The Washington Post

The Circuit: ‘Payola’ segments, FCC’s Copps resigns, Netflix-backed video bill passes House

LEADING THE DAY: Despite a Federal Communications Commission rule against “payola” or “plugola” segments, television news stations often feature paid pitchmen endorsing products without disclosing their financial ties, The Washington Post reported. According to the report, the FCC has brought just 20 “payola” cases since 2000, and only knows about such practices if someone complains.

Verizon, Google Wallet: The hotly anticipated Galaxy Nexus will not support Google Wallet at launch, Verizon said Tuesday. Google confirmed that Verizon asked the company not to include the feature in the Galaxy Nexus phone, The Washington Post reported.

Verizon spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said the company isn’t “blocking” the app, however, and that it is in “commercial discussions” with Google on the matter. Consumer advocacy groups said that Verizon might not be supporting Google Wallet on the Galaxy Nexus because the company is working with AT&T and T-Mobile on its own contactless payment service, ISIS.

FCC commissioner Copps resigns: FCC commissioner Michael Copps announced his resignation Tuesday, making way for his former staffer and current FCC nominee Jessica Rosenworcel, The Washington Post reported. Copps, who has served as an FCC commissioner for a decade, will serve until Jan. 1, unless Rosenworcel is appointed sooner.

The Democratic commissioner has been a fierce critic of media consolidation and a proponent of Internet access rules. In a statement, he said that he intends to “keep speaking about these challenges as a private citizen in the years to come.”

Video Privacy Protection Act: The House passed a bill sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and backed by lobbying from Netflix that would update the Video Privacy Protection Act to allow for users to opt-in to sharing their movie rental information via social networks. In September, Netflix and Facebook announced a partnership that let users in other countries share their video viewing histories through the social network, but the partnership is blocked in the U.S. by the 1988 law.

In a statement, Goodlatte’s office said that the new bill makes it clear that users can opt-in to these kinds of services and that consent may be withdrawn. The bill passed with a vote of 303-116 and will move on to the Senate.

House looks at antitrust agencies: Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz and acting Justice Department antitrust head Sharis Pozen are expected to testify today at a House Judiciary subcommittee on competition hearing on the oversight of antitrust enforcement agencies.

Verizon to take on Netflix with Web video: Verizon is planning to launch a video service to compete with Netflix, Reuters reported, which would allow customers to stream movies and television shows over the Web. The new service could be rolled out as soon as 2012, the report said. The Web service would be introduced outside of markets currently served by Verizon Fios.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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