Media & Communications Policy

Media & Communications Policy

Issues & Developments in the Realm of Communications and Media Policy & the First Amendment

Category Archives: Digital technology

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Orts and All

Posted in Digital technology, Journalism, Media criticism
Facebook Buys the Oculus Rift.  As mentioned here a few months ago, the video game trade press has been wildly enthusiastic about the development of the VR headset called Oculus Rift.  And why not?  By all reports the OR headset is a significant leap forward in its immersive qualities, thereby providing a more life-like environment. … Continue Reading

Facebook Jumps Into the Political Fray

Posted in Digital technology
The resolution of the flap over campaign ads paid for by a group (Fwd.us) funded by some leading tech barons, most notably Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, is going to be revealing of many things. Perhaps for the first time the tech industry is giving financial and intellectual support to political campaigns that are bound to attract … Continue Reading

The ITU and the Internet

Posted in Digital technology, FCC, Free speech, International Jurisdiction, Media Regulation, Network Neutrality
In 1971, when China was first admitted to the United Nations, William Rusher quipped that it was "a case of loosing a China in the bullshop." Such is the first thought that comes to mind in reflection on the latest bit of mischief to issue from the UN, in this case courtesy of that body's International Telecommunications Union (ITU)… Continue Reading

Google and the First Amendment

Posted in Digital technology, First Amendment, Media Regulation
By guest blogger KURT WIMMER, ESQ., partner at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, D.C., and chairman of The Media Institute’s First Amendment Advisory Council. I just had the privilege of participating in a panel discussion at an American Antitrust Institute conference.  My panel included such luminaries as Eli Noam of Columbia, Gene Kimmelman of … Continue Reading

DOL Reportedly Postponing New ‘Lock-up’ Policy

Posted in Digital technology, First Amendment, Journalism
Published reports suggest that the Department of Labor is poised to delay implementation of a policy announced in April that would require reporters working in the DOL’s “lock-up” room to use government computers and transmission lines when writing stories about DOL reports and data as they’re released.  The proposed policy caused a flurry of criticism … Continue Reading

Julius Genachowski and Broadband Billing

Posted in Broadband, Digital technology, FCC, Media Regulation, Network Neutrality
Comments made earlier this week by FCC chairman Julius Genachowski have raised hackles at organizations like Free Press and kindred groups.  The occasion was the Cable Show in Boston, and the offending subject was what is called “usage-based billing” – the radical notion that people who use more of a thing should pay more than … Continue Reading

The Truth Behind Google’s Copyright-Bills Hysteria

Posted in Copyright, Digital technology, FCC, First Amendment, Media Legislation, New Media
Though the final chapter in the legislative history of the copyright bills hasn’t yet been written, a couple things are obvious even now: The tech industry has demonstrated great political clout through the mobilization of its users and fan base; and the industry lobby, led by Google, will say and do pretty much anything to … Continue Reading

Rationalizing Theft: A Postscript

Posted in Copyright, Digital technology
The fight over the copyright bills currently being considered in Congress puts on display two of the tech industry’s least attractive characteristics – its sense of entitlement, and its extraordinary lack of knowledge about things outside the area of its core competency. So it is that the bills in question (the Protect IP and Stop … Continue Reading

Rationalizing Theft: The Technology Lobby’s Attack on Copyright Legislation

Posted in Copyright, Digital technology, FCC, First Amendment, Network Neutrality
The technology crowd’s objections to the copyright protection bills, now moving their way through Congress, put one in mind of H.L. Mencken’s crack that criticism is prejudice made plausible.  This, because that industry’s leaders, scribes, and think tanks uniformly oppose every legislative initiative aimed at protecting copyrighted content, even as they frequently give lip service … Continue Reading

Media Institute Response to ‘The Truth About Google, Search, and the Media Industry’

Posted in Digital technology, Media competition, New Media
GUEST BLOG [EDITORS’ NOTE:  Kurt Wimmer is a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Covington & Burling LLP.  He is chairman of The Media Institute’s First Amendment Advisory Council, and is the principal author of the Institute’s white paper to the Federal Trade Commission about Google’s practices.  The article below is in response to … Continue Reading

Response to The Media Institute White Paper: The Truth About Google, Search, and the Media Industry

Posted in Digital technology, Media competition, New Media
GUEST BLOG [EDITORS' NOTE: In this space we offer Google an opportunity to take issue with the White Paper that The Media Institute filed with the FTC in August.  Google's response is printed below exactly as we received it.] By Adam Kovacevich, Head of Competition, Public Policy and Public Affairs, Google (Washington, D.C., office) In … Continue Reading

Evil Is as Evil Does

Posted in Digital technology, Media competition
The search giant Google is attracting criticism from those who see in that company’s business practices a threat to professional journalism, old and new.  The latest such comes in the form of a policy paper written by media attorney Kurt Wimmer, and published online by The Media Institute. Honored this year by the Reporters Committee … Continue Reading

More on Newspapers and Aggregators

Posted in Copyright, Digital technology, Journalism, Media competition, New Media, Publishing
If newspapers ultimately survive, they might owe a debt of gratitude not only to Rupert Murdoch (as Patrick Maines suggested here recently), but also to two brothers who have combined their expertise in economics and the law to analyze the problem and come up with a potential solution. As I wrote here earlier this month, … Continue Reading

Keeping Kids Safe Online

Posted in Digital technology, New Media
Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in trying to keep children safe online.  For more than a decade, various groups and individuals representing parents, children, educators, law enforcement, government, and industry have weighed in with suggestions. Now, however, a worthwhile report has emerged from a coalition that is notable in equal parts for its … Continue Reading

Digital Politics Comes of Age

Posted in Digital technology, New Media
Pundits, pols, and political scientists will spend months and years dissecting this presidential election.  But one fact is unmistakably clear: We have seen the future of politics.  And it’s digital. Digital technologies played a bigger and more decisive role in the outcome of this election than ever before.  For a confluence of reasons, they worked … Continue Reading

Sheer Lunacy: Taxing the Technologies of Freedom

Posted in Content Controls, Digital technology