One of the stranger ideas going around among the anti-net neutrality crowd (and in the Federal Communication Commission’s proposal to roll back the net neutrality rules) is the idea that the current rules, adopted by the previous FCC, contain a loophole that allows Internet Service Providers to block whatever websites they want to and generally avoid the rules, provided they use the right magic words--namely, that if they simply say ahead of time they intend to violate the rules, they’re no longer subject to them. This is wrong—the rules only cover broadband ISPs, which are defined quite precisely, but there’s no way for an ISP to continue offering what anyone would recognize as “internet access” without being covered by the rules.
In light of the lawsuit between Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and T.I. vs. Marvin Gaye regarding whether “Blurred Lines” infringes the copyrights to “Got to Give It Up,” Meredith Whipple interviews Charles Duan as he takes us through music history to demonstrate common patterns in songs, why these exist, and how that’s a good thing for music.
Imagine this: Your family is at your place for Thanksgiving and, all of a sudden, your mother has a heart attack. You rush to the phone and dial 9-1-1. You’re told by an automated message that your internet has been disconnected for alleged copyright infringement, so your emergency call cannot be completed. Unbeknownst to you, HBO noticed that your roommate had been illegally downloading Game of Thrones, and called upon your Internet Service Provider to disconnect your account.
Last week, the Federal Communications Commission made two huge moves to help consumers navigate the digital marketplace. The first was to finally pass its long-awaited landmark broadband privacy rules. But tucked inside that order was something equally important, if less high-profile: a commitment by the FCC that by February 2017, it will embark on a proceeding to address mandatory binding (or forced) arbitration clauses.
Last Friday, the federal district court overseeing the BMI consent decree rejected the Department of Justice’s interpretation, holding that it did not prohibit so-called “fractional licensing.” In an opinion with little meaningful analysis, the court dismissed DOJ’s reading of the plain language of the consent decree, calling the consent decree language merely “descriptive.”