the rest of the global market planet.
We will explore the entirety of that international awfulness at a slightly later date.
The point to be made now is this: If Qualcomm – if anyone who invents anything – can’t get paid for their inventions today, there won’t be any inventions tomorrow. At all. Anymore. Ever.
Because the money for invention – will have been government-ed away. So the incentive to invent – will also have been government-ed away. Because humans are humans – and humans generally do not like to work for free.
So we’ll very quickly end up looking like Cuba (because today’s technology ages so much more rapidly). Using ancient things that were once really cool – but that are now barely functional, and held together with chewing gum and baling wire.
The key component of the Information Economy – is the information. If gigantic governments team with gigantic companies to end payment to the Information creators – the creators stop creating, and the entire economy collapses.
These Turkeys firebombing the marketplace – will very quickly destroy the marketplace.
That’s an inconceivably shortsighted way for $800-billion-Apple – to try to save $20.
To paraphrase WKRP’s Arthur Carlson: “As God as my witness – I knew these Turkeys couldn’t fly.”
Apple certainly should. So should we all.
[Originally Published at RedState]