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WGAW: FCC Must Write Ad Protection Into Set-Top Plan

The Writers Guild of America, West is generally supportive of the FCC proposal to make MVPD set-top content and data available to third party devices and apps—to spur more navigation device competition—but only if the original ad placements are protected.

In meetings last week with top FCC officials, WGAW attorneys offered up some options to the FCC for preventing "interference" with imbedded ad content.

Those included: 1) conclude, as it has already suggested it would do, that ISP data streams not have to include information about the imbedded ads so third parties can't use the data to change or replace the advertising; 2) require that licenses for competitive devices specify that they may not "alter, replace, overlay, or remove protected content;" 3) make third-party use of information flows subject to the same contractual conditions between content providers and MVPDs; and 4) require that device certification be contingent on no altering, replacing, removing or overlaying.

WGAW says third parties may have an incentive to substitute or overlay imbedded ads, that such business models already exist, and the FCC must take affirmative steps to prevent it.

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.