Archive for the ‘telecom law’ Category

Feds’ Approval of Verizon Deal Bad for Consumers

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

A good article by my friend Troy Wolverton of the San Jose Mercury News about federal regulators’ approval of a joint venture by Verizon and multiple cable operators:

Approval of Verizon-cable agreement a bad deal for consumers

Such deals may make accessing the internet more difficult and more expensive.

Wow! I’ve Never Made My Students So Bored

Monday, September 26th, 2011

View from bottom up broadcast towerJudging by the looks on my students’ faces, last week, in my Media & Entertainment Law class, I gave what may have been the most boring lecture of my career. It was the lecture in which I explain how the FCC allocates frequency spectrum and doles out broadcast licenses.

What’s so strange is that the same lecture was a huge hit when I first taught this class back in 2005.

Of course, after class, I realized what the difference is. As recently as 2005, frequency spectrum and FCC licenses represented – as they had for nearly a century – the keys to the kingdom. If you wanted to get your message out there, you found a radio or television station.

Just six years later, it’s hard to talk about broadcast licenses without feeling like they are a quaint anachronism.

By the way, you may wonder how it is that I could tell my students were bored. Well, I’ve never witnessed a higher level of IM’ing, Facebooking, and Tweeting in class. And no, I don’t have mirrors in the back of class to see what’s on students’ laptops. I can see it clearly reflected in students’ faces. Messages were zipping through the wireless and around the internet at a furious pace.

And, of course, that’s the irony: Web 2.0 was not merely the symptom of the boredom; it was the cause.

Who cares about getting an FCC license, a giant steel tower, and a gargantuan electric bill when you can better reach an audience with your laptop and a wireless connection?

For an ex-radio-disc-jockey, I have to say it’s a little sad for me to face up to the reality. But, then again, it’s nothing I didn’t know. I mean, look at me: I’m off the airwaves and blogging to you. I’d like to say that I’m BLOGGING TO YOU FROM THE TOP OF MCCLELLAN PEAK WITH EIGHTY-SEVEN THOUSAND WATTS OF POWER IN THE MIDDLE OF 45 MINUTES OF CONTINUOUS HIT MUSIC.

But of course, I’m not. And I gotta say, it’s not the same to type that. Even in italics and all caps.

Video didn’t kill the radio star. But Web 2.0 sure did.

Awesome §230 Conference at Santa Clara Law

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Seal of Santa Clara UniversityThe High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University School of Law is hosting a fantastic conference on March 4, 2011 about § 230, the safe harbor that shields online content providers from liability for defamation posted by users. It’s one of the most important legal aspects of blogging, and the Santa Clara event, called 47 U.S.C. § 230: a 15 Year Retrospective, offers a spectacular lineup of speakers. Look at this:

  • Kenneth Zeran, plaintiff in Zeran v. America Online (4th Cir. 1997)
  • Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Zoe Lofgren, U.S. House of Representatives, California 16th
  • Alex Macgillivray, General Counsel, Twitter
  • Kai Falkenberg, Editorial Counsel, Forbes
  • Cindy Cohn, Legal Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • David Ardia, Citizen Media Law Project/Harvard Berkman Center
  • Chris Cox, Partner, Bingham McCutchen LLP
  • Patrick Carome, Partner, WilmerHale
  • Mike Rhodes, Partner, Cooley LLP
  • Maria Crimi Speth, Shareholder, Jaburg & Wilk
  • Eric Goldman, Santa Clara University School of Law
  • Susan Crawford, Cardozo School of Law
  • Nancy Kim, Cal Western School of Law
  • Felix Wu, Cardozo School of Law

The event is co-sponsored by Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center, Stanford Law School’s Law, Science & Technology program, the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, the New York Law School’s Institute for Information Law and Policy, the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee, the EFF, and the Media Law Resource Center.

I can’t think of better way to earn five hours of CLE credit. And it’s free for law students, full-time law professors, the press, and public-interest attorneys.

Wolverton on Net Neutrality

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

A column by my friend, Troy Wolverton, in the San Jose Mercury News, does an excellent job of explaining why the FCC’s new net neutrality rules aren’t cause for too much celebration.

He pithily explains the tech, the law, what’s at stake, and his opinion on it. In particular, he explains why it’s not okay to ensure net neutrality for wired connections but not for wireless connections.

WARNING TO BLB READERS: Be careful with that column! The San Jose Mercury News’ parent company, MediaNews Group, recently signed up with Righthaven, which then sued a blogger who reposted a column published in sister paper The Denver Post.

Section 230 and Forced Removal of Defamatory Content

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Mike Masnick profiles some Section 230 cases that are important for bloggers: