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January 2006

  • "Cable, Satellite Offer Family-Friendly Programs to Avoid Tighter Regulation," CQ Today, January 30, 2006.
    "'This is regulation by raised eyebrows,' said Adam Thierer, senior fellow with the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a free-market think tank. 'Congress has given up on the direct regulation approach for now and is working the bully pulpit, jawboning approach.'"
  • "PFF Universal Service Plan Allows for Rural Investment, Fellow States," TR Daily, January 29, 2006.
    "Reforms to the Universal Service Fund pushed by the Progress and Freedom Foundation are politically feasible and would allow states to direct funds to rural areas in an effort to bolster the availability of broadband services in those areas, PFF senior fellow Randy May said today."
    "In an interview with TRDaily, Mr. May said claims made in a report released last week on behalf of the Coalition to Keep America Connected that stated PFF did not allow for rural telecom investment as part of its USF proposal are incorrect. He said its plan to give states block grants to use for universal service purposes 'specifically contemplates that states can use federal [USF] dollars to provide broadband' once it has fulfilled its other requirements, like providing support for low-income consumers and high-cost areas."
  • "ChoicePoint Hit with Largest Civil Penalty in FTC History," Washington Internet Daily, January 27, 2006.
    "'The lesson of the ChoicePoint settlement isn't that consumers can 'expect personally identifiable data to be kept to ourselves, not if we want instant credit and all the other benefits' of modern society, said Progress & Freedom Foundation Senior Fellow Patrick Ross. ChoicePoint, which 'chose not to prioritize the protection of consumer data' and misled consumers and govt. officials in its privacy and security policies, now pays the price, he said. He warned against Congress 'rushing a new law out the door,' saying it should let the FTC continue its investigations under existing law."
  • "On Point: Truth, McFall-style," Rocky Mountain News, January 25, 2006.
    "As Ray Gifford and Adam Thierer of the Progress and Freedom Foundation in Washington, D.C., pointed out not long ago on these pages, the likely result of unbundling would be the collapse of programming choice as niche and specialty networks - many, ironically, plying the sort of family fare the activists promote - fell by the wayside. Bundling is the oxygen that keeps a hundred flowers blooming (or maybe it's 50 flowers and 50 weeds, but better 50 of the former than only 20)."
  • "Industry Readies For Round Two Of EU Patent Directive," Intellectual Property Watch, January 24, 2006.
    "Lobbyists attending a Progress and Freedom Foundation in Prague on 17 January signalled they will move early on the patent directive issue following the European Commission's release this week of a questionnaire asking for views on the patent system. Comments received by the 31 March deadline could lead to the formulation of a new proposed directive."
    "Microsoft's McGibbon said EU Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy sees the patent directive as 'fundamental' to Europe's productivity and competitiveness. Later, PFF President Ray Gifford said fear of lost competitiveness is an effective argument with policy makers. Schmalz also raised the spectre of Asian software developers taking jobs from Europeans if measures are not taken to improve the European patent system."
    "Highlighting the need for improvements in the patent system, DeLong said that in the United States, each patent application gets about 20 hours of review, but that because of the backlog it takes two years for the decision to come out. "
  • "Supreme Court Won't Hear BlackBerry Appeal,"
    Communications Daily, January 24, 2006.
    "Microsoft, Good Technology, Palm and Seven Networks offer devices similar to the BlackBerry. Nokia and Motorola are slated to release similar products this year. A spokeswoman for developer Visto said its push e-mail technology can be found in over 70 devices, including Motorola's Razr and Palm's Treo 650."
    "Those companies may be a threat, but these patents aren't, said Progress & Freedom Foundation fellow Solveig Singleton. RIM awaits reconsideration by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USTPO), which has preliminarily said the patents involved don't contain new inventions and should be canceled. 'This is a good illustration of what can happen if you don't have enough control of patent quality,' Singleton said: Though courts have ruled RIM violated patents, the patents probably are invalid. Saying the dispute "could have been avoided by getting prior-art searches right the first time,' she said she expects both sides to be willing to settle. She said RIM would like to settle to make the dispute 'go away,' while NTP will see the settlement number drop to 'way lower than it would have been a few months ago.'"
  • "Industry Joins in for New Fight About Software Patents," Heise Online, January 23, 2006.
