Democratic Congressmen turn on FCC set-top proposal

While Democratic lawmakers helped get the ball rolling for the FCC to propose new rules to break up the pay-TV set-top leasing business, the party is hardly in lock step on the issue.

Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee, Chairman Bob Goodlatte and ranking member John Conyers, wrote FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Friday, voicing piracy concerns about his set-top proposal.

"Creators are legitimately worried about the prospect that future set-top boxes, or their functional equivalents, could incorporate apps such as Popcorn Time or its functionality, or otherwise lead to the unauthorized distribution of copyright works," the lawmakers said.

The powerful Motion Picture Association of America has launched a spirited lobbying effort in recent weeks, spearheaded by piracy concerns.

Separately, two California legislators, Adam Schiff and Tony Cárdenas, along with Texas Democrat Gene Green (D-Tex.), wrote a letter to their House colleagues, reminding them that the content industry isn't necessarily supporting the FCC's proposal. 

"You may have seen or heard suggestions that the content industry is supportive of the FCC's proposed rule," they said. "To the contrary, there are substantial concerns on the part of the content industry, including television, film, and music, regarding the impact of the proposed rule on copyright protections, existing licensing agreements, and the rights of content creators."

For more:
- read this Ars Technica story
- read this letter to the FCC
- read this Multichannel News story

Related articles:
Only 20% of pay-TV users think leased set-tops are waste of money, survey says
Wheeler: Comcast just proved the point for 'Unlock the Box'
Pros weigh in on FCC set-top proposal

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