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November 2005

  • "Cable Snubs Mandatory a la Carte; Martin Says it Could Help," Communications Daily, November 30, 2005.
    "Asking that the 2 firms voluntarily accede to Martin's wishes would circumvent legal issues about whether the FCC has the authority to require a family tier, analysts said. 'This would be a way to do it and not run into any questions of legal authority,' said the Progress & Freedom Foundation's Thomas Lenard, a former FTC staffer. 'The FCC has a history of imposing requirements in the form of "voluntary" agreements. You only have to look at the recent telecom mergers' involving AT&T and Verizon, he said."
  • "The Aftermath Of An Internet Summit," Tech Daily, November 21, 2005.
    "As the information society moves forward and issues such as trade, taxation and speech arise, observers of Internet governance warn against the United States making any concessions on free speech and the Internet. U.S. citizens should not be held liable for their expression on the Internet under more restrictive laws in other nations, Adam Thierer, director for digital media freedom at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, said last week in Washington."
  • "Google Book Scanning Fair Use or Foul Play?," Washington Internet Daily, November 21, 2005.
    "In the Arriba Soft case, the court ruled against Leslie Kelly, a photographer. In 1999, Kelly sued a search engine, alleging it violated his copyright by posting his work in its image search without permission or compensation. The court conceded Arriba Soft's use was commercial but said it was also transformative, dodging liability under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The court also found no harm to the image market, Jonathan Band said at the Progress & Freedom Foundation discussion. In that case, image search users could view an entire photograph, though in thumbnail; with Google's initiative, 'all you can see are snippets,' Band said."
  • "Legislation, Consumers, Disasters, Universal Service Dominate NARUC Panels," State Telephone Regulation Report, November 18, 2005.
    "Kent Lassman, dir. of the Progress & Freedom Foundation's Institute for Regulatory Law & Economics, said the states may have a continuing role in rate regulation rather than the federal govt., and said state commissions should be at the forefront of dispute adjudication and consumer protection. He said states should have broad plenary powers to address disputes."
  • "Sony BMG Copy Protection Looms Large at [U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee] Hearing on Fair-Use Rights," Consumer Electronics Daily, November 17, 2005.
    "[At the hearing] James DeLong, senior fellow at think-tank Progress and Freedom Foundation, read another lesson from Sony BMG debacle. He said fair-use needed be further legislated because market forces would maintain balances between consumers' and content owners' rights. As soon as the shortcomings of the XCP system was exposed, public outrage prompted Sony BMG to discard it and begin a recall of the discs, DeLong said. 'In a few weeks, it was resolved.' He urged the Congress not to interfere in such marketplace resolutions: 'Content owners want to sell. Consumers want to buy. Let them work it out.'"
  • "Woodward and the President's Men," Slate Magazine, November 17, 2005.
    "From a strictly utilitarian, what's-best-for-the-future-of-the-internet perspective, it's senseless that there's such hue and cry to upturn a status quo that in fact serves phenomenally well. Ray Gifford at the Progress & Freedom Foundation blog agrees: ICANN is far from a perfect creature, but handing the Internet over to a multi-lateral, international body is a sure way to dampen innovation, kill openness and slow progress. Then again, that is often what the EU seems to be about..."
  • "Why Indecency, Once Hot at FCC, Cooled," Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2005.
    "Adam Thierer, a senior fellow at the Progress & Freedom Foundation, a think tank funded by telecommunications, technology and media companies, recently published a study of the FCC's complaint process that took note of the double-counting and suggested the numbers have been deliberately inflated for political purposes. They are routinely used in media reports and cited as a reason why more regulation and higher fines are needed.
    "'The numbers are driving the process,' Mr. Thierer says. 'If they're becoming the news, they better be accurate.'"
  • "Internet Governance: Who's in Command of the Information Superhighway?," Voice of America, November 16, 2005.
    "Adam Thierer is Director of the Center for Digital Media Freedom at The Progress and Freedom Foundation a think tank that studies the digital revolution.
    "Mr. Thierer explains that the ICANN has limitations.
    "'ICANN doesn't do anything in terms of issues like taxation, or freedom of speech, or libel laws or intellectual property. It doesn't really have any say there. It doesn't really have what you would call legitimacy like a government or an international organization would.'"
  • "World Wants More Say in Control of World Wide Web," USA Today, November 14, 2005.
    "There's little other countries can do to directly challenge ICANN, as it does not report to them. But they could set up alternate networks that would compete with today's Internet. More likely, they will ratchet up the pressure through traditional channels, says Thomas Lenard, a senior fellow at the Progress & Freedom Foundation, a conservative think tank."
  • "More News," Tech Law Journal, November 11, 2005.
    "The Progress & Freedom Foundation's (PFF) Center for the Study of Digital Property created an IP Academic Advisory Council (IPAAC), and announced its members: Donald Boudreaux (George Mason University department of economics), John Duffy (George Washington University law school), Richard Epstein (University of Chicago law school), Mark Grady (University of California, Los Angeles law school), Stan Liebowitz (University of Texas at Dallas School of Management), Douglas Lichtman (University of Chicago law school), Julia Mahoney (University of Virginia law school), Ronald Mann (University of Texas School of Law), Fred McChesney (Northwestern University Law School and Business School), Adam Mossoff (Michigan State University law school), and Mark Schultz (Southern Illinois University law school). James DeLong (PFF) and Solveig Singleton (PFF) are the Co-Chairs of the IPAAC. Amy Smorodin (PFF) is the Secretariat."
