The media is a product that is created by corporations and by individuals, often with the goal of making a profit. Even in a capitalist nation, though, there are laws that govern content. Becoming a Critic reviews media economics and media law in the United States, which affect the types of content we have available and our access to media content.
As an example of the intersection of media law and media economics, take a look at some of the outcry over the proposed Comcast / Time Warner merger. One letter recently submitted to the FCC summarizes the concerns surrounding such mergers, including expanding the gatekeeping power of one corporation and exacerbating issues with net neutrality, internet / cable access, content diversity, and subscriber costs.
Also, the current debate over net neutrality is an example of how media laws can significantly affect both the content that is created and how / whether people can access content. FCC research has already suggested that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) do not consistently deliver the Internet speeds they advertise, and the lack of clear rules about net neutrality has necessitated agreements between ISPs and services like Netflix to ensure subscribers’ access to content. Providers are also able to – and have – reduced download speeds for targeted groups. Clearly, corporate profits and media regulation will have wide-reaching consequences for the content we have available to us and for the content we are able to disseminate.