    "Proponents for a broadening of industrial property rights in the computer sector have declared a new round in the fight about software patents in the EU opened. 'It starts again', announced Günther Schmalz, head of SAP's software department, according to the Intellectial Property Watch online service by mid of last week on the Digital Europe meeting of the neoliberal US-american Progress & Freedom Foundation in Prague. At the same time, the patent proponent expressed hope that his camp will be better prepared this time than during the last struggle. A 'brigde position' must be reached, which both sides could live with."
  • "Lies, Damn Lies and Consumer Fraud Statistics,", January 23, 2006.
    "But at least there will be discussion, which former FTC Commissioner Orson Swindle says is really the best defense against con artists. "
    "'There's no way we can solve the problem by catching bad guys,' said Swindle, who now advises a think tank called the Progress and Freedom Foundation. 'We have to put them out of business.'"
  • "State Telecom, Franchise Bills Could Be Prolific," Telecom Policy Report, Januart 17, 2006.
    "In an interview with Telecom Policy Report, Kent Lassman, research fellow and director of the digital policy network program at the Progress & Freedom Foundation think tank, is among those forecasting additional state action. He indicates the industry could see three general or broad types of legislative initiatives taking shape at the state level..."
    "Lassman, who follows state developments while leading PFF's Institute for Regulatory Law and Economics (IRLE, an education practice supporting state and local governments), suggests the three categories of legislative moves could be either cobbled together, be part of larger bills or could surface as discrete measures."
  • "Lobbyists Reinigorat Efforts On EU Software Patents," Technology Daily, January 18, 2006.
    "Software industry lobbyists are gearing up again to find ways to improve the patentability of computer-assisted inventions in the European Union. But this time, they hope to be first to the policymakers' doors. 'It's starting again,' said Guenther Schmalz, software maker SAP's director of intellectual property for Europe. 'And I hope this time we will be better prepared.'"
    "Schmalz and other industry lobbyists discussed strategy at a meeting [in Prague] sponsored by the Progress and Freedom Foundation.
  • "Stage Is Set for a Broadband Showdown," Top Tech News, January 18, 2006.
    "A second vision for communications reform -- advanced by large carriers Verizon and AT&T, as well as organizations such as the conservative think tank The Progress & Freedom Foundation -- would remove most existing regulations and take away much of the FCCs rule-making powers. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) introduced a bill Dec. 15 that would overhaul the FCC's role."
  • "DRM, Software Patents Highlighted in Draft for New GPL Version," Washington Internet Daily, January 17, 2006.
    "The Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF) warned before the draft's release that Internet giants like Google, Yahoo, Amazon and eBay might be caught off guard by such a change. 'It appears under GPL3, all of those above companies... would have to release all of their revisions. I'm sure their competitors would love to see that code,' Senior Fellow Patrick Ross said in a blog post: 'Will people still use Google if they can use a new service using exactly the same code called 'Angie's Search Engine'... and enjoy far fewer ads?' Jim DeLong, who directs PFF's Study for the Center of Digital Property, told us such a change could prod Web-service companies to switch to software not governed by GPL, such as Sun's Solaris: 'The two [Linux and Solaris] are very close... The conversation would really be very easy.'"
  • "The Quest for the Holy Grail of Conent Ratings," Technology Daily, January 13, 2006.
    "Not everyone thinks that is practical, however. 'A universal ratings system has long been the Holy Grail of content, yet it is highly unlikely that it will ever come about,' said Adam Thierer of the Progress and Freedom Foundation.
    "'There is a question about whether all of these existing rating systems are going to be thrown out. Second of all, most of these rating systems are voluntary. If this is all mandated by the federal government,' then rating systems are likely to face a successful First Amendment challenge."
  • "Experts Debate Benefits, Drawbacks of Municipal WI-FI Networks," TR Daily, January 9, 2006.
    "The two experts debated the issue during a Washington luncheon sponsored by the Federal Communications Bar Association's wireless committee. Supporting municipal Wi-Fi networks was Harold Feld, senior vice president of the Media Access Project, a public interest law firm; opposing them was Thomas Lenard, senior fellow and vice president-research for the Progress & Freedom Foundation, a market-oriented think tank."
    "'Municipal entry into telecom is not a good idea,' Mr. Lenard responded. 'The record of municipal entry into telecom is not a happy one.'
