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Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Rockefeller’s bill takes an ambitious approach toward the video marketplace of the future.
Tuesday, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (S-WV) introduced the Consumer Choice in Online Video Act, which seeks to address the anticompetitive and anti-consumer forces at work in today’s video marketplace. This bill would prevent cable providers from engaging in discriminatory measures against online video operators and would ensure that online video providers can access valuable programming. As we’ve said numerous times before, the current state of the video marketplace is outdated and in need of reform.You’ve got incumbent distributors, broadcasters, cable providers, network affiliates, with relationships locked into place and codified in US law. This arrangement benefits the incumbents but does nothing for innovation, competition, or consumer choice.Tech companies tease the marketplace with hints of new video devices on the horizon but time and again consumers are left empty-handed and wanting. Technology isn’t what’s holding back the marketplace, the outdated video policies are.
We should call for changes so that patent assertion entities (patent trolls) can’t threaten and extract money from small businesses and individuals.
Our Patent Reform Project has been busy lately. Among other things, we’ve filed two Supreme Court amicus briefs, submitted comments to the USPTO, and written several op-eds, in just four months. And now, Charles, our Patent Reform Project’s director, will be testifying tomorrow in the House’s Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on “The Impact of Patent Assertion Entities on Innovation and the Economy.”
As Charles will discuss then, many entities, including so-called patent assertion entities (PAEs) and “patent trolls,” abuse demand letters to the detriment of the economy. To repair this part of the patent system, knowing more about demand letter senders, their patents, and their demand letters would be incredibly useful, not only for policymakers but for the broader public as well.
Back when former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski announced his departure, we at Public Knowledge had a few things we said we wanted to see in his replacement. While it’s obviously way too early to judge incoming Chairman Tom Wheeler, it’s worth noting that the initial signs look favorable – and give us some clues as to where Wheeler will want to go in his first few months.
Let me first start out by once again applauding former Chairwoman (now back to Commissioner) Clyburn for what everyone agrees was an astoundingly productive tenure as Chair. Over the course of six months, Clyburn tackled such topics as clarifying consumer privacy rights around mobile phone data, protecting the families of the incarcerated from rip-off phone rates, scheduling the FCC’s first major spectrum auction since 2008, and a number of other important issues.
It’s like getting Al Capone for tax evasion. The CIA and AT&T figured out how to get around legal restrictions on giving the CIA access to domestic phone call information, but in doing so they violated a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule that protects you against telemarketing.
According to this story in the New York Times, the CIA paid AT&T to provide them with information on calls passing through its international telephone system. Because federal law prevents the CIA from spying inside the United States, the CIA could not legally get info on calls terminating in the U.S. But, of course, calls from suspected foreign terrorists (aka “anyone outside the United States”) that terminate in the United States are the most interesting to the CIA.
Technology has changed the music industry. Does copyright need to change how musicians earn money?
Last week, I attended the Future of Music Coalition’s Future of Music Summit here in Washington, D.C. On the first day of the conference, panelists and speakers offered their views on a number of issues regarding music and policy. Often, these views differed, especially on whether copyright law should change to protect professional musicians in an environment where people can get music cheaply or even for free. However, a changing competitive environment doesn’t necessarily entail that copyright law needs to change accordingly.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on the state of the public domain, fifteen years after Congress passed the Copyright Term Extension Act.
Sunday, October 27, marked the fifteen-year anniversary of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA). By extending existing copyright terms for another twenty years, this 1998 law ensures that the public domain in the United States will not expand until January 1, 2019. We at Public Knowledge believe that this extended copyright term is too long, and it certainly should not get any longer.
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