Prospect of ITV Rules Irks Time Warner


San Francisco— Time Warner Cable is troubled by a Federal Communications Commission proposal that would ban cable networks from embedding interactive links if they’re designed to steer children toward commercial Web sites.

Under the FCC proposal, the ban would apply unless parents agreed to opt in, as opposed to allowing the links until parents said they didn’t want them or opted out.

In comments filed on April 1, Time Warner said imposing FCC rules now would cripple efforts to find technological means to combine TV programming and Web content in a useful and commercially viable manner.

“It is altogether too soon to regulate this nascent technology and we urge the [FCC] to defer imposing any requirements,” Time Warner said.

The National Association of Broadcasters and The Walt Disney Co. filed comments that echoed Time Warner’s view that questioned the need for regulatory intervention.

Disney, which questioned whether the agency had authority to impose the ban, argued that the FCC would best meet its goals by jawboning industry to craft guidelines on its own.

“Ultimately, Disney believes that instead of regulating interactive services at this time, the [FCC] should monitor the marketplace and work with the industry to encourage the continued responsible implementation of interactive services,” Disney said.

In 2001, Disney urged the FCC to adopt interactive regulations to ensure big cable MSOs didn’t use their networks to discriminate against rivals.