Posts by Gigi Sohn:

If Monday’s net neutrality oral argument in the DC Circuit foreshadowed the court’s decision, opponents and supporters of the FCC’s rules will each have something to cheer and something to fear. 


While some have portrayed the likely outcome of Monday’s DC Circuit oral argument on Verizon’s challenge to the Federal Communications Comission’s Open Internet order as a victory for anti-net neutrality forces and a loss for its supporters, the reality is much more complicated.   With the caveat that one can never rarely predict the ultimate outcome of a case – particularly one as difficult and multi-layered as this one – based solely on the oral argument, there are some pretty clear takeaways, some good, some bad and some just plain ugly.  For a comprehensive report on what happened in the courtroom, read Harold’s excellent blog post.

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ISPs should put the cork back in their champagne bottles. Public Knowledge still thinks Title II is the best way to reinstate the FCC’s authority over broadband Internet access, though other means of providing that authority would be acceptable too.


This past Tuesday I appeared on a Free State Foundation panel entitled “If I were the FCC Chairman….” For 2 hours representatives from Verizon, Time Warner Cable and I had the opportunity to “live the dream,” and set out what we would do if we commanded that big office on the 8th floor for the next several years.  

It is certainly hard for a reporter to condense 2 hours of non-stop opinionating and prognosticating into 400 words; sometimes nuances get lost.  Such was the case with a Communications Daily story on the panel, which screamed “FCC Will Lose Open Internet Case, Should Not Go Back to Title II, Say TWC, Public Knowledge Officials.” Champagne bottles could be heard popping in big ISP’s offices all over Washington, DC.  

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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. 

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Even though current FCC Chair Julius Genachowski has not announced that he is leaving, there is still much talk about who is being considered to be his successor.  In its never-ending fascination with the horse race of politics, the trade press has been throwing out names of the supposed frontrunners every few weeks or so.   

But this focus on names is premature.  Before we talk about who will be the next FCC Chair, there needs to be a conversation on the qualities the ideal candidate should possess.  Because the issues and controversies that will come before the Commission over the next four years will be no less contentious than in the previous four.   

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Anyone following the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) over the last 36 hours knows this has become a moment of high drama around the International Telecommunications regulations (ITRs) and the role of the ITU for internet-related issues.

Unfortunately, that is probably the only thing anyone can say for certain. Even the member states on the ground have expressed confusion on critical matters, such as whether the widely reported “vote” on a resolution that included express language relating to the internet was really a vote or not. 

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This past Friday, the House Republican Study Committee released a policy brief entitled Three Myths About Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it.  The brief, examines three common content industry assertions about the benefits of copyright, and concludes that rather than promoting productivity and innovation, current copyright law inhibits them.  The brief then makes a number of suggestions to reform the system, including reducing statutory damages, expanding fair use, punishing copyright abuse and shortening copyright terms significantly.

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After nearly two years of debates, never-ending commercials, donation solicitations and ever-present polling, Election Day is over and the results are in.  As many had predicted, the balance of government has not changed significantly.  Democrats will retain the Presidency and control of the Senate, and Republicans will continue to control the House, albeit by a slightly smaller margin than before.

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Last week I had the privilege of travelling to Hood River Oregon to speak at the Oregon Connections Telecommunications Conference.  Here are my prepared remarks, which focused on policy issues affecting cloud computing.

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One of the things that has drawn Public Knowledge to be an active participant in the effort to ensure that the United Nations doesn’t become an Internet regulatory or governance body is the fact that nearly every civil society group, policymaker and industry representative is on the same page.  

As I have said previously, it is one of those very rare “kumbaya” moments in communications policy debates where there is consensus – when the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) meets at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai this December, its jurisdiction should not expand to encompass Internet policymaking.

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As I wrote in April, I joined the Advisory Board of the Center for Copyright Information to serve as consumers’ eyes and ears as an agreement between the major Internet service providers and copyright holders is implemented.   The agreement requires ISPs to send up to six “alerts” to alleged peer-to-peer infringers, with the last two alerts resulting in so-called “mitigation measures” and an opportunity for the user to appeal.  

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