Entries Matching: Policy Blog

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You may remember that in March 2006, when the FCC had only four commissioners, a Verizon petition to have all common-carriage-type requirements lifted from its relationships with businesses was “deemed granted” by the Commission’s silence — split 2-2, the Commission said nothing by the deadline for action on that petition. This non-action was part of a steady, incremental removal of rules from highspeed access in the U.S. that is still going on.

There were a couple of news items recently that relate to this subject. First, the D.C. Circuit today heard argument on a challenge to the notion that “deemed granted” could be the end of the story. According to Blair Levin and his team (sorry, no link), the panel seemed skeptical that silence meant denial of the petition. But the judges also weren’t sure how to review a record of silence, and may send the thing back to the Commission for something a little noisier.

Also, AT&T’s petition for “forbearance” from common carriage obligations for many of its business relationships (excusing AT&T from having to state what its fees will be for internet access services provided to businesses, and avoiding rate of return regulation generally for these relationships), was largely granted by the Commission last week. This forbearance applies to most of the services AT&T offers to businesses, including its very-high-capacity “OCn” (optical carrier lines, involving thousands of voice grade equivalents) fiber-optic interoffice transport connections, packetized broadband, Frame Relay services, ATM services, LAN services, Ethernet-based services, video transmission services, and wave-based services, but not traditional DS1 and DS3 special-access circuits.

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The Google-Moveon-Collins Flap, Or “The Other Shoe Drops and It Fits Quite Nicely.”

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As Fox News and the rest of the conservative media/blog machine have happily crowed unto the skies, Google Ads dropped a set of ads from Senator Susan Collins (R-Me) critical of Moveon.org Collins is rnning for reelection, and apparently Moveon has now become the favorite bloody shirt to rouse the otherwise dispirited base. Apparently, Google informed Collins that because her ad used the trademark of someone else (here, Moveon.org, because these days everyone trademarks everything out of sheer self-defense), which Google bans under its advertising policy.

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Amazon mp3s: no software restrictions, but legal ones.

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Brian Dudley, a columnist at the Seattle Times, has noted that just because Amazon's mp3 downloads are DRM-free doesn't mean they aren't restricted. They're just restricted legally, by contract.

The terms of service allow for some types of fair use. (Um, yay. You're letting me do what the law already says I can. Though that's above par for the course, so far.):

2.1 License. Upon your payment of our fees for Digital Content, we grant you a non-exclusive, non-transferable license to use the Digital Content for your personal, non-commercial, entertainment use, subject to and in accordance with the terms of this Agreement. You may copy, store, transfer and burn the Digital Content only for your personal, non-commercial, entertainment use.

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Unanswered Questions From the Republican Candidates’ Economic Debate

Last night's debate among Republican presidential candidates was supposed to be about "the economic issues facing the American people," as moderator Maria Bartiromo described the festivities.

The discussion meandered to and fro on the usual topics - taxes, trade, immigration, health care. Yet in all of these discussions of "economic" issues, there is a glaring omission -- the telecommunications/Internet sector of our economy. Perhaps there is a perception that telecom and Internet policy is too complicated for public discussion, or only suitable for a select group of geeks and/or wonks.

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