Posts by Brendan Ballou:

Late last week Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) introduced S. 1957 a bill to extend copyright protections to the fashion industry. We’ve blogged about this issue numerous times and Public Knowledge advisory board member Chris Sprigman has written a very informative paper on the topic.

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In the News

August 9, 2007
  • Information Week reports that AT&T censored Pearl Jam for telling President Bush to "find yourself another home" at this year's Lalapalooza festival. Gigi said that the censorship was "nothing short of appalling." And AT&T said that "The editing of the Pearl Jam performance on Sunday night was not intended, but rather a mistake by one of the webcast editors…We regret the mistake and are trying to work with the band to post the song in its entirety." You can read Art's post on the topic here.
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  • Chip manufacturer Broadcom will announce today that it will supply 'baseband processors' chips to Nokia. This is just the latest set back for rival Qualcomm, the nation's largest cell phone chip manufacturer. Last month the International Trade Commission banned imports on all cell phones containing Qualcomm chips that were deemed in violation of Broadcom's patents. Furthermore, on Monday a US District Court Judge ruled that two Qualcomm patents on video-compression technologies cannot be enforced because their designs were kept secret from a standards-setting group. The judge also concluded that Qualcomm had made false and misleading statements during the trial and ordered Qualcomm to pay Broadcom's legal fees.
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According to the RIAA CD sales peaked in 2000 when 942.5 million units were shipped in the United States alone. Since then, physical CD sales have been in a steep decline: in 2001 881.9 CDs were sold, in 2003 746 million, and in 2006 just 614.9 million. Consumers are getting their music from other sources: online music stores (as of late July, iTunes alone had sold over 3 billion songs), piracy, ad-supported sites, MySpace, and promotional free releases.

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In the News

August 7, 2007
  • The FCC handed out the final channel assignments for television stations as they make their transition to DTV. The Commission said that it aimed to accomodate stations' requestions for channels, but also worked to maintain the efficient use of spectrum. All the channels assigned were between 2 and 51.

  • Connecicut's Attorney General Richard Blumenthal issued an emergency petition to the Department of Public Utility Control, asking them to force AT&T to get a cable license for it's U-Verse service, which offers cable television programming over the Internet. Last month a US district court ruled that the U-verse system was a cable subscription service, overturning the Connecticut DPUC's earlier ruling that that it was not. Mr. Blumenthal and the Office of Consumer Counsel both argued that failure to act would create disparate regulations for different cable providers.

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  • Last week Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Daniel Inouye (D-HI) introduced the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, which would require schools to offer education on social networking, chat rooms, and 'cyberbullying.' Senator Stevens introduced a bill by the same name earlier this year which would have blocked social networking sites from school computers.

  • Susan Crawford has a very nice wrap-up of the issues surrounding the 700 MHz auction rule-making:

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In the News

August 1, 2007
  • CCIA filed a complaint to the FTC over unfair copyright warnings that it says mislead consumers on their right to fair use. CCIA President Ed Black said that these warnings created a "chilling effect", deterring consumers from lawfully using copyrighted content, and that the FTC should investigate these companies and order copyright holders to cease making misleading warnings.

  • The FCC approved Chairman Kevin Martin's rules for the 700 MHz spectrum auction, adopting only two of the four principles of open access: open applications and open devices. In an article for the Huffington Post, Gigi wrote:

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  • In a routine scheduling hearing in Viacom's suit against YouTube, Google's lawyer, Philip S. Beck announced that his company would implement digital fingerprinting and filtering technology as soon as September. Interestingly, Google seems as eager to end litigation with content companies as Universities have been with the record industry. Mr. Beck said that the filtering system "goes way beyond any legal requirements, but we're not interested in having legal fights if we can avoid them and we're interested in trying to cooperate with people if we can, and we're going to put that in place. We hope that obviates any future disputes.
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  • The LA Times reports on the Senate Commerce Committee's hearing on the transition to digital television. Senators claimed that the public was dangerously uninformed on the issue, and that without a better education effort, the Senate could have "a disaster on our hands." Currently the FCC has only $5 million allocated for educating the public, and thus far the television industry and consumer electronics companies have yet to advertise new products for the digital transition.

  • Reversing an earlier decision, Verizon agreed to bid in the 700 MHz spectrum auction under the conditions set by Chairman Martin's proposal. However, CNet wonders whether this concession will have any impact on consumers:

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  • A coalition of universities, educators and online activists persuaded Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to soften his approach to legislation dealing with file-sharing on campus. As a result of the work done by the group, led by EDUCAUSE, Reid dropped his idea to require colleges to implement technological deterrents to illegal file-sharing. Instead, his amendment to an education bill only requires that colleges send their students information on copyright laws and on university policies on infringement.
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