TPA Opposes FCC Chairman Wheeler's 'Revised' Set-Top Box Proposal

Michi Iljazi

September 9, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) slammed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler’s latest iteration of his “set-top box” proposal, which continues to rely on misguided policy and questionable authority.  On Thursday, Chairman Wheeler laid out a new approach to phase out traditional set-top boxes after his original attempt to mandate the unbundling of content failed to garner support due to the threat it posed to content creators and other stakeholders in the video marketplace. The new plan the Chairman is hoping to implement would use “compulsory licensing” as a way to phase out the set-top box. This new approach presents all sorts of problems, as the compulsory licensing that Chairman Wheeler appears to have planned for would put the FCC in charge of licensing and distributing creative works, a power they have never had nor were ever intended to have. This new plan from the FCC once again threatens creators and puts copyright at great risk and threatens consumers and taxpayers.

TPA President David Williams urged the FCC to back away from this new approach saying, “Chairman Wheeler needs to understand the concerns of all stakeholders in the creative community, as well as the concerns from the Copyright Office. This revised proposal grants the agency unprecedented powers.” Williams continued, “What is best is an approach that respects copyright, incentivizes innovation, and preserves competition in the video marketplace. The latest iteration of Chairman Wheeler’s ‘set-top box’ proposal stands in direct contrast to those principles.”

TPA will monitor the actions of the FCC as the September 29 vote on the proposal approaches. But, as it stands right now, this approach should be scrapped like the previous one. Chairman Wheeler needs to focus on how to encourage creators and incentivize competition; he’s clearly missed that opportunity with this revised plan.

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