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Earlier this week, Public Knowledge announced that we have hired Charles Duan to head up our new Patent Reform Project. Charles is a computer scientist and former patent litigator who is currently working with my colleagues at the University of Colorado Law School analyzing next-generation Internet technologies and their impact on privacy, intellectual property and communications law. He’ll be starting full time this summer and we’re excited to get started.
Among the many valuable collections that the Library of Congress holds is a vast collection of old newspapers. The Library explains (page 16) that digitizing these collections can provide new and efficient tools for researchers. These newspapers offer a wealth of information on topics such as “the Great Depression, American perspectives on the rise of Hitler and World War II, post-World War I and immigrant communities in America, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, community views on the Civil Rights Act of 1968, to name a few.” These newspapers and scores of other works cannot be publicly disseminated without permission from their copyright owners, who are often unlocatable. These works are called orphan works. The Copyright Office is conducting an inquiry into possible solutions to the problem of orphan works.
Last week we started unpacking Public Knowledge’s proposed Five Fundamentals to guide the upgrade of our phone network to an IP-based infrastructure. First, we explained the importance of providing basic phone service to everyone in the country, regardless of the protocols used to deliver that service.
This week, we’ll focus on the continued need for interconnection and competition among phone service providers.
Share your cable frustrations here. The best stories will be published to this blog on Thursday, March 21!
Why is it that cable bills keep getting higher? While a lot of the blame falls on the cable industry itself, even some large cable companies can find themselves squeezed by high programming costs that they then pass along to consumers.
For years, cable prices have increased at a rate faster than inflation. According to a report released last year by the NPD group, the average cable bill (just video, not including broadband or voice) reached $86 per month. Compared to an $8 per month Netflix subscription, or an Amazon Instant Video subscription that works out to about $7 per month (and includes free shipping on actual physical goods sold by Amazon for a year), that's a lot.
However, the White House statement doesn’t reverse the Library’s decision, and nothing in the statement seems to suggest that it plans to.
The debate around the technological transition of our phone system to an IP-based network is now well underway at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and among state and local regulators across the country. Public Knowledge has argued that we must guide this transition according to five fundamental principles: service to all Americans, interconnection and competition, consumer protection, network reliability, and public safety. These principles lie at the heart of the reliability, efficiency, and consumer-friendly aspects of the phone network that we often take for granted.
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