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3D printing was left out of the Undetectable Firearms Act, but the discussion about 3D printed guns raises broader concerns about how well lawmakers understand making things at home.
Yesterday the Senate passed an extension of the Undetectable Firearms Act. While this act is mostly about what its name suggests – undetectable firearms – discussion about the bill has managed to bring in 3D printing. As an organization, Public Knowledge takes no positions on gun policy. Therefore we would not normally have anything to say about a gun-related bill. But Public Knowledge is involved in 3D printing policy. With the passage of this extension in both the Senate and last week in the House, now is a good time to explain what has lead us to this point, what is happening now, and how it all impacts 3D printing.
We are happy to announce that Public Knowledge will host a third Adam Thomas Memorial Fellow in 2014. Adam's friends and family came together this year to raise funds to support a new fellow in Adam's honor. We wanted to share their stories about why remembering Adam with this Fellowship is important.
"Adam’s feather in life had settled upon his passion to make the power of information accessible and create an environment where our full creative potentials may thrive. He has held this passion when going to Pitt Law and earning his Intellectual Property Rights certification. He has worked towards this goal when working at the Electronic Freedom Foundation and he has laid to rest as he sought to reach his dream at Public Knowledge.
Today, Public Knowledge joins a nationwide day of action calling for reform of the Electronic Communications Act ("ECPA"). Please sign a White House petition to improve legal protections of our communications.
Have you ever wondered what, if anything, protects the content of your emails from prying government eyes? Well, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act ("ECPA") is supposed to do that. But there’s a big problem with ECPA: it was written in the 1980s and has never been updated. As we all know, there have been some major changes to the way we communicate in the last 25 years. Those changes, in combination with an outdated law, have created some troubling deficits in privacy protection.
We should give pre-1972 sound recordings federal copyright protection that preempts state law. In the process, let's take a fresh look at our current copyright system and address some of the biggest problems.
In an op-ed published in USA Today on Monday, U.S. House Representative John Conyers of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, argued that federal copyright protection should be extended to pre-1972 sound recordings, which at present only receive copyright protection under state law. Extending federal copyright to pre-1972 sound recordings makes a lot of sense, but not for the exact reasons Conyers articulates.
Chairman Wheeler endorsed both two-sided markets and net neutrality. There seems to be a conflict.
Yesterday, new FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler delivered his first formal public address. After a prepared speech that explained his regulatory approach, he moved to a Q&A session. In that session, he appeared to endorse the opposite of net neutrality: allowing ISPs to charge websites and services in order to reach that ISP’s subscribers. In other words, giving ISPs the power to pick winners and losers online. This endorsement was all the more unexpected because it followed his explicit endorsement of "net neutrality" and a speech that touted the FCC's role in protecting the public interest. What is going on here?
The "Consumer Choice in Video Devices Act" Would Move Set-Top Competition Backward
November has been a promising month for the prospect of reform in the video marketplace, with Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller's (D-WV) ambitious Consumer Choice in Online Video Act. While we're eager to see how Congress responds to Chairman Rockefeller's bill, we're also keeping an eye on video-related activity on the other side of the Hill.
Back in September, Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), the Vice-Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology introduced H.R. 3196, the Consumer Choice in Video Devices Act, a bill that would amend the Communications Act to restrict FCC authority for adopting certain rules or policies relating to multichannel video programming distributors (such as cable operators). In particular, this bill targets Section 629 of the Telecom Act and would end the "integration ban," an FCC requirement that cable operator-supplied set-top boxes use some of the same technology--currently CableCARD--that third-party device makers use.
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