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The First Amendment Is Not a Sword, but a Shield

October 7, 2010

  Last night, NCTA President & CEO Kyle McSlarrow received The Media Institute’s Freedom of Speech Award during the organization’s annual banquet. That honor “recognizes an individual who has made important contributions to the advancement and protection of free speech.” B&C’s John Eggerton was there and filed a report: [McSlarrow] pointed out that the Media…

The First Amendment & the Cable Industry: A better way

September 29, 2010

In the previous segment, we looked at how First Amendment principles manifest themselves in how the Internet should or shouldn’t be regulated.  And I concluded that media – including ISPs – should be able to maximize the value of their services without rules from the government that serve to protect and promote certain speakers.  But…

The First Amendment & the Cable Industry: Net Neutrality and the First Amendment

September 28, 2010

In the previous segment of this series, I briefly touched on how government officials may attempt to weigh in on questions of what content the media, and cable systems, can/cannot or should/should not carry – and the harm to the public interest caused by such activity.  This same principle transcends traditional technology and carries over…

The First Amendment & the Cable Industry: “Fair and reasonable” – Who gets to decide?

September 27, 2010

I have previously mentioned the critical role of editorial discretion in creating packages of content that serve the public interest.  But not everyone agrees on the extent to which First Amendment speakers should be able to exercise their editorial discretion. Both the government and particular speakers may have interests in regulating the media that are,…

The First Amendment & the Cable Industry: The Supreme Court weighs in

September 23, 2010

As I described in my previous posts, it was cable television’s reliance on an “editorial discretion” model – rather than a “common carrier” model – that resulted in the rapid growth, broad diversity and attractiveness of cable’s program offerings.  Cable operators and policymakers made that choice early on in cable’s development – long before the…

The First Amendment & the Cable Industry: The importance of editorial discretion

September 22, 2010

During the early growth years of cable TV, as I outlined in my previous post, cable operators and programmers invented a “dual revenue” model in which revenue from subscription fees and advertising formed the platform for an eventual explosion in programming choices.  The model was built – contrary to some contemporaneous calls to turn cable…

The First Amendment & the Cable Industry: The birth of multichannel video

September 21, 2010

I started this series examining the First Amendment’s impact on the development of cable TV by pointing to the tension between media outlets utilizing their rights to decide what content and points of view to present, and advocates of access to the media that seek to leverage the First Amendment to gain a platform for…