Posts by Katy Tasker:

The day before the Senate Commerce Committee holds a hearing about video competition, Public Knowledge is sending letters to the heads of the largest landline and wireless companies asking about implementation of caps limiting the amount of data consumers can use without extra charges.

“Distribution of commercial video is just one reason the internet has experienced such enormous growth,” Gigi B. Sohn, president and CEO of Public Knowledge, wrote in her letter, requesting information in a series of seven questions about how caps are set, how they are evaluated, and how they may evolve over time. 

Letters were sent to the heads of wireless companies AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint, and to landline companies Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox Cable.

Read More

Public Knowledge today put out the call for public nominations for its ninth annual IP3 awards, which honor achievement in Intellectual Property, Internet Protocol and Information Policy.

The awards will be presented Sept. 12 in Washington. Deadline for entry is May 16. Entries can be mailed to: ip3nominees@publicknowledge.org

This year’s judges will be:

Read More

On May 8, the latest negotiating session for the latest secretive trade agreement will start in Dallas and continue for two weeks.  The Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is a wide-ranging agreement being negotiated by the U.S. and eight countries, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Like its predecessor, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), most of the work is being done behind doors closed to the general public.  Also like ACTA, there could be severe harmful effects on copyright law.  (Unlike ACTA, at some point the agreement will be considered by Congress.)

Read More

Background: Verizon announced today that it would sell some of its wireless licenses if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the company’s plan to buy spectrum from major cable companies and to have marketing agreements with the cable companies.

The following is attributed to Harold Feld, legal director of Public Knowledge:

“There is less than meets the eye to Verizon’s spectrum sale. At the end of the day, Verizon and the cable companies will still have created a cartel in which Verizon will rule the air for wireless broadband and cable will offer the only widespread true high-speed landline Internet services.

Read More

Motion Picture Association of America Chairman Chris Dodd is quoted today as saying that there is a possibility the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) can be revived.

The following is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and CEO of Public Knowledge:

“It should be clear to everyone by now that SOPA and its Senate counterpart, PIPA, (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act) are still dead, despite the yearnings of Senator Dodd.

“It is simply amazing that a mere two months after 14 million people, in one of the largest protests of its kind, voiced their opposition to SOPA and PIPA and after the dramatic Web blackout day, that the head of the Motion Picture Association of America said the dreadfully flawed legislation could be reworked in the back rooms of Washington.

Read More

The U.S. Appeals Court for the Second Circuit (New York) today handed down its ruling in Viacom v. YouTube. The ruling is here.

The following is attributed to Sherwin Siy, deputy legal director for Public Knowledge:

“We are pleased with the Appeals Court ruling. The Court upheld the basic principles of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Crucially, the Court rejected Viacom’s attempt to create a new duty of those hosting content to monitor actively for infringement in order to qualify for the law’s safe-harbor provisions. The Court upheld the need for knowledge of specific instances of infringement in the DMCA, and that a general awareness of possible infringement is not sufficient.”

Read More

Media Access Project (MAP) announced this morning it will cease operations on May 1.

The following is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and CEO of Public Knowledge:

“We are sad to read the announcement of the Media Access Project suspending its operations.  Through the years, MAP has provided an invaluable voice for the public interest on a range of issues, including the public responsibility of broadcasters, to media ownership and, in more recent years, many of the most prominent policy disputes of the Internet age.  

“MAP staffers are, and were, valued colleagues. The organization has provided opportunities for a wealth of talented and dedicated advocates, PK Legal Director Harold Feld and PK COO Brooke Rae-Hunter among them.

Read More

“TV is stuck in a distribution and consumption model that has not significantly changed in decades” and needs to change, according to a new policy paper from Public Knowledge.

Tomorrowvision” analyzes the thickets of rules that govern today’s video market and prescribes changes needed to disrupt that marketplace and bring sorely needed competition to consumers.  Today’s market is “structured less like a modern competitive industry and more like a medieval guild system where everyone has a place,” the paper, by PK Senior Staff Attorney John Bergmayer, said.  The industry is riddled with middlemen, geographic restrictions for some industry sectors, serving the layers of distributors more than the content creators or viewers, the paper found.

To allow for more direct relationships between creators and viewers, the white paper suggests some regulatory changes, which could be removed at a later date:

Read More

The following is attributed to John Bergmayer, senior staff attorney with Public Knowledge:

“We are pleased that the new report  from the Administration’s Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator demonstrates a commitment to transparency in policymaking for intellectual property.

“Public Knowledge has consistently maintained that trade negotiations in particular, such as the current Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, need more participation from the public in their formulation.

“We are also pleased that the Coordinator confirmed the Administration’s opposition to legislation ‘that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecu­rity risk (including authority to tamper with the DNS system), or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.’

Read More

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today released a pivotal report recognizing the near-impossibility of clearing more Federal spectrum for auction. 

The NTIA report is here.

The following is attributed to Harold Feld, legal director of Public Knowledge:

“This is a watershed moment because the government recognizes that new approaches are needed to spectrum policy.  We can no longer rely on squeezing more spectrum from Federal users to meet our ever-expanding needs for wireless services.

Read More