Telecom Headlines

Gary Handman (ghandman@library.berkeley.edu)
Mon, 4 Dec 2000 17:26:30 -0800 (PST)

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DON'T BLAME MOVIES
Issue: Media & Society
[Op-Ed] Last week, the Federal Trade Commission announced it had decided
that the First Amendment prevents it from suing Hollywood for aggressively
marketing violence to children. Mr. Jenner is critical of the of recent
government efforts to blame society's woes on the entertainment industry. He
points out that the Supreme Court has made it clear that Congress cannot
censor movies, CDs, MP3 files, video games or comic books unless they are
constitutionally obscene. Violence, he explains, is not considered "obscene"
in the constitutional sense. Jenner says that the First Amendment would be
violated if the FTC attempted to regulate simply on the grounds that violent
movies or video games or music lyrics are "marketed" to children. "That's
the problem when politicians and bureaucrats start toying with the First
Amendment. Once the genie is out of the bottle, he doesn't want to return,"
concludes Jenner.
[SOURCE: Washington Post (A35), AUTHOR: Albert E. Jenner Jr. (professor of
law at the University of Illinois and a visiting senior fellow at the Cato
Institute)]
(http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A8155-2000Nov30.html)

TV, NET SERVICES GET OK TO SHARE AIRWAVES WITH SATELLITE FIRMS
Issue: Broadcasting
The Federal Communications Commission has decided to allow new TV and
Internet services to share a part of the airwaves now used by direct
broadcast satellite (DBS) companies. On Thursday the FCC announced the its
intent to seek comments on technical and service issues for the sharing of
the frequency band now used by DirecTV and EchoStar. It remains unclear
which players will get licenses and whether they'll be given the spectrum or
have to bid for it in an auction. Northpoint Technology, a land-based
wireless upstart seeking to offer cable, broadcast and Internet access, and
Pegasus Communications, a reseller of DirecTV service are both jockeying to
share the DBS frequency.
[SOURCE: USAToday (7B), AUTHOR: Becky Yerak]
(http://www.usatoday.com/usatonline/20001201/2882303s.htm)

STUDIOS LOOK AT DELIVERING FILMS OVER HIGH-SPEED INTERNET LINKS
Issue: Arts Online/E-commerce
Several major Hollywood movie studios are quietly working on separate
initiatives to deliver their feature films on-demand to consumers via
high-speed Internet connections. Both Sony and Walt Disney are leading
efforts to create so-called video-on-demand services over the Internet. The
studios are moving ahead with such plans because they don't want to be aced
out of the increasingly crowded race to deliver entertainment on-demand to
people's homes via digital pipelines to computers and television sets. As
more consumers get high-speed Internet connections that can handle
full-length films, the market for such services is expected to explode.
"People want to see movies on the Internet, and we, along with other
studios, plan to give them a chance to do that," said Yair Landau,
president of Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment. While some Hollywood
executives are skeptical about whether video-on-demand service will work,
one noted that the studios may need to develop an Internet service to
ensure a "Napster-like" service for exchanging movies doesn't develop in
the meantime. The executive said a "key motivating factor" for the studios
in developing a service is to "avoid the errors of the music industry,"
whose slowness in responding to the threat posed by the Internet left room
for services such as Napster to offer pirated music.
[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal (A4), AUTHOR: Anna Wilde Mathews, Martin Peers
and Bruce Orwall]
(http://interactive.wsj.com/articles/SB975550561535350725.htm)
(requires subscription)

CAN WE TRUST TV?
Issue: Journalism
[Op-Ed] Television network news, once regarded as a public service, has
become a business. The effects are seen in the disaster that was election
night 2000 coverage. Time magazine editor Walter Isaacson watched that
coverage and concluded, they "have lost their baritone of authority." 79%
of Americans believe the networks did not act responsibly in calling
Florida first for Gore and then for Bush. The corporate push to make news
profitable has lowered journalistic standards and taste. A Shorenstein
Center study shows a dramatic increase in
the number of stories "without any public policy content" -- from 36% in
1980 to 52% in 2000. Coverage of presidential candidates has also tended to
be "negative"--from 25% of stories in 1960 to 63% in 2000. In addition,
seeing all this, the public has lost confidence in the ability -- or desire
-- of network news to encourage positive developments in society. Kalb
concludes: The networks' current internal investigations may yet yield a more
responsible and substantive approach to news, but only a handful of dreamy
network optimists think so.
[SOURCE: Washington Post, (A39) AUTHOR: Marvin Kalb, executive director of the
Washington office of the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and
Public Policy at Harvard University]
(http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A1567-2000Nov28.html)

