Skip to main content

AFL-CIO Pushes for Set-Top Text

The AFL-CIO wants the FCC to publish the text of its latest set-top box revamp proposal.

The chairman has resisted such calls to this point.

In a letter to Wheeler Wednesday (Oct. 26), William Samuel, director of the union's government affairs department, said that if the FCC was to be "fully transparent" it would release the full text of the revised proposal before a vote.

After pulling the item off the September meeting agenda to let commissioners vet some last-minute changes, he did lift prohibitions he had instituted on further meetings with FCC staffers about the item, but stakeholders have argued that given that changes, they didn't know exactly what they were commenting on.

Given the outcry from the political right and left for transparency, the chairman may want to vote the item in a public meeting once/if he gets three votes, but is unlikely to publish the text of what is considered work-in-progress work product until it is voted.

One of the union's concerns, shared by cable operators and studios and some in Congress, is the impact of the proposal on copyright and contract protections.

"The middle class Americans who depend on copyright protections to earn family-supporting pay and the consumers entrusting their personal information with corporations that deliver their entertainment content deserve a voice in the process."

Last month, Samuel wrote the FCC, saying the proposal "seriously undermines important copyright protections that help ensure that the people who work in the film and TV industry receive fair compensation for the work that they create."