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Posts Tagged: "ISPs"

House Judiciary Committee Steps into Copyright Reform Debate

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing titled “Copyright and the Internet in 2020: Reactions to the Copyright Office’s Report on the Efficacy of 17 U.S.C. § 512 After Two Decades.” House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) began by explaining that the purpose of the hearing was to examine whether Section 512, a key provision of copyright law that guides how copyright and parts of the internet interact with each other, has fared well in today’s digital age. Six witnesses at the hearing presented the Committee with their views on the Copyright Office’s report and recommendations, and the majority concluded that Section 512 is out of balance. The topic is one that the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Intellectual Property has been examining all year.

USMCA Set To Export U.S. Copyright Law to North American Neighbors

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was passed by the U.S. Senate on January 16, 2020 and will be signed by President Trump today. The treaty, which renegotiates and cancels the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), is expected to dramatically affect many areas of law of its three member states. With respect to copyright law, the USMCA largely exports copyright standards from the United States. Once it is implemented, content creators and owners, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and copyright professionals can expect the laws of Mexico and Canada to more closely resemble those of the United States with respect to liability and safe harbors for ISPs, the term of the life of a copyright, rights for sound recordings used in interactive streaming and anti-circumvention measures.

USMCA Takes Another Step Forward in 25-3 Senate Committee Vote

The United States Senate Finance Committee today considered the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in an Open Executive Session and voted 25 to 3 to move the bill forward.

The USMCA enjoys wide bipartisan support, but Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) voted against the bill. Toomey and Cassidy objected largely to process issues, as the Committee was not allowed to present amendments under a fast-track process, while Whitehouse was critical of the agreement’s lack of urgency on climate change. President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reached agreement on the USMCA, which would, if ratified, replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), on December 10. Notably for the IP community, the new version struck down provisions that would have expanded regulatory data protection for biologics inventions from five years in Mexico and eight years in Canada to 10 years in both countries.

In Honor of April Fools’ Day: Diving Into Deepfakes

Deepfake technology has made headlines recently for its use in creating fake portrayals of celebrities, but the long term implications could be much more sinister than phony renderings of Scarlett Johansson appearing in porn videos or President Barack Obama calling Trump a profanity. While the California bill is chiefly aimed at criminalizing this particular type of technological deception, it has implications for IP in that it reaches conduct that may not be easily addressed by the enforcement of existing IP law.

IP Enforcement in the Digital Age: Identifying Infringers In an Anonymous Online Environment

New technologies create novel issues and inform our understanding of existing laws. The statutes that form the basis of the U.S. IP regime are decades old and, as such, could not have contemplated how technology (and technology-assisted infringement) would evolve. As a result, traditional methods of IP enforcement often lag behind the rapidly changing online environment. Though Congress has taken steps to modernize these sometimes antiquated laws—for example, the America Invents Act made significant changes to the U.S. patent system in 2016 and the Music Modernization Act updated the music licensing and royalty framework to account for digital streaming platforms like Spotify in 2018—these updates almost always function as an ex post solution to a problem that was already present. The core questions of what is “protectable,” what is “infringement” and what is “willful” in view of the fundamental shifts in technological advancement remain squarely in the gray.

Senate Commerce Committee Holds FCC Oversight Hearing to Discuss Net Neutrality and Rural Broadband Deployment

Last week the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing to conduct oversight of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Although there was the typical overblown bickering over the FCC’s action on net neutrality rules taken in recent months under FCC Chairman Ajit Pai that one might expect, much of the day’s hearing focused on the poor quality of current broadband coverage maps employed by the FCC in distributing subsidies as well as the need to improve broadband deployment to reach millions of Americans living in rural communities.

What Does Mark Hamill Know About Title II Reclassification of Internet Service Providers?

Without the FCC’s ability to regulate ISPs under Title II common carrier regulations, there have been fears that ISPs could create bundled mobile packages such as are seen in Portugal, a country without the same kinds of net neutrality regulations which were seen in the U.S… And here, we return to the example of erstwhile Jedi knight Mark Hamill. Hamill’s viewpoints on the subject of net neutrality, specifically that FCC Chairman Pai is only acting in service to rich corporations, evidence a great lack of understanding of the net neutrality regime set up under former Chair Wheeler. It’s interesting to note that Hamill essentially sides with Google and the rest of the tech ruling class, companies which have much larger market caps and subscriber bases than the ISPs being regulated by the FCC. Those well-heeled members of the tech ruling class are the same ones that couldn’t be charged for their excessive use of bandwidth; that would be paid prioritization.

