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Even when they agree on what they want, Members of Congress excel at division and making a noncontroversial bill sound like the road to ruin.
FACT: Ask every member of the House Judiciary Committee if they support the right of consumers to unlock their cell phones so they can change service providers and they will say yes. All of them.
And yet for two hours Wednesday, Committee members engaged in heated debate and ultimately voted by a small margin to move the simple four page bill (H.R. 1123) sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte out of Committee and to the House floor for consideration and vote. This should not have been a controversial committee mark up, but many Members of Congress continue to be concerned about what this bill means, rather than what it actually does.
The Commerce Department's Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) is right to delve into the complexity of music licensing in its recent paper on copyright, but we also need to understand how consolidation and business practices shape the licensing landscape if we want to create a more robust and fair music marketplace.
Among many other important issues, the Department of Commerce's recent paper on copyright discusses how copyright is shaping the current state of online music licensing (starting on page 77). To be fair, the paper doesn't purport to be a completely comprehensive examination of what's helping and hindering a healthy music licensing market, but without at least mentioning some of the biggest issues facing the marketplace today our policies might be misguided and ineffective.
First of all, the paper rightly recognizes that the best defense is a good offense, and notes studies crediting the development of legal music services as a leading force in decreasing infringement online. This is a good reminder that everyone--artists, intermediaries, and listeners alike--stand to benefit from a well-designed music licensing system that encourages a robust marketplace.
Senators examine the opportunities and challenges posed by the transition of America’s phone lines from the traditional network to new, internet-based networks.
The public telephone network remains the backbone of our nation’s telecommunications infrastructure, but any changes in technology need to reflect a bedrock principle— we must make sure the transition results in an actual upgrade in technology without a downgrade in the services upon which Americans depend.
Leaders from telecom, rural broadband, and Internet industry joined PK's President Gigi Sohn to discuss the challenges of the IP transition at the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing on the “State of Wireline Communications” last Thursday.
Verizon’s post-hurricane Sandy Voice Link experiment should be the cautionary tale that spurs the FCC into action, not the blueprint for carriers to follow should a similar situation arise in the future.
Today, Public Knowledge, along with 18 other public interest groups, asked the FCC to affirmatively create post-disaster communications policy. PK believes that all Americans should have access to basic telephone services, regardless of location. Since the invention of the telephone, federal regulations have protected and promoted that access, as well as competition in the communications industry.
Unless the FCC establishes appropriate responses for situations in which infrastructure is damaged and carriers do not wish to rebuild, policy makers will continue to improvise, carriers will continue to evade their regulatory obligations, and consumers will continue to be harmed.
Is broadcasting's past holding back TV's future?
When it comes to disputes between companies, particularly when they're just about money, I usually don't care about the he-said/she-said. What matters is the effect on consumers, and when financial disputes between companies threaten to harm consumers, I just want them to work it out.
The witness list for upcoming copyright hearings raise significant questions about who the subcommittee is really listening to.
The House IP Subcommittee recently announced its plans to hold its next two hearings in its series on copyright reform. The first, to be held this Thursday, July 25th, is entitled “Innovation in America: the Role of Copyrights.” The next, to be held next Thursday, August 1, is as-yet untitled, but will apparently be about the role of technology in innovation.
This announcement raises a few questions for the upcoming hearings. Why are they being structured this way? What, exactly, does the subcommittee hope to learn from the witnesses in them? And how will that information contribute to the cause of copyright reform?
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