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November 2006
  • "Moving Too Fast on RFID?" IT&T News, November 30, 2006
    "In October, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) vetoed a bill that would have implemented four years of legislated technology, processes, and procedures to ensure the privacy and security of personal information on public documents incorporating the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) by any state, county, or municipal government."
    "'Why do you need to pass legislation for a problem that doesn’t exist?' asked Dan Caprio, president of the Progress & Freedom Foundation. 'It's very alarmist.'
    "Caprio pointed out that RFID is used primarily in the supply chain, where personal data is not an issue. He said legislators are trying to write laws for applications that don't yet exist. Further, he said current laws--such as informed consent opt-in requirements for medical procedures--already apply to RFID. Finally, Caprio said the RFID market itself is addressing privacy and security practices in response to its customers' needs."
  • "Patent Community Hopes For Clarity From High Court," Tech Daily, November 29, 2006
    "James DeLong, a self-proclaimed 'patent hawk' at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, said it is crucial that patents be used to protect only work that is truly novel. 'Allowing patents that are not really worthy clogs up the system, raises costs for legitimate companies and creates barriers for true innovators,' he said.'"
  • "High Court Case Could Imperil Pending Patents," New York Law Journal, November 28, 2006
    "Teleflex argues in favor of a controversial standard, used by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to varying degrees for decades, that enabled Teleflex to get and keep the patent. By requiring patent challengers to produce hard evidence, the standard makes it harder to topple a patent based on the assertion that the new product was an obvious extension of prior ideas.
    "Critics say the standard protects even the most thinly documented patents, opening the floodgates to junk patents for minor innovations and dubious inventions."
    "Too many easily won patents, critics say, slow creativity and the exchange of ideas, putting 'glue, not grease, into the gears of innovation,' in the words of a brief by the Progress & Freedom Foundation."
  • "High Court Tackles The Not-So-Obvious," Internet News, November 28, 2006
    "The Progress and Freedom Foundation's Jim DeLong, who co-wrote a brief urging the Supreme Court to hear the case, told that granting patents for obvious inventions 'cheapens the patent system' and brings on mountains of litigation. "DeLong argues that under a stricter standard of obviousness, eBay and Blackberry patents might not have been granted because ‘they were so obvious.'"
  • "Software Patent Conference Outlines Problems, Possible Solutions," NewsForge, November 27, 2006
    "Solveig Singleton, Senior Adjunct Fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, suggested that there are too many possible solutions to the heaps of problems posed by software patents, ranging from removing the patent system altogether to improving the patent reviewer institutions. Whatever the solution, she said, it needs to focus on business incentives and reforming the patent application review process. The reason why the USPTO [United States Patent & Trademark Office] is not so concerned with keeping itself in check is it does not have a large incentive to do so, compared to the military, for instance, where people trying to kill soldiers acts as an incentive for those involved to do their best."
  • "Supreme Court to Examine 'Obviousness' of Patents," CNET, November 27, 2006
    "'I think that many people are gaming the system,' said Jim DeLong, a senior fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation. 'This results in a diversion of creative energy away from solving problems and into calculations of planting landmines that other companies might step on in the future.'"
  • "John Dingell's Universe: What It Means To Techies," Tech Daily, November 27, 2006
    "With the Michigan Democrat set to reclaim the gavel for the first time in 12 years, there is slight concern among some technology industry lobbyists that [Congressman John] Dingell could try to take on too much, slowing progress on other legislation.
    "But Patrick Ross, spokesman for the Progress and Freedom Foundation, is not too concerned. 'He's always acted like chairman even when in the minority, so I don't think anything will change,' Ross said of Dingell. 'He was always good on telecom (issues).'"
  • "SkyBOX: Forecasting the Telecomm Future," SkyReport, November 27, 2006
    "Says [The Progress & Freedom Foundation Senior Fellow Adam] Thierer: 'Telecommunications and media policy traditionally aren't as partisan as other issues. But there's really not the appetite for comprehensive communications reform on the Hill right now and things don't look good for reform in the franchise rules.'"
  • "Vietnam Trade Is A Lame-Duck Priority For Techies," Tech Daily, November 22, 2006
    "While diplomats and lawyers worry that the United States could be violating the WTO if it does not approve PNTR [permanent normal trade relations] with a member-country, U.S. companies worry about competitors developing relations with Vietnam ahead of them.
    "'What comes out of PNTR is we get some extra benefits,' said Progress and Freedom Foundation spokesman Patrick Ross. He noted that Vietnam made 'all sorts of concessions' to be able to join the WTO."
  • "Unlocking Ownership Restrictions," Presstime Magazine (Newspaper Assoc. of America), November 21, 2006
    "The political challenges don't get any easier in the Senate. A bipartisan group of six senators asked [FCC Chairman Kevin J.] Martin in March to deal with the ownership rules changes transparently and as a package, rather than in a piecemeal fashion. But by considering the ownership rules together, the cross-ownership ban could get caught up in the thorny politics of other ownership issues, such as radio consolidation, says Adam D. Thierer, a senior fellow at The Progress & Freedom Foundation, a free-market think tank, and author of 'Media Myths: Making Sense of the Debate Over Media Ownership.' 'If you give your opponents too big of a target,' Thierer says, ‘they will strike it squarely and prevent you from taking any liberalization.'"