  • "Indecency Complaints Flood FCC," Hollywood Reporter, November 10, 2005.
    "Although the number of complaints is up, the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a think tank backed by media companies, claims that the commission's figures give a false impression.
    "'The FCC now measures indecency complaints differently than all other types of complaints,' said Adam Thierer, a senior fellow at the outfit. 'In so doing, it permits a process whereby indecency complaints appear to be artificially inflated relative to other types of complaints.'
    "Thierer claims that accounting changes at the FCC are giving too much weight to campaigns like those run by PTC."
  • "Grokster Settles with Music, Movie Studios," Washington Internet Daily, November 8, 2005.
    "The deal was no surprise, given the high court's '9-0 slam dunk,' said Progress & Freedom Foundation Senior Fellow Jim DeLong. 'We have taken one more step toward a market in which licensed content is competing with licensed content,' he said. "Consumers have a range of choices and options from subscriptions to pay-per- download, at varying price points. That market is already emerging, but in 5 years we'll have so much legal competition that this settlement won't even be remembered."
  • "FCC Mega-Merger Conditions Have Limited Lives," Telecom Policy Report, November 7, 2005.
    "Such organizations as the Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF) and the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) in the past have questioned whether 'naked DSL' conditions on such combined companies are necessary, and they consider imposition of such conditions to be a flaw in the FCC merger-review process.
    "'None of the parties on either side of the merger generally was offering naked DSL before they got together so, without a condition, there would be no less naked DSL offered after merger approval,' wrote PFF Senior Fellow Randolph May in his blog. 'And the commission has thus far refused to require in any generic rule or policy an unbundled DSL offering. So, obviously, such a condition is not required to bring the merger applicants in compliance with any statutory or regulatory requirement.'"
  • "Regulatory Model Would Limit PUCs," State Telephone Regulation Report, November 4, 2005.
    "State regulators could set basic telephone rates for residential consumers but would be preempted from any other rate regulation under a regulatory model proposed by a Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF) working group. The federal-state working group, one of several in PFF's Digital Age Communications Act (DACA) project, revised an earlier report to clarify such things as state rate- setting authority."
  • "Interconnection needn't be Forced on Carriers, Panel Says," TR Daily, November 4, 2005.
    "Telecommunication carriers would benefit from a reduction in rules related to interconnection, examinations of other industries' regulatory regimes show, and the FCC's role should be lessened so that providers can come together and broker their own deals, a panel of regulatory experts gathered on Capitol Hill said today.
    "Although no two industries can be completely compared, officials gathered at the Progress and Freedom Foundation event said there is still a lot that can be learned from looking at how they handle interconnection agreements. Those where a little or no governmental rules have been placed on them - such as Internet backbone - have largely flourished, while those saddled with rules - like railroads - have faced serious problems."
  • "FCC Opens Broad Video Franchise Inquiry; Examines Buildouts," Communications Daily, November 4, 2005.
    "The FCC's inquiry 'does show that they want to tread lightly both for legal and political reasons, particularly seeking comment on the scope of their authority,' said PFF's Kyle Dixon, a former FCC 8th-floor staffer. 'The purpose of getting the comment is to make sure they understand the scope of their authority so they don't broaden it beyond what Congress would have intended.'"
  • "Microsoft: One Federal Privacy Law Better than 50 State Laws," Government Computer News, November 3, 2005.
    "But the Progress and Freedom Foundation issued a statement today calling the House legislation misguided. Senior fellow Tom Lenard said the bill opens the door to federal regulation of technology and could cost industry more than the expected losses to consumers."
  • "Telecom Merger Approvals Get Mixed Reviews," Network World, November 1, 2005.
    "The FCC's insistence that Verizon and SBC offer DSL broadband service as a stand-alone product separate from traditional telephone service doesn't make sense, because the so-called naked DSL requirement doesn't affect any competitive concerns raised by the mergers, said Randy May, senior fellow at the conservative Progress and Freedom Foundation."
    "'None of the parties on either side of the merger generally was offering naked DSL before they got together, so, without a condition, there would be no less naked DSL offered after merger approval,' May wrote on his Web log Monday."
  • "Can They Say That on the Air? The FCC and Indecency," Washington Lawyer, November 1, 2005.
    "Unlike Geller, Minow, and Parker, who don't really expect to see restrictive legislation passed in the near future, Adam Thierer, director of the Center for Digital Media Freedom at the Progress & Freedom Foundation, thinks "there is a very good chance that within the next three to five years there will be a major push made by Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to broaden the scope of our nation's indecency laws to cover new forms of subscription-based media, and specifically cable and satellite television.
    "According to Thierer, 'One way to do this is take the old laws governing indecency, and say, as of today, they all apply to cable and satellite. But some people feel there are other ways to skin this cat. One other way to do so would be to mandate a family-friendly tier of cable programming, or demand or mandate what is called 'a la carte' regulation, forcing cable and satellite companies to allow consumers to pick and choose which stations or networks they want.'"


The Progress & Freedom Foundation