Monday, May 08, 2006

When Rich People Speak Without Thinking

At least I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume he's saying something stupid, rather than assuming we're all idiots.

Mediacom CEO Rocco Commisso decried "net neutrality" rules today, according to B&C.

"The government is coming and telling us how we can rent our infrastructure..." Citing networks that sell episodes of hit TV shows online, Rocco says "they're making money through our pipe" but then "turn around and `say don't let Rocco charge anybody for this usage.'"

Well... Rocco (since we're all calling you Rocco)... You did "charge anybody" for the usage.

In fact, you charged everybody for the usage.

Every computer pays for internet access. Every computer hooked up to the pipe pays the piper, doesn't it? Each video sent through the Net, therefore, is paid for going in, and going out. Isn't that right, Rocco?

The gas company sells gas through its pipe. We all pay for it. I use it to heat soup. Mrs. Fields uses it to make millions of dollars baking cookies. The gas company isn't entitled to shake down Mrs. Fields for a percentage of her cookie profits. It's not her fault she put the gas to better use than I did.

Should the phone company be entitled to a percentage of all deals made on phone calls? I use the phone for business all the time... As long as I pay my bill, if anyone from Sprint shows up here looking for a cut of my income, they will get a panini di knuckles.

As for the government "telling you" how to rent your infrastructure, that's no different than the government "telling you" you have to let black people use your restrooms. Or you have to fairly consider renting your guest house to gay people. Or you have to put a wheelchair ramp in front of your office building. Or you have to put safety rails around equipment to protect workers.

Welcome to America, Rocco.

In this country, the government "tells us" to do a lot of things, because some people aren't as enlightened as you. Left to their own devices, they would try to find a way to cheat every citizen and squeeze every situation to their own benefit in order to wheedle every last dollar they could out of it, no matter how unfair or how unscrupulous it made them seem.

You chose to get into the utility business. That means we pay for it whether we use it or not. When I go on vacation for a week, I still pay for my Internet access, even though I didn't use it at all. If I come home from vacation with an idea to make a million dollars with the bandwidth, none of that money is yours.

Deal with it, Rocco.


Paul Israelson said...

I agree with you 100%.

Rocco sounds like that Wayne Knight character in "Jurassic Park."

Michael Markowitz said...

I love it!!! An evil we can unite against!!!

Paul Israelson said...

Gotta give you "props" for identifying an evildoer.

The Internet is, after all, free enterprise in its purest, unfettered form. The federal government must protect the public and the Internet from this kind of parasite. (I don't believe in subsidies for corporations, either)

I run across guys like Rocco in my business all the time. They suffer from "seller's remorse" and outrageously excessive greed.

They sold their "products" for what at the time seemed like a decent profit. Now that THEIR customers are making brobdignabian profits by clever or creative useage of the "product", these racketeer-wannabes are trying to cut themselves in for a piece of their customers' action.

Screw 'em.

Sean Tisdall said...

Precicely. It's like the guy who invented a camcorder demanding his patent royalties in shares of a production as opposed to reflected in the price of the product. One should hope that congress be bright enough to police this properly, given that the rest of the planet pretty much relies on the US to regulate the provision of internet services.

Even as a Canadian nationalist I should shudder to think what might happen if such intra-national ISP cartels were to develop and what Canadian content might be lost to the rest of the world (And vice versae) So yeah. Net neutrality good.

And Paul, "props" for using brobdignagian in a sentence. Definitely applies right now.

Paul Conley said...

Well said.
If nothing else, Rocco's comments should make it clear that the cable industry's claim that net neutrality laws aren't needed is nonsense. Rocco, after all, is on the board of the National Cable Television Association.

peeky said...

it's insanely greedy and terrifying. can you imagine? not just charging us for everything and then censoring it. i'm hopeful that with so much (bi-partisan) objection, it will be killed.

Michael Markowitz said...

Unfortunately, every Democratic and Republican effort to amend the bill has met with a Republican squashing party. I saw the guy behind this on CSPAN's "The Communicators" and he really seems to have drunk the telco Kool Aid. He might as well have pinned the checks to his lapels.

Anonymous said...

Gotta give credit to Mike & his boys for "brobdignagian" -- from the Duckman episode "Vuuck, as in Duck" -- and of course Gulliver's Travels

Michael Markowitz said...

Thanks... That was an episode I rewrote and produced, and it's one I loved... and not just because of all the beautiful, talented women who guest starred. It had two jokes I was both ashamed and proud of at the same time: the brobdignagian one, because I knew people would be scratching their heads the first couple of times -- I loved the idea of waiting until the very end of the episode to pay off a joke -- and this one:

DUCKMAN: The players need to concentrate on fundamentals! Simplify, simplify, simplify!

CORNFED: Thoreau?

DUCKMAN: And hit and catch, too!

Horrible, I know, but just the kind of joke I love. And Jason could never get through the "Gibber" speech without laughing... one of very few outtakes we have from him.

By the way, Chick Hearn was incredibly nice, and generous with his time. And Kathy Ireland was wonderful. We had her on a couple of times, and she was very sweet and always did a great job for us. Same with Maureen McGovern. I remember Nicole Eggert being very funny and sweet, too.

And it was, IIRC, the only episode where Tim Curry did not reveal himself to be King Chicken.

Sean Tisdall said...

Damn Honduran Androids... Next time I buy American!

Mua ha ha! Bock bock bock! That seems so very you... The next day the stadium was sold to Desmond... I forget the last name for $340 Million dollars by the people of local community. (Curse Teletoon for not running that more often) Coincidentally the male lead I'm writing for my flash series is named Desmond. I'm sure it's a complete coincidence.

Paul Israelson said...

Simon Desmond.

Episode 58. Vuuck, as in Duck (edit)
First aired: 5/3/1997
Duckman inherits a minor league baseball team as the dying wish of the owner who is trying to keep the team from hands of a banker. To boost attendance he stages a series of stunts, that humiliate and scare the players into quitting. He "hires" nine super-models to take their place and they are an instant success. Cornfed teaches them the fundamentals of baseball and they become a great team. The banker institutes a scheme to prevent the supermodels from winning the big game and Cornfed discovers his other scheme on the Internet in the newsgroup alt.villians.greedy-schemes.

Writer: Brett Baer, David Finkel
Director: Jeff McGrath
Guest star: Tim Curry (Voice of Simon Desmond (not King Chicken!)) , Jill Goodacre (Voice of Unknown), Nicole Eggert (Voice of Unknown), Chick Hearn (Voice of Himself), Kathy Ireland (Voice of Unknown), Tom Kane (Voice of Gene Vuuck), Maureen McGovern (Voice of Ajax singing The National Anthem), Alison Moir (Voice of Unknown)