  • "Sen. DeMint Pessimistic On Chances For Market-Based Telecom Reform," National Journal’s Insider Update, November 16, 2006
    "Chances for market-based communications reform in the Democratic-controlled Congress that convenes in January are 'slim to none,' Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said.
    "But in the next few years, DeMint said administrative changes at the FCC and 'incremental legislation' could thwart more burdensome regulations on industry.
    "DeMint's comments came as the Progress and Freedom Foundation unveiled a report by a working group focused on the foundation's proposed Digital Age Communications Act, or DACA. Last year, DeMint introduced a bill nearly identical to the free-market think tank's model legislation."
  • "Panel Debates Changing FCC Structure," Telecom AM, November 15, 2006
    "The Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF) released a report recommending FCC restructuring and sponsored a panel of lawyers and scholars who had other ideas on how to change the agency. PFF recommended turning the FCC into 2 agencies: (1) A rulemaking body run by a single administrator and located in the executive branch. (2) A multimember Commission similar to the current FCC that would handle enforcement and adjudication. The report was the last in a series presented by PFF's 2-year Digital Age Communications Act project recommending ways to regulate communications. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), however, told the predominantly conservative group the chances of such change are small, given the changeover in congressional control. But the project offers a long-term view of where the govt. should go to 'create a global communications structure,' so 'let's not diminish the vision because we think it will be delayed,' he said."
  • "DeMint Encourages Deregulation Advocates to Stay the Course," TR Daily, November 15, 2006
    "Supporters of telecom deregulation should continue to push their agenda even though Democrats will be taking over Congress next year, Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) said today, because it is the right path for the industry and it is possible that some of the ideas put forward might be adopted by the FCC or the new majority party on Capitol Hill.
    "Speaking at a Progress & Freedom Foundation forum, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee member who authored a bill called the Digital Age Communications Act (DACA) late last year that was based on proposals put forward by PFF, said backers of a deregulated market should stay true to their principles because American communications policy will ultimately benefit.
    "'There are lots of regulations that can be dropped or moved,' Sen. DeMint said. 'Let’s (not) diminish the vision just because there might be a delay in getting there. DACA is that clear picture that we need to keep out there.'"
  • "Group Recommends 'Split' FCC With Policymaking at Executive Branch," BNA's Daily Report for Executives, November 15, 2006
    "A group dedicated to publishing a blueprint for major communications policy reform released the latest in a series of papers Nov. 14 recommending that the leadership of the Federal Communications Commission be split, with one executive branch official in charge of policy.
    "The paper was produced by the Digital Age Communications Act (DACA) working group on institutional reform, a project sponsored by the Progress and Freedom Foundation. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) made comments in support of the project at an event held to debate the merits of the working group's proposal.
    "In December 2005, DeMint introduced legislation (S. 2113) that essentially mirrored the recommendations of the DACA project (242 DER A-1, 12/19/05). Although DeMint said that the new majority in the Senate meant his bill had no chance of advancing, it could still serve as a 'vision' of communications policy.
    "'It's kind of like the guiding star out there--you might have a long way to go to get there, but if you never hang that up where people can see what it is that we really want, then sometimes incrementalism creates so many unintended consequences that a lot of your work does more harm than good,' DeMint said."
  • "Blog Bits," Tech Daily, November 14, 2006
    "At PFF Blog, Adam Thierer of the Progress and Freedom Foundation said he does not think the Democratic takeover of Congress will have a profound effect on tech policy. He also criticized the innovation agenda floated by Democrats before the election for requiring too many taxpayer dollars aimed at pet projects.
    "'It sounds like the Democrats believe that spending a lot of taxpayer dollars on federal pork projects is the best way to improve America's technological competitiveness,’ he said."
  • "Senate Commerce Seats Open Up as Democrats Regain Power," Communications Daily, November 13, 2006
    "The House Judiciary Crime Subcommittee is going to take up an anti-spoofing bill (HR-5304) -- a measure that would prevent people from modifying caller ID information in order to mislead recipients as to the source of the call. The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing into the way consumers pay for sports programming. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts raised the issue at a Progress & Freedom Foundation lunch last month, saying distributors and programmers need to begin a dialog to keep sports programming costs down."
  • "Election Results Spell Doom For Telecom Bill, Raise Questions About AT&T-BellSouth Merger," TR Daily, November 9, 2006
    "Thomas Lenard, senior vice president-research, Progress & Freedom Foundation, which has an ongoing model legislation project that focuses on an antitrust approach to telecom regulation, said that in general 'the Democrats will be a little more antitrust-enforcement . . . . They'll be more likely to see threats of market power,' which would 'probably be transmitted to regulators in some way.' However, he added, he didn’t think it was 'a sharp distinction' between the two parties, and noted that the two chambers' Judiciary committees were already inclined to view certain telecom issues through an antitrust lens. In general, he said, he didn't think there was much change for telecom legislation in the coming year, except perhaps on discrete issues on which there is broad agreement by most parties."