FTC SAYS IT WON'T SUE HOLLYWOOD
Issue: Media & Society
Two months after a report accusing Hollywood of aggressively marketing
violent, adult-rated entertainment to children, Federal Trade Commission
lawyers and regulators decided yesterday that they will not pursue legal
charges against any of the companies involved. The FTC was considering
charging the offending companies with engaging in deceptive or unfair
advertising practices. However, the regulator decided that the charges could
be defeated on First Amendment free-speech grounds. The FTC had found that
the film industry regularly advertised R-rated movies during television
shows and in magazines most popular with children. Pursuing the matter would
have placed the FTC in the position of having to explain which movies were
inappropriate for children and why. Lee Peeler, the FTC's associate director
for advertising practices, noted that a lawsuit might undermine the
voluntary content-rating system employed by the music, movie and film
industries. In the end, Peeler said, self-regulation "would do more and do
it quicker than government law enforcement actions." Jeffrey Chester,
executive director for the Center for Media Education, a group highly
critical of the entertainment industry's marketing practices, said "This whole
exercise is about sending the entertainment industry a big wake-up call...
They have promised to clean up their practices; clearly the FTC and
advocates are going to keep on alert."
[SOURCE: Washington Post (A01), AUTHOR: Christopher Stern]
(http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A49551-2000Nov21.html)
See Also
FTC STEPS BACK FROM REGULATING FILM MARKETING
[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal (B2), AUTHOR: David Pringle]
(http://interactive.wsj.com/articles/SB974856096446485901.htm)
(Subscription Required)

SHOP, E-MAIL AND WEB SURF ON THE TELLY
Issue: Convergence/Interactive TV
The Henley Center, a market research firm based in London, estimates that
by 2005 more people in Britain will log onto the Internet through their
TV's than on their PC's. Already 4.6 million households in Britain, or 20
percent, use some form of interactive television, a broad term that
encompasses everything from enhanced broadcasting to Internet use. Only
slightly more households, 29 percent, surf the Net from a home PC,
according to Forrester Research. This is a stark contrast to the US where
just 600,000 households (0.6%) use interactive TV while 43% of homes access
the Internet through a PC. The disparity says as much about how technology
is adopted by the general public as it does about what the new economy may
look like as it matures. In the United States, broadcasting and the
Internet have developed in parallel universes; in Britain they are
increasingly intertwined. Learn more about interactive TV in Europe at the
URL below.
[SOURCE: New York Times (C15), AUTHOR: Suzanne Kapner]
(http://www.nytimes.com/2000/11/20/technology/20VIDE.html)
(requires registration)
See Also:
NEWLY UNVEILED AOLTV IS SERIOUSLY FLAWED
[SOURCE: San Jose Mercury News, AUTHOR: Mike Langberg]
(http://www0.mercurycenter.com/svtech/columns/front/docs/ml111900.htm)

THEATER OWNERS PROMISE CONTROLS ON 'R' PREVIEWS
Issue: Media & Society
The nation's theater owners have agreed not to show previews for R-rated
movies to audiences waiting to see G- and PG-rated films. This is being done
in response to a recent Federal Trade Commission report that said Hollywood
is marketing violent entertainment to young children. The National
Association of Theater Owners made the pledge along with other promises
to limit children's exposure to violent films. The FTC responded
with cautious praise. "It is clearly a step in the right direction," said
agency spokesman Eric London, adding: "The real test for any self-regulatory
proposal is the breadth and depth of its implementation." An FTC report
released in September found that the movie, music and video-game industries
are regularly marketing violent entertainment to children, despite
labeling the products as suitable for adults. The report cited the example
of one movie studio using a 10-year-old child in market research for a
violent R-rated film. One theater owner said parents must share
responsibility in keeping their children from violent films, as well. "I get
the most calls from parents who are mad that we haven't let their kids in an
R-rated movie," one owner said.
[SOURCE: Washington Post (E01), AUTHOR: Christopher Stern]
(http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A37692-2000Nov7.html)

Gary Handman
Director
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley 94720-6000
<http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC>http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC

