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Tech at Night: More Copyright, and the Wyden-Issa OPEN act gains attention

Tech at Night

Some are still worried about the Megaupload takedown (including many the Obama got the concept right when he said “It’s not right when another country lets our movies, music, and software be pirated.” Foreign countries should not be allowed to be free riders on American copyright.

So I’m glad to hear that Patrick Leahy is open to SOPA alternatives such as the Ron Wyden/Darrell Issa OPEN Act. Follow the money. If money can’t be made from Americans by selling infringing materials back to Americans, then property rights win the day. And we can achieve that goal without censorship.

Remember those roaming regulations I warned about, where the FCC was going to set price controls? Remember how I warned it would worsen investment, and wouldn’t really increase competition? Oops, I was right. Sprint Nextel is actively reducing its rural wireless deployment in order to get a free ride on other carriers. (Cue the FCC apologists who will claim that I have something against Sprint, because they can’t argue the facts or the law).

The FCC simply cannot be trusted to look out for ordinary Americans as opposed to connected corporate interests, so that’s why I support House efforts to take control of the FCC when it comes to spectrum issues. The FCC needs to know who’s boss. It cannot be allowed even to think it has more authority than it was granted by the Congress, points out Greg Walden, though with more diplomatic language.

FCC regulations also tend to be out of date. Witness Netflix being hindered from modern social media by dated, probably pointless at the time regulations on video rentals.

Chuck Grassley, increasingly the beast of oversight in the Senate, is becoming quite a target. his Twitter account got hit and now he says he was the target of a bribe attempt over LightSquared. Even as LightSquared itself focuses its public comments purely on the technical matters of interference with GPS, the reaction to Chuck Grassley suggests there’s something going on in the White House that we need to know.

Barack Obama and the FCC are damaging LightSquared’s reputation with their silence, unfairly or no.

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