Judiciary Committee Examines Copyright Law
The digital content market is flourishing, but copyright owners and distributors are having their work stolen as piracy explodes. The Judiciary Committee invited a panel of industry leaders to discuss these important issues.
Unlicensed Spectrum in the 5 GHz Band
As consumer demand for Wi-Fi grows beyond the capacity of current spectrum arrangements, Congress should look to the possibility of opening up portions of the 5 GHz band for unlicensed use.
Digital Liberty Encourages PTO & NTIA to Protect Intellectual Property
Digital Liberty partnered with a number of other organizations to send comments to the PTO and NTIA encouraging the government to take an active role in protecting intellectual property and to respect free market forces.
Conservatives Don’t Support the Marketplace Fairness Act
A group of “conservative” state lawmakers are meeting with legislators on the Hill to urge them to act swiftly to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act. Any true conservative would see the Marketplace Fairness Act for what it really is: regulation without representation.
Google Releases Transparency Report, Digital4th Launches ECPA Reform Petition
According to Google's transparency report released today, there has been a 29% increase in the total number of law enforcement requests for information and a 47% increase in the number of accounts impacted by those requests when compared to Google's transparency report from the second half of 2012.
What is especially troubling is that of the 10,918 user data requests received over the last 6 months, 7,458 were subpoenas to Google. Those 7,458 data requests affected 15,770 accounts, and 84% of those subpoena produced some kind of information to law enforcement.
Because a subpoena was used in these cases and not a warrant, it is unlikely that the person or accounts targeted by law enforcement agencies were aware that their content held by Google was read, and it is also unlikely that there was judicial oversight of the request.
What is unfortunate is that a law intended to protect Americans’ privacy is now being used to invade their privacy. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) was enacted 27 years ago, and at that time it was a forward-looking statute, but it has been out paced by technology and needs to be updated.
Due to the need for clean ECPA legislation and increases in these types of requests from law enforcement, Digital4th launched a petition encouraging the Administration and Congress to pass ECPA reform without exceptions for federal agencies.
Digital 4th Coalition to Hold ECPA Discussion
The Digital 4th Coalition is hosting a lunch and panel discussion concerning ECPA reform with Digital Liberty's own Katie McAuliffe as a panelist.
Rep. Mel Watt's Free Market Royalty Act
Congressman Mel Watt recently introduced the Free Market Royalty Act. This legislation promotes free markets in the music industry, by allowing for private negotiations, and collective negotiation via SoundExchange. Digital Liberty has long advocated for free markets in the music industry, and Rep. Watt's legislation would go a long way to move away from industry going to government rather than the market to set prices.
Sprint: Sprinting on Wall Street or Lagging In DC?
The Federal Communications Commission has an opportunity to look to the future when designing the upcoming incentive auctions under the new leadership of Chairman Tom Wheeler. The FCC has been considering screening or capping the amount of spectrum that carriers can win at the auction, and it appears that some of those suggesting methods of screening are stuck in the past on spectrum capabilities, rather than looking to the future. Chairman Wheeler has promised to stress competition over regulation going forward and the upcoming incentive auctions will truly benefit from this philosophy.
Unfortunately, Sprint has been telling two different stories: one to wall street and one to Washington. The Wallstreet story is one of triumph in with wireless industry in terms of increases in speed, customers, capital and CapEx, while the Washington version portrays Sprint as having a weak market poisiton and needing a leg up from DC regulators.
As Chairman Wheeler has made clear that market competition should lead the way, it is important that if the FCC does decide to use a screen for certain markets it should be a tool applied equally to all types of spectrum and not weight one particular type of spectrum as more valuable than another. In this way regulators will not unduly influence the market based on priorities outside of Congressional direction, but support and protect competition.