"Everything wants to become television"
(Gregory Ulmer. Teletheory : Grammatology in the Age of Video)
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Content-Type: text/html; charset="us-ascii"

DON'T BLAME MOVIES
Issue: Media & Society
[Op-Ed] Last week, the Federal Trade Commission announced it had decided
that the First Amendment prevents it from suing Hollywood for aggressively
marketing violence to children. Mr. Jenner is critical of the of recent
government efforts to blame society's woes on the entertainment industry. He
points out that the Supreme Court has made it clear that Congress cannot
censor movies, CDs, MP3 files, video games or comic books unless they are
constitutionally obscene. Violence, he explains, is not considered "obscene"
in the constitutional sense. Jenner says that the First Amendment would be
violated if the FTC attempted to regulate simply on the grounds that violent
movies or video games or music lyrics are "marketed" to children. "That's
the problem when politicians and bureaucrats start toying with the First
Amendment. Once the genie is out of the bottle, he doesn't want to return,"
concludes Jenner.
[SOURCE: Washington Post (A35), AUTHOR: Albert E. Jenner Jr. (professor of
law at the University of Illinois and a visiting senior fellow at the Cato
Institute)]
(http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A8155-2000Nov30.html)

TV, NET SERVICES GET OK TO SHARE AIRWAVES WITH SATELLITE FIRMS
Issue: Broadcasting
The Federal Communications Commission has decided to allow new TV and
Internet services to share a part of the airwaves now used by direct
broadcast satellite (DBS) companies. On Thursday the FCC announced the its
intent to seek comments on technical and service issues for the sharing of
the frequency band now used by DirecTV and EchoStar. It remains unclear
which players will get licenses and whether they'll be given the spectrum or
have to bid for it in an auction. Northpoint Technology, a land-based
wireless upstart seeking to offer cable, broadcast and Internet access, and
Pegasus Communications, a reseller of DirecTV service are both jockeying to
share the DBS frequency.
[SOURCE: USAToday (7B), AUTHOR: Becky Yerak]
(http://www.usatoday.com/usatonline/20001201/2882303s.htm)

STUDIOS LOOK AT DELIVERING FILMS OVER HIGH-SPEED INTERNET LINKS
Issue: Arts Online/E-commerce
Several major Hollywood movie studios are quietly working on separate
initiatives to deliver their feature films on-demand to consumers via
high-speed Internet connections. Both Sony and Walt Disney are leading
efforts to create so-called video-on-demand services over the Internet. The
studios are moving ahead with such plans because they don't want to be aced
out of the increasingly crowded race to deliver entertainment on-demand to
people's homes via digital pipelines to computers and television sets. As
more consumers get high-speed Internet connections that can handle
full-length films, the market for such services is expected to explode.
"People want to see movies on the Internet, and we, along with other
studios, plan to give them a chance to do that," said Yair Landau,
president of Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment. While some Hollywood
executives are skeptical about whether video-on-demand service will work,
one noted that the studios may need to develop an Internet service to
ensure a "Napster-like" service for exchanging movies doesn't develop in
the meantime. The executive said a "key motivating factor" for the studios
in developing a service is to "avoid the errors of the music industry,"
whose slowness in responding to the threat posed by the Internet left room
for services such as Napster to offer pirated music.
[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal (A4), AUTHOR: Anna Wilde Mathews, Martin Peers
and Bruce Orwall]
(http://interactive.wsj.com/articles/SB975550561535350725.htm)
(requires subscription)

CAN WE TRUST TV?
Issue: Journalism
[Op-Ed] Television network news, once regarded as a public service, has
become a business. The effects are seen in the disaster that was election
night 2000 coverage. Time magazine editor Walter Isaacson watched that
coverage and concluded, they "have lost their baritone of authority." 79%
of Americans believe the networks did not act responsibly in calling
Florida first for Gore and then for Bush. The corporate push to make news
profitable has lowered journalistic standards and taste. A Shorenstein
Center study shows a dramatic increase in
the number of stories "without any public policy content" -- from 36% in
1980 to 52% in 2000. Coverage of presidential candidates has also tended to
be "negative"--from 25% of stories in 1960 to 63% in 2000. In addition,
seeing all this, the public has lost confidence in the ability -- or desire
-- of network news to encourage positive developments in society. Kalb
concludes: The networks' current internal investigations may yet yield a more
responsible and substantive approach to news, but only a handful of dreamy
network optimists think so.
[SOURCE: Washington Post, (A39) AUTHOR: Marvin Kalb, executive director of the
Washington office of the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and
Public Policy at Harvard University]
(http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A1567-2000Nov28.html)

FTC SAYS IT WON'T SUE HOLLYWOOD
Issue: Media & Society
Two months after a report accusing Hollywood of aggressively marketing
violent, adult-rated entertainment to children, Federal Trade Commission
lawyers and regulators decided yesterday that they will not pursue legal
charges against any of the companies involved. The FTC was considering
charging the offending companies with engaging in deceptive or unfair
advertising practices. However, the regulator decided that the charges could
be defeated on First Amendment free-speech grounds. The FTC had found that
the film industry regularly advertised R-rated movies during television
shows and in magazines most popular with children. Pursuing the matter would
have placed the FTC in the position of having to explain which movies were
inappropriate for children and why. Lee Peeler, the FTC's associate director
for advertising practices, noted that a lawsuit might undermine the
voluntary content-rating system employed by the music, movie and film
industries. In the end, Peeler said, self-regulation "would do more and do
it quicker than government law enforcement actions." Jeffrey Chester,
executive director for the Center for Media Education, a group highly
critical of the entertainment industry's marketing practices, said "This whole
exercise is about sending the entertainment industry a big wake-up call...
They have promised to clean up their practices; clearly the FTC and
advocates are going to keep on alert."
[SOURCE: Washington Post (A01), AUTHOR: Christopher Stern]
(http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A49551-2000Nov21.html)
See Also
FTC STEPS BACK FROM REGULATING FILM MARKETING
[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal (B2), AUTHOR: David Pringle]
(http://interactive.wsj.com/articles/SB974856096446485901.htm)
(Subscription Required)

SHOP, E-MAIL AND WEB SURF ON THE TELLY
Issue: Convergence/Interactive TV
The Henley Center, a market research firm based in London, estimates that
by 2005 more people in Britain will log onto the Internet through their
TV's than on their PC's. Already 4.6 million households in Britain, or 20
percent, use some form of interactive television, a broad term that
encompasses everything from enhanced broadcasting to Internet use. Only
slightly more households, 29 percent, surf the Net from a home PC,
according to Forrester Research. This is a stark contrast to the US where
just 600,000 households (0.6%) use interactive TV while 43% of homes access
the Internet through a PC. The disparity says as much about how technology
is adopted by the general public as it does about what the new economy may
look like as it matures. In the United States, broadcasting and the
Internet have developed in parallel universes; in Britain they are
increasingly intertwined. Learn more about interactive TV in Europe at the
URL below.
[SOURCE: New York Times (C15), AUTHOR: Suzanne Kapner]
(http://www.nytimes.com/2000/11/20/technology/20VIDE.html)
(requires registration)
See Also:
NEWLY UNVEILED AOLTV IS SERIOUSLY FLAWED
[SOURCE: San Jose Mercury News, AUTHOR: Mike Langberg]
(http://www0.mercurycenter.com/svtech/columns/front/docs/ml111900.htm)

THEATER OWNERS PROMISE CONTROLS ON 'R' PREVIEWS
Issue: Media & Society
The nation's theater owners have agreed not to show previews for R-rated
movies to audiences waiting to see G- and PG-rated films. This is being done
in response to a recent Federal Trade Commission report that said Hollywood
is marketing violent entertainment to young children. The National
Association of Theater Owners made the pledge along with other promises
to limit children's exposure to violent films. The FTC responded
with cautious praise. "It is clearly a step in the right direction," said
agency spokesman Eric London, adding: "The real test for any self-regulatory
proposal is the breadth and depth of its implementation." An FTC report
released in September found that the movie, music and video-game industries
are regularly marketing violent entertainment to children, despite
labeling the products as suitable for adults. The report cited the example
of one movie studio using a 10-year-old child in market research for a
violent R-rated film. One theater owner said parents must share
responsibility in keeping their children from violent films, as well. "I get
the most calls from parents who are mad that we haven't let their kids in an
R-rated movie," one owner said.
[SOURCE: Washington Post (E01), AUTHOR: Christopher Stern]
(http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A37692-2000Nov7.html)

Gary Handman
Director
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley 94720-6000
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC

"Everything wants to become television"
(Gregory Ulmer.  Teletheory : Grammatology in the Age of Video)
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