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FC: TV-Internet broadcasters self-censoring because of FCC regs
From: Declan McCullagh <declan () well com>
Date: Wed, 7 Feb 2001 19:30:29 -0500

[Fascinating article by my colleague Brad. I am (thank the heavens)
not a telecommunications lawyer, and I invite politechnicals who are
to contribute their thoughts. But it seems to me that having two
communications mediums alongside one another -- when one is heavily
regulated and the other is relatively unregulated -- is inherently an
unstable situation. It's also, arguably, unfair. So there are two
choices in this situation: Reduce regulation on traditional media, or
impose it on the new media. What's going to happen here? --Declan]



http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,41616,00.html
   
   TV-Distributed Web to Be PG-13
   by Brad King
   2:00 a.m. Feb. 7, 2001 PST
   
   Television broadcasters will soon start delivering Internet
   entertainment at better-than-broadband speed, but the content is only
   going to be PG-13.
   
   Two competing companies are working with affiliate television stations
   to broadcast Internet data through unused bandwidth to speed up
   delivery, but fears of litigation are prompting them to censor the
   content.

   Wavexpress is set to demonstrate its system in Washington, D.C.,
   on Feb. 22, and iBlast has a beta test running until the
   beginning of March. Both companies are establishing
   relationships with affiliates across the country,
   hoping to help solve the "last mile" problem inherent
   with wireless and satellite delivery systems.
   
   Television broadcasters have access to 19.4 Mbps of downstream
   bandwidth and are negotiating with datacasting companies like iBlast
   and Wavexpress to license a portion that has gone unused.
   
   The problem is that nobody is sure whether Federal Communications
   Commission regulations for television broadcasts apply to the data
   streamed using television bandwidth. That has caused network operators
   at iBlast and Wavexpress to avoid transmitting adult content or music
   with explicit lyrics in hopes of avoiding lawsuits or restrictive
   regulations.
   
   "In the analog world, everything is out in the clear, so there was no
   scrambling or encryption," said Stephen Carrol, Wavexpress vice
   president of broadcast distribution. "That made the FCC rules clear,
   because you never could tell who (such as children) would access a
   broadcast."

   [...]



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