Comcast exec: Expect more Web regulation

Cable giant has delved into the Internet world with Comcast Interactive Media, and CIM's vice president says new laws will eventually follow new Web technology.

WASHINGTON--Web companies had better get used to more government interference, intervention, and regulation targeting their businesses, Kevin Kuzas, vice president and general counsel for Comcast Interactive Media, said on Wednesday.

Kuzas gave a keynote address at a Web 2.0 forum on Wednesday hosted by business and legal publisher Pike & Fischer.

There's a myth among Web entrepreneurs, Kuzas said, that the government is irrelevant to their business.

Kevin Kuzas of Comcast Interactive Media speaks about Web 2.0 law on Wednesday. Stephanie Condon/CNET Networks

"There's a little bit of truth to this idea that policy makers are undoubtedly far behind," he said. "Government regulation can take years, while a Web 2.0 product is on a time frame of months, if that.

Web 2.0 companies will certainly attract more attention as larger companies enter the fray. Comcast Interactive Media started in January 2006, and along with Comcast.net, it runs a number of socially oriented ventures, such as the movie site Fandango and the social e-newsletter Daily Candy.

"So far, politicians have had a hands-off approach to the Internet," Kuzas said. "But "that kind of disparate treatment will go away over time."

Even though CIM is affiliated with a heavily regulated cable television business, Kuzas said it should be regulated more like Google than Comcast.

He said Congress is receptive to suggestions in the way it approaches Web law, particularly with respect to copyright law.

On Capitol Hill, there is "more recognition that the (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) is 10 years old and doesn't really fit these companies anymore," he said. Change is possible, "but we're looking at a multiyear time frame."

It's unclear how much of the talk was in reference to the Federal Communications Commission's recent action against Comcast on BitTorrent grounds, which the broadband provider has appealed , or a warning to Internet companies like Google that have been Comcast's political rivals on Net neutrality in the past.

 

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