ACTA’s Take on Digital Piracy Is Nothing New

Ever since its existence came to light two years ago, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement has been the object of speculation, litigation and paranoia among media and technology policy wonks. Last week, a new document leak added fuel to the fire by seeming to suggest that the U.S. is trying to engineer a worldwide "three-strikes" regime for accused file-sharers, through the expedient of a multilateral trade agreement, that would ultimately require a significant tightening of U.S. copyright law. But what the leaked document mostly suggests is that the U.S. position on ACTA has more to do with exporting U.S. copyright law to other nations than the other way around.…

Read More

The Ultimate Guide To TV Everywhere

Over the past three years, the Internet has become a major secondary distribution platform for free-to-air broadcast programming. Whether through network programmers’ own sites, such as, or through aggregators like Hulu and, ad-supported broadcast programming today is generally available online shortly after its initial airing at no cost to the user. However, programming such as ESPN, TNT and the Discovery Channel, which originates on pay-TV platforms (i.e. cable, satellite and telco TV services) has been a different story. Cable system operators and other multichannel video program distributors (MVPDs) are loathe to see the programming for which they are charging subscribers hefty monthly fees made available “over-the-top” without a subscription. Over time, they fear, consumers would be tempted to drop their expensive cable service if they could access their favorite programs online. Cable networks, for their part, collect hefty fees from MVPDs for the right to retransmit their programming, from a few cents per subscriber per month, to as much as $3.75 per subscriber per month, for the most popular channels like Disney’s ESPN. In aggregate, cable networks collect about $25 billion per year in “affiliate fees” from MVPDs, about the same amount as they generate collectively from advertising sales. As a result, much of the original programming on pay-TV networks is not currently available online, and that which is often doesn’t appear until well after its original air date. The popularity of portals like Hulu (not to mention illegal sources of TV content), however, has accustomed consumers to expect access to their favorite shows online, putting pressure on the industry to respond. Network programmers and marketers, meanwhile, are also anxious to extend their programming franchises by tapping the broad, online audience. TV Everywhere, which aims to make subscription programming available online exclusively to current pay-TV subscribers, represents an effort to square that circle. In this report, we look at the players, potential costs, and emerging opportunities of these efforts.…

Read More