AFL-CIO Lays Into FCC Set-Top Plan

The AFL-CIO is putting its entire weight up against the FCC's set-top revamp proposal, which it says will harm consumers and workers and needs to be rethought.

In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler (interestingly labeled a 'legislative" alert), William Samuel, director of the government affairs department, said the proposals a compulsory copyright scheme that "seriously undermines important

copyright protections," "upend" video market economics, Wheeler has said he is not undermining copyright but is instead trying to spur competition to the leased set-tops that

dominate the market to the tune of 99% of boxes. But Samuel said that "we should not permit competition to destroy an existing economic model without creating incentives for producers to create more content and expand networks and network speeds."

He said the proposal would facilitate privacy violations by navigation device makers and tech companies, who are not under the same FCC privacy regime (the FTC's lighter-tough privacy enforcement applies) as are MVPDS.

Earlier this week the AFL-CIO-affiliated Department of Professional Employees, which represents more than four million tech workers in various professions and, said it was joining what it called a "growing chorus" of unions and guilds opposed to the revise.

The AFL-CIO joins the Directors Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and others in opposing the plan. The Writers Guild of America West, by contrast, supports the chairman's proposal.

The AFL-CIO represents 56 unions covering 12.5 million people.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.