    "He said numerous studies have shown that municipal telecom networks are not able to cover their costs, despite the rosy projections of city officials at the outset, requiring taxpayer subsidization. He cited an analysis he conducted last year of municipal telecom networks in Bristol, Va., Kutztown , Pa., and Ashland, Ore. Each of the networks require subsidies, he said."
  • "Stage is set in Congress as sides prepare for broadband showdown," Network World, January 9, 2006.
    " A second vision for communications reform - advanced by large carriers Verizon and AT&T, as well as organizations such as the conservative think tank The Progress & Freedom Foundation - would remove most existing regulations and take away much of the FCC's rule-making powers. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) introduced a bill Dec. 15 that would overhaul the FCC's role."
    "An old-style set of regulations based on a telecom monopoly doesn't make sense in an era of increasing competition from VoIP providers, cable companies and others, say advocates of this deregulatory approach. Instead of creating 'anticipatory' rules, the FCC should act largely as an enforcement agency, acting only when it sees competition failures and potential harm to consumers, this group says."
  • "Washington calls on Carolinas," Charlotte Observer, January 9, 2006.
    "The Greenville, S.C., Republican [Senator Jim DeMint] has emerged as a darling of free-market and conservative think tanks: His bill to overhaul telecommunications is based on ideas from the Progress & Freedom Foundation. In GOP circles, DeMint's big-picture plans to reform Social Security and replace the federal income tax with a national sales tax mark him as a cutting-edge politician; among Democrats, he's way out in right-field. To-do list: DeMint is promoting a populist health care agenda. He'd let Americans buy prescription drugs from Canada, carry over money in their flexible spending accounts, and he'd force hospitals to name prices before they offer treatment. "
  • "Wi-Fi run by cities: Yea or nay?" CNET, January 6, 2006.
    "But Tom Lenard, a senior fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, said the track record of cities' involvement in similar ventures is 'not happy.' The evidence, he said, lies in several studies, one of which he authored, that point to money-losing telecommunications firms run by local governments.
    "'None have been able to cover their costs without being subsidized' by taxpayer money or rate hikes in other public utility bills, such as electricity and water, he said.
    "Lenard added that large scale wireless broadband networks remain experimental enough to warrant caution. 'When the private sector makes bets on one technology or another, it's disciplined by the shareholders,' a process that he said tends to occur more efficiently than waiting to vote someone out of office."
  • "International," Washington Internet Daily, January 6, 2006.
    "A digital content conference in Prague this month will feature U.S. and European public officials and intellectual property (IP) scholars and attorneys, the Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF), said Thurs. Keynote speakers for the Jan. 17 event will be Czech Minister of Informatics Dana Berova and U.S. Ambassador David Gross. The conference, 'Intellectual Property and Innovation in the Digital World,' will focus on U.S. and European tactics to protect IP, mainly patents, standards and open platforms in software and IT, PFF said."
  • "First Session of Congress Ends with DTV on Hold," Communications Daily, January 3, 2006.
    "Three USF bills were introduced during the first session -- 2 bipartisan and one offered near the session's end by Sen. DeMint (R-S.C.) embodying ideas from the Progress & Freedom Foundation. The other 2 bills were offered by Sens. Smith (R-Ore.) and Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Reps. Terry (R-Neb.) and Boucher (D-Va.). Stevens has said USF is a major priority for the 2nd congressional session, and 2 hearings are planned Feb. 28. But it isn't clear whether he's planning a stand-alone bill or will include USF reform in a major telecom update effort."
  • "Video Revolution Just Keeps Rollin' Along," IT&T News, January 1, 2006.
    "In his recent essay on "Migrating Video Content," Daniel English, adjunct scholar for The Progress & Freedom Foundation's Center for Digital Media Freedom, points out, 'Media is shifting to a digital architecture where media is a continuous, ubiquitous experience and content is decoupled from any one particular distribution channel or device.' He cites numerous examples from just the past few weeks."
  • "Competition Demands Franchise Reform," IT&T News, January 1, 2006.
    "We would do well to remember, as Kent Lassman of The Progress & Freedom Foundation has pointed out, that franchising originated in Europe as grants of a sovereign. We need not maintain a costly regulatory regime in which we are but serfs to the feudal lords of franchise."

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