Top FCC Staffer Says Commissioner Copps "would love to have jurisdiction over everything."


What's the proper role of the FCC? According to Jennifer Schneider, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps' Legal Adviser, her boss would "love to have jurisdiction over everything." She let the cat out of the bag at the NCTA's 2010 Cable Show last week:

Here's a transcript of her answer, lightly edited for clarity:

"Well, I think Commissioner Copps would love to have jurisdiction over everything (laughter)….but he knows that's not really what the FCC is here for. Right now we're focusing on this Title I/Title II issue. When it comes to the Internet, and what rides over the Internet, we understand that it's still young. The industry is still trying to find business models that work. And we certainly don't want to interfere with that. Ultimately, though, the concern is with the consumer, so if/when things move along and there are issues, which I can't imagine happening anytime soon, someone will have to step in and I guess we'll have to wait and see if [it's] the FCC or some other agency or who knows…" [bold added]

Schneider's defense would no doubt be that it's just an off-handed remark, intended as something of a joke. And sure, she also backpedals fairly quickly by saying that Copps "knows that's not really what the FCC is here for." But it's also inadvertently revealing—a Kinsley gaffe, you might say, in which a political figure accidentally tells the truth. Copps, who has pushed to involve the FCC in everything from journalism to satellite TV service, and who has been the Commission's chief proponent of strong Net neutrality regulation, wants an FCC with few or no limits on its power. Even Schneider's placating remarks about not wanting to interfere with the still-young Net's development are followed by a prediction that once business models mature, "someone will have to step in." In other words, if Copps get his way, the FCC will leave the Internet alone for a little while, but with the implicit understanding that greater FCC control is on the way.

More on the FCC's power grabs here, here, and here.

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  1. The industry is still trying to find business models that work. And we certainly don’t want to interfere with that.

    That’s where she is either stupid, or lying. Anything and everything that the FCC does will, by definition, interfere with business models.

    Unless those models are founded on rent-seeking, of course.

    1. “The industry is still trying to find business models that work”

      They are? I thought they were doing just fine, and also making money hand over fist. Google is making so much money they can now try and influence legislation so some idiots from the FCC will help destroy their competition in the name of “net neutrality”.

      Boy these guys are dumb.

      1. Libertarian Catch-22 at work yet again.

        1. Dan T., you sir, are a moron.

          1. He’s had this explained to him numerous times. Just ignore him.

            1. Oh, so it’s his fault he doesn’t believe in fairy stories?

              A government that can enforce contracts will also be a government that can be bought and paid for by those who write the contracts.

              1. Once upon a Time,
                There was a liberal.
                He was left in charge.
                He brought in a lot of his friends.
                They smoked ganja and told all
                the hard working people what they could and could not do.
                Then ever after, everything sucked because they did not know what they were doing, and fucked shit up.
                The End.

                Even fairy tells have the truth embedded in them, you shit for brains.

          2. name’s taken buddy. move along.

      2. “The industry is still trying to find business models that work”

        They are? I thought they were doing just fine, and also making money hand over fist.

        My thoughts exactly.

        Of course, Copps is the kind of stone-age control-freak dolt that still thinks the problem with information is scarcity and thus the infrastructure must be tightly controlled by wise agents of the benevolent leader. $10 says he prints out his emails for reading.

        Please, someone explain to me again why we have the FCC, and why, dear god why, do we have these fascist troglodytes running it?

        1. We have fascists troglodutes running the FCC because that is the sort of person who generally is interested in running an organization like the FCC. We have the FCC because of the Progressive/Fascist notion that the “public” is the only entity that can own the airwaves, and that organization is feeling a little superfluous now that much content is not technically being sent over the airwaves.

  2. Censor this Michael Copps: “Go fuck yourself.”

    1. That’ll be $400,000 please. Cash or check is fine.

      1. We’ll take organs too. Kidneys, liver, whatever. We’re not too picky.

      2. Do you take lead?

  3. Even Schneider’s placating remarks about not wanting to interfere with the still-young Net’s development are followed by a prediction that once business models mature, “someone will have to step in.”