FCC’s Reclassification of Broadband Internet Could Improve Prospects for Rural Infrastructure Deployment

On Thursday, December 14th, the commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will convene an open meeting to discuss several subjects, one of which is titled Restoring Internet Freedom. According to news reports, the FCC is likely to approve this order in a 3-2 vote along party lines to return the classification of broadband Internet access service to its prior classification as information service… Despite the high likelihood that the order will be passed by the FCC’s commissioners, or maybe more because of that likelihood, there has been a lot of recent press on how the FCC under current Chairman Ajit Pai has drawn the ire of net neutrality supporters.

FCC Chairman Pai seeks return to ‘light-touch framework’ for Internet regulation

Between 2014 and 2016, Pai said that the country’s 12 largest ISPs have decreased their spending by $3.6 billion, a drop of 5.6 percent in investment. Pai also cited a letter sent to the FCC from a collection of 22 ISPs, each serving about 1,000 customers or fewer, who argue that the Title II common carrier regulations have affected their ability to obtain financing and have at least slowed the development and deployment of new infrastructure and services… Pai believes that the return to a light-touch framework would benefit Americans in a variety of ways. The lighter regulatory framework should spur broadband deployment towards better Internet service, create jobs for Americans to deploy those networks, boost marketplace competition, end government micromanagement and secure Internet privacy by returning authority to the FTC.

FCC Chairman Pai’s block of broadband privacy rules is latest step in rolling back 2015’s Open Internet Order

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has moved to block broadband privacy rules drafted by the previous administration and set to go into effect in early March… FCC commissioners voted 3-2 last October to adopt broadband privacy rules which limit the amount of data which can be collected by ISPs from their consumers. The rules created an opt-in/opt-out model in which broadband customers must intentionally opt-in to any data collection programs developed by ISPs to collect data considered by the FCC to be sensitive, including geo-location, family size, browsing history or app usage history. Pai was one of two dissenting votes in last October’s decision on the broadband privacy rules, and his dissent reflected his views on harmonizing the FCC’s privacy regime with the FTC.

The Four Biggest Tech Trends of 2016

Recently, we took a closer look at four of the largest trending stories playing out in the world of intellectual property and patents during 2016. Today we turn to the world of technology to see what trends have been developing in the technology sector over the past year. From an ever-widening scope of business activities being pursued by Silicon Valley’s largest firms to growing government authority over one sector of Internet services, there have been plenty of interesting stories playing out on the stage of America’s tech sector.

AT&T, Time Warner merger could trigger FCC rulemaking on zero rating practices

Another regulatory issue other than antitrust thatis likely to surface during review of the AT&T-Time Warner merger is zero rating, or the practice of providing content for free to consumers on a network. The way that the FCC has implemented net neutrality certainly would indicate that zero rating would likely be regulated at some point, even though it would do so to the likely detriment of the American consumer… This June, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler indicated that the investigation into zero rating practices was ongoing. In mid-October, a group of 76 organizations signed another letter urging the FCC to issue rules making zero rating illegal, so the momentum in this area looks like it’s increasing.

Business interests and consumer concerns clash at Senate hearing on FCC’s broadband privacy rules

On the morning of Tuesday, July 12th, members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation convened for a hearing on a notice of proposed rulemaking recently issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The hearing, titled How Will the FCC’s Proposed Privacy Regulations Affect Consumers and Competition, did much to talk about the potential effects of the FCC’s increased oversight of broadband Internet service providers even as partisan viewpoints among committee members were exposed.

FCC’s Tom Wheeler looks to extend his chokehold on ISPs with broadband privacy rules

ISPs have increasingly come under the focus of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the agency’s chairman, Tom Wheeler. The FCC is fresh from a major victory on its net neutrality rules which were recently upheld by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. That victory has now placed some momentum on data privacy rules proposed this March by the FCC, rules which would further protect ISP consumers by ensuring that their ISP sees as little of their data as possible. Some industry analysts believe that the FCC will continue to take action, the proposed broadband privacy rules being one part of that action. Other rules proposed by the FCC would open up set-top boxes to third-party cable providers as well as prevent zero-rating of data services, which allows consumers to access dedicated apps without being charged for data.

Understanding the eBay VeRO Program

Collectors love eBay because it allows them access to items them may never otherwise be able to purchase. Bargain hunters love eBay for the ability to buy items at a much lower cost than normal retail. But, sometimes costs are lower because the goods infringe on someone’s intellectual property. Section 512(c) of the DMCA provides a safe harbor from liability for “online service providers” (OSP), like eBay, as long as the OSP: (1) does not receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity; (2) is not directly or circumstantially aware of the presence of infringing material; and (3) promptly takes steps to remove purported infringing material upon receiving notice from copyright owners. To streamline this process, eBay created the Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) program. It allows intellectual property rights owners to request that eBay remove listings that infringe on their intellectual property rights, including copyrights, trademarks, and patents.