In my last post, took the four most famous net neutrality violations to see how they would come out under the current rules adopted in 2015 v. how they would come out under the regulatory framework following the Federal Communications Commission vote to repeal net neutrality rules, based on the draft Order. To condense the approximately 5500-word analysis: all four incidents are addressable under the 2015 rules. None of the incidents are addressable under the combined Federal Trade Commission and antitrust regime that remains after the vote to repeal the rules, with the exception of Comcast’s deliberate deception about their blocking peer-2-peer protocols in 2007-08.
After years of failed negotiations, the European Union now appears close to reaching a trade agreement with the South American political and economic bloc, Mercosur. This was confirmed by the European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström during a press conference last month. The announcement came a day after the European Union Vice-President, Jyrki Katainen, met in Buenos Aires with the Argentinian President, Mauricio Macri, to work on unspecified “difficult issues” still pending.
A very problematic trend in copyright law has emerged during a series of cases these last few years. Courts have held that creating a copy of website code in a browser’s cache constitutes a copyright violation. The issue here is that copying site code into a browser is the only way you can browse the internet. This leaves us with an absurd outcome: The current legal scheme essentially makes browsing the web a copyright violation.
Last year, the Federal Communications Commission voted to modernize the Lifeline program for the digital age to help low-income families, veterans, and children gain access to the internet. This week, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is poised to initiate steps to drastically roll back the program, ultimately leaving millions of Lifeline subscribers and eligible families without a service provider.
Imagine living in a town where the only local daily newspaper, two of the top four television broadcasters, and some local radio stations are all owned by the same entity. An owner might promote one political ideology or favor particular beliefs, leaving different viewpoints simply unheard. This poses many dangers, and runs contrary to the principles of a country that prides itself on the First Amendment and the benefits of robust public dialogue. This Twilight Zone-esque hypothetical may now become reality when the Federal Communications Commission moves to scrap central portions of its historic media ownership rules at the Open Meeting on Thursday. The current media ownership rules limit any one entity from owning too many of the newspaper, radio, and/or television entities within a local market, in order to ensure viewpoint diversity. These rules are under attack.