    What the fuck do we have congress for?!?!

    Why even have elections?

    Just give a random bureaucracy the power over everything and they can step in when ever there are issues.

    1. That is what they want. If congress does it, they can be held responsible for it. If the bureaucracy does it, they can say “that is terrible I will look into it” and then bray like a jackass at some hearing before letting the bureaucrat go merrily on.

      1. Exactly. The goal is to move all decisions outside the democratic process so that the voters cannot interfere.

  4. Ultimately, though, the concern is with the consumer bureaucrats


  5. Michael Copps is a child molester. He touch my thingy once.

    1. My friend said he heard Copps hates muslims and his toilet is made out of antique Korans.

      1. And I heard he has a cartoon of Muhammad with his mouth open wide painted on the inside of his toilet.

  6. Seems like department/agency heads, presidents, and others like to make jokes like this. Mo brought up an old Bush joke about dictatorial powers in another thread today. Very telling, isn’t it?

  7. LOL, the FCC is about as useless as the TSA, In fact I am not sure which is more worthless.

  8. Oh the TSA would certainly be the most worthless agency we have

    1. Did I just witness the first two-step anon bot post?

      1. It is mutating, evolving. We must now be prepared for anything.

        1. Damn, I do good work! Would you not agree, PIRS san?

      2. Your technological distinctiveness will be added to his own.

        1. Soon it will have long conversations with itself, like that John guy who post as Suki et al.

          1. Thank you Mr. Kettle, for agreeing that black is a flattering neutral.

    2. Anon Akbot!

  9. I think regulating things like which company can merge with what is a different thing than the FCC’s censorship powers. But that’s probably just me.

    1. I think regulating things like which company can merge with what is a different thing than the FCC’s censorship powers.

      Well, it doesn’t really work that way. The FCC either gets power or it doesn’t.

      Granted, you might think that the FCC Commissioners might be wise and benevolent and only use their powers in ways you approve off, but I wouldn’t trust Copps.

    2. You can see in some of the provided links that Michael Copps suggested using the FCC’s regulatory approval powers over licensing and mergers to force satellite TV providers to accept censorship of obscene materials.

      B. Regulation of Indecent Content on DBS in the Licensing Context

      Finally, as Commissioner Copps suggested in his opinion in Litigation Recovery Trust, the Commission could seek to regulate indecency on DBS through its licensing process. (55) Pursuant to [section] 309(a) of the Communications Act, the Commission shall consider “whether the public interest, convenience, and necessity will be served” by its grant or renewal of a license.

      So, MNG, “regulating things like which company can merge with what” gives the FCC backdoor powers of censorship, as Commissioner Michael Copps argues.

      1. Good point.

  10. I’ll bet the market place will kick the shit out of BP. Just ask Haliburton.

    1. Max
      WTF? This thread is about the FCC dude.

      Hell, with this kind of thing even the house liberals here are going to think of you as a troll. Try harder.

  11. Commissioner Copps? Is that his real name?

    1. Sounds Jewish…

      1. As long as it doesn’t offend my follwers, it’s OK by Reason and the FCC.

        It’s in no danger of being deleted.

  12. Say what you want about the FCC having jurisdiction over everything but it would make deleting disparaging comments about Mohammed (pbuh) easier. Reason sould approve.

    btw. muhammed (pbuh) was a pedophile, genocidal maniac.

    1. It wasn’t “Pedophilia-Pedophilia. I think it was something else, but I don’t believe it was “Pedophilia-Pedophilia”

      1. I did not have sexual relations with that 9-year old girl, Aisha.

  13. Did reason delete a Muhammed remark? Get out.

    1. Yesterday in the “draw Muhammed contest” thread, someone made a joke about Muhammaed’s alleged pederasty. Reason freaked out and deleted it. And now has closed the thread on today’s “draw Muhammed” thread.

