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Zero-rating raises some pretty complicated issues both globally and domestically. For example, Public Knowledge has observed that T-Mobile's "Binge On" program, which doesn't count some video providers towards data usage caps, raises some competitive implications that should be carefully considered. Other zero-rating programs are more clearly anticompetitive. Comcast's continued exemption of its own data traffic from metering fits into that category. Public Knowledge has had a complaint pending at the FCC since 2012 regarding Comcast's zero-rating; this recent expansion of such behavior further illustrates the harms zero-rating can cause in some circumstances.
Last week, over 2,500 participants from around the world gathered in João Pessoa, Brazil to discuss Internet standards and policies at the 10th annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF). From November 10-13, attendees and remote participants discussed the evolution of Internet governance through the lens of sustainable development. Topics included cybersecurity and trust, enhancing multistakeholder cooperation, the impact of trade on Internet governance and regulation, and Internet and human rights.
Today, Google announced that it would create a sort of legal defense fund for fair use YouTube videos that have received DMCA takedown notices. Under the new program, Google has selected a handful of videos as clear fair uses, despite accusations of copyright holders, and will indemnify the uploaders for up to $1 million in legal fees and possible damages if the rightsholders sued for infringement.
As Public Knowledge has often noted, unlicensed spectrum is a key component of the mobile broadband ecosystem. Unlicensed spectrum enables our increasingly Wi-Fi dependent world, and is a “public commons” of sorts for innovators because these frequencies are open for any person and any device to use, for any (legal) purpose. Unlicensed spectrum bands are the innovation bands.