AT&T: CCIA proposal just a ‘thinly veiled repackaging’ of Unlock the Box


AT&T has sharply rebuked a white paper filed last week by the Google-backed Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), labeling it as “a thinly veiled repackaging” of the FCC’s “unlawful, unwise, and unworkable unbundling proposal.”

The org, which also represents TiVo and (somewhat counter-intuitively) Dish Network, filed a white paper called "Unlock the Box: How to Address Opposition and Boost Competition.” In the document, the group purports to bridge the gap between the FCC’s “Unlock the Box” NPRM and the pay-TV industry’s apps-based counter proposal, “Ditch the Box.”

Poppycock! said AT&T, in an ex parte filing.

"Such co-existence supposedly can occur because CCIA’s proposal ‘remedies’ all of the many fundamental copyright, security, privacy, and other flaws that programmers, MVPDs, virtually the entire creative community, over 200 bipartisan members of Congress, unions, scholars and academics, public interest groups, industry experts, the Copyright Office, and myriad others have identified with the Commission’s original proposal in this proceeding. In fact, CCIA’s proposal does not magically enable the 'coexistence' that it purports to provide,” wrote AT&T.

The new proposal, AT&T said, “perpetuates CCIA’s original and outrageous demand that the FCC facilitate its members’ ability to poach, reshape, and monetize valuable video programming – for free and unbound by the very contractual/licensing terms that catalyzed creation of the programming in the first place. 

“Most egregiously,” the ex parte adds, “CCIA explicitly concedes that its supposed ‘solution,’ just like the NPRM proposal, would not honor all terms of programmers’ copyright licenses.

AT&T cited a previous CCIA ex parte, which stated, “Because third parties are not parties to and lack access to programmers’ private contracts, there should be no expectation that competitive navigation devices can or should have to follow those restrictions.” 

The Copyright Office,” AT&T noted, “has expressly rejected such a result as incompatible with the basic legal protections Congress has provided for copyright owners.”

The pay-TV industry has vigorously opposed the FCC’s adoption in February to “unlock” the proprietary pay-TV set-top business to third-party operators including Google and TiVo. The industry has gained traction with a counter-proposal that would rely on multi-screen apps provided by operators. 

For more:
- see this FCC filing
- read this CCIA white paper

Related articles:
Google, TiVo call cable's STB plan 'light in details, heavy with loopholes'
Wheeler: 'Unlock the Box' will exempt small analog cable systems
Majority Whip to Wheeler: 'Abandon' Unlock the Box
FCC's Wheeler may bow to pressure, could change 'Unlock the Box' set-top proposal