      Remember that the next time someone is on here raving about the Jews or denying the holocaust and not getting deleted. Reason does have standards.

      1. I guess when your photo and place of employment are publicly accessible on the web, you think twice about potential death threats.

        1. Fuck them Kinnath. The first shot is theirs and the next one is mine. I actually would like to have one of those bastards come after me. And I have a whole bunch of well armed relatives who think the same way.

          1. I was amazed by the juxtaposition of the argument to dilute the threat of reprisals by having lots of cartoons, and then the closing of the comments.

            1. For a magazine called Hypocrite…

      2. It was funny to read a Reason editorial about the dangers of limiting speech because you’re afraid of what might result only to have it conclude with “we’ve closed the comments on this thread.

        1. You might have a point if you weren’t a loathsome idiot.

          1. Idiocy aside, he does have a point.

        2. Matt, you know you’ve fucked up when even an utter moron like DanT sees it.

        3. Matt you have made me agree with Dan T. And you allowed him to make a cogent and interesting point. I really hate you for that.

          1. Damn, I am going to be busy today.

            1. I’m in. I do my best work with a loofah

              1. Rhamn, pass the loofah. It costs me millions.

        4. It’s like when American Masters (or whatever) honored the life of George Carlin. The ran a clip of his “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” and promply bleeped out the words when he said them. And they didn’t just bleep the broadcast, the clip was b leeped in the fucking theater too.

      3. Wow, considering all the taking to task they do of others when they capitulate like that…Wow.

        1. Exactly why I’m not buying it, MNG. I’ve seen lots of stuff said (and I’m sure you have too) about that topic, making jokes about it, and just generally mocking Muhammad on here many times and nothing was ever deleted or closed. Makes no sense so I’m supremely skeptical of John’s claim absent some evidence.

          1. But surely it’s a bit much to ask John to prove a negative (prove a site that was here now is not). All he can do is call on others who saw it…

          2. They deleted the comments and have closed comments on the thread today. If not to prevent offensive comments about Muhammad, then for what reason?

            1. Maybe someone threatened to hunt down and kill each commenter.

              1. I’d like to see em go after Anonbot.

                1. I’d like to see em go after Anonbot.

                  They’d show up with a few bags of fertilizer and anonbot would be all like “I need your turban, your sandles and your camel”.

              2. Oh noes!

            2. Read their explanation. It’s not specific but given the contest they were running and the many many threads with plenty of offensive and insulting comments about Muhammad, I don’t see how it is plausible that it was simply the reason behind it. Why would they allow it in every other thread on the topic and not that one?

              1. Maybe they don’t know it is going on on the other threads. Give them time. I understand your point, but what other reason would they have to kill a 280 post thread? I can’t think of one.

                If they did it for another reason, I would like to know what. If they did it for that reason, they suck. I have gotten in any number of disagreements about Christianity on this site. And the resident atheists have said all sorts of offensive things. Never once did Reason ever intervene. And nor should they have. To intervene now is pretty low rent.

            3. I remember somthing about there being an “Internet LIbrary” of some sort that had a “Wayback machine” that enabled people to look at the way a USL looked in the past. Does anyone know what I am refering to? I will look into it. It may be we can sort this out.

              1. Found it. It is called “Internet Archive” but the only problem is that their site says it takes them six months to get everything stored for a particular URL. In six months we may be able to find out what really happened.


                1. The next six months will be critical!

            4. I will say that I think we deserve a better, more specific explanation as to why exactly it was closed. Yes it’s their web site and no, it’s not censorship, but given the ideals (rightfully) expressed here, it is only logical and I think fair that this site would be held to a higher standard of openness. I think that compels them to explain their reasoning despite their recognized right to run this site as they see fit.

              1. “Yes it’s their web site and no, it’s not censorship”

                You don’t consider deleting 280 comments censorship? How odd.