  • "Today's News," Washington Internet Daily, November 9, 2006
    "Prosecutions of online fraud won't have a 'substantial deterrent effect' on such activity, Progress & Freedom Foundation's Solveig Singleton predicted to the Tech-Ade conference. An 'enormous' number of 'small value transactions' will make oversight nearly impossible, she said: 'Regulators will find themselves doing what they're already doing in the spam context -- bringing big cases' and overlooking hordes of small ones. Fraud will continue to proliferate online because of insufficient likelihood of getting caught, no matter how severe the penalties once caught, Singleton added."
  • "Is DRM Good Or Bad For Consumers?" PC World, November 9, 2006
    "DRM, which allows copyright holders to control how customers access content, could lead to new pricing models favorable to consumers, said James DeLong, a senior fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF), a conservative think tank. For example, instead of paying $30 for a new book, consumers may soon be able to pay $3 for a digital copy that lets them read it once, he said.
    "Limited-use works will be cheaper than unlimited works, DeLong said. Before DRM, 'you could do what you want with it,' he said. 'But is that a good thing?'"
  • "Democratic House Majority Means Telecom Oversight, Some Initiatives," Communications Daily, November 9, 2006
    "Net neutrality legislation will pass the House, aided by presumptive Speaker Pelosi and her Silicon Valley ties, predicted Progress & Freedom Foundation's Patrick Ross. But if the Democrats win a Senate majority, new Majority Leader Reid (D-Nev.) would need 60 votes for net neutrality to invoke cloture, the prospect that Sen. Stevens (R-Alaska) faced with the main telecom bill (HR-5252) against Democrats who viewed its neutrality provisions as too weak, Ross said. Reid and the new crop of self-described centrist Senate Democrats may hesitate to attach neutrality to a spending or other 'essential' bill, Ross added. A bipartisan compromise 'won't satisfy the shrillest of the shrill... [or] corporate titans on either side of the issue, but it might just serve markets and the consumers in those markets just fine.'"
  • "Loose Ends…" The Wall Street Journal, November 8, 2006
    "This column might have started off examining the mystery of why Jimmy Carter insists on instructing the nation on foreign policy when the real historic achievements of his administration were decidedly in the area of economic regulation. Think how different the world might be today if he'd spent the past 25 years insisting that Democrats embrace the legacy he created with airline deregulation, natural gas deregulation, trucking deregulation and rail deregulation. Think how utterly transformed today's 'net neutrality' debate might be.
    "Alas, we were beaten to the punch by Alfred Kahn, the Cornell economist who served as President Carter's chief of airline deregulation, in an essay that can be found at [The Progress & Freedom Foundation’s website]
    "His reminder to Democrats of what they once stood for comes not a minute too soon. FCC approval is the last regulatory hurdle to the AT&T-BellSouth merger now that 18 states have approved it and the Justice Department has cleared it of antitrust concerns on the manifest grounds that telecom has become a rollickingly competitive industry."
  • "FCC Classification Seen Spurring BPL Investments, Deployments," Consumer Electronics Daily, November 6, 2006
    "The FCC's decision provides regulatory certainty to an industry that has potential to bring additional competition to broadband, said Thomas Lenard of Progress & Freedom Foundation. Investors and utilities can now make BPL decisions based on market rather than regulatory considerations, he said."
  • "Would Dems Revive the Fairness Doctrine?," CBN News, November 2, 2006
    "Adam Thierer of the conservative Progress and Freedom Foundation said, 'The problem with the Fairness Doctrine is that the government is the one dictating what is quote-unquote 'fair.' And the problem with that is, it ends up becoming a very bureaucratic process to regulate speech and speech output, according to who's in power.'"
  • "Copyright Issues Restrict Small Cable Operator's Headend PVR Deployments," Communications Daily, November 1, 2006
    "Headend PVR systems like the one [Advanced Global Technology Senior VP Joe] Matarese describes can't be offered without licensing content, James DeLong of the Progress & Freedom Foundation said. Even Cablevision's proposed system, which would behave like an off-site TiVo, probably won't survive legal challenge, he said: 'People just tend to assume this sort of thing is protected under the Sony [Supreme Court ruling]. I don't think it is.'"
  • "Net Neutrality Debate Not Over, Panelists Say," Washington Internet Daily, November 1, 2006
    "Net neutrality backers have grown 'distressingly, stridently apocalyptic,' said Cornell U. Prof. Alfred Kahn, in an article for Progress & Freedom Foundation. Calling himself a 'good, liberal Democrat,' Kahn, who led the drive to deregulate airlines, said he believes competition is the best way to protect consumer interests. The telecom industry is competitive, in his view, evidenced by billion-dollar investments in networks, he said: 'There is nothing liberal about the government rushing in to regulate these wonderfully promising turbulent developments.'"
  • "People and Appointments," Tech Law Journal, November 1, 2006
    "Scott Wallsten will join the Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF) on November 13, 2006, as a Senior Fellow and Director of Communications Policy Studies. He previously worked for the AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). He has also worked as economist at The World Bank, as a scholar at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, and as a staff economist at the President's Council of Economic Advisers."

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