Thanks to Hulu, an obvious studio pawn acting on Fox’s direction, we got a brief glimpse into what a non-neutral network future might look like. As you’ve probably read (or possibly experienced) Cablevision and Fox-parent News Corp are renegotiating retransmission terms. And, as Mari suggested last week, these battles have gotten nasty. With the current dust up resulting in a total Fox television blackout for New York Cablevision customers. To exert additional leverage, Fox/News Corp took the battle to a different medium by presumably, selectively blocking regional Cablevision network addresses from accessing Fox content on Hulu.com.
Public Knowledge: “Blocking Web sites is totally out of bounds in a dispute like this.”
Free Press: “This discrimination against Cablevision high-speed Internet customers is particularly egregious because all other online viewers who do not purchase any cable television service currently have unfettered access to Hulu and Fox.com content.”
This isn’t the first time I’ve called Hulu out on these sorts of practices. Although, when I wondered where Hulu would draw the line, we went ’round and ’round the comments discussing what exactly ‘net neutrality‘ is… and how it might be abused. I’m not sure we’ve found that line yet, but some at Hulu or News Corp apparently decided they weren’t quite ready to open this particular can of worms, as online access was restored within a few hours yesterday. However, I give them credit for mentally preparing us for the possible dynamics of a non-neutral network future.