                1. That depends on how broadly you are willing to define censorship. Legally speaking, it must be a governmental action.

                2. You consider a private organization exercising editorial control of what it publishes on its own website censorship? How odd.

                  As I said however, I think they owe us a better explanation and I would be very critical of any decision they made based simply on comments being insulting or offensive. I was merely acknowledging that it is, after all, their property so no, it’s not censorship.

            5. Didn’t they shut down comments on the Columbia doggie massacre story after it went viral? Could just be technical problems.

          3. Here is where I found out. It was in today’s morning links.


            1. We need the whole link, not the abbreviated text with ….. in it – doesn’t work.

              1. Update: Due to the high, server-crushing volume of comments and the gratuitously insulting imagery of many of them?it seems that if there’s one group of folks more obsessed with gay sex than Islamic terrorists, it’s critics of the same?we’ve decided to shut down comments to this post. For those who wrongly equate this with censorship, please note that the Web, like the world itself, is wide and there are plenty of places you can go to post your comments about just about anything. If this be censorship, then kicking drunken party guests out of your living room at 6AM is ethnic cleansing. And the murder of Theo van Gogh simply another bad film review.

                Reader comments can be sent to me directly at gillespie-at-reason-dot-com.


                1. That’s rationalizing bullshit. There’ve been plenty of gay sex obsessed threads.

              2. John’s link.

                1. Well, if it’s true that Baff’s comment about dicks and Muhammad’s mouth got deleted for being “gratuitously offensive” then I am very disappointed in Reason.

          4. Exactly why I’m not buying it, MNG. I’ve seen lots of stuff said (and I’m sure you have too) about that topic

            I wonder if this means Postrel and Sanchez are back. I have a hard time seeing Nick or Matt nuking the shark like that.

      4. What evidence do you have of this? Is that just your guess as to what happened or did they say that? I find that very hard to believe so you’re gonna have to cite something other than your hunch.

        1. They killed a 280+ comment thread that was pretty mild. The main action was derived from old man Tulpa’s offended sense of propriety.

          1. Well, that part doesn’t surprise me…

  14. I can’t jack to this.

  15. I read a comment from some author a long time ago where he stated that if the US government was ever overthrown it would be through an agency that writes regulations that carry the weight of law without actually having laws past.

    Every now and then I try to figure out which agency is going to take over the world. The IRS seems obvious, but in reality they just want to bitch-slap taxpayers around and collect taxes. The FCC on the other hand could very well end up controlling all communications with an iron fist.

    1. Can you imagine that mug popping up in the middle of your Holodeck experience?

      “Access denied.”

      1. He’s got nuthin’ on me in that department.

  16. Top FCC Staffer Says Commissioner Copps “would love to have jurisdiction over everything.”

    Well, duh.

  17. How are they supposed to trade in favors if they don’t have control over something?

  18. Dooooooooooouchebag!

  19. Speaking of “jurisdiction over everything,” this William Saletan piece on Blumenthal demonstrates just how willing he has been to use his AG powers on people and groups who have been misleading, unclear, or allowed inaccurate third party descriptions of themselves to stand unchallenged. It’s an impressive list, and demonstrates why he deserves no slack.

  20. I had always thought you can’t regular the internet because you can have servers outside a given jurisdiction. It’s why IsoHunt moved their servers to Canada, and why there are offshore bank accounts. Can the FCC regulate the content of Google’s servers in a foreign country?

    Hint: No, fuck off.

    This crap makes me hopping mad.

  21. Joanna Doven, spokeswoman for Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl displaying the regulatory mindset.

    Anytime you see something growing and expanding, and there are no rules, you need to regulate it.

    1. Translation:

      Anytime you see something growing and expanding turning a profit, and there are no rules is no competing government gang taking its cut, you need to regulate it.

  22. just take a lesson from GW Bush and Dick Cheney they taught us how fly a plane into a building and kill lots of people to proceed w a war plan… looks like its time to do the same with the communist company the FCC and all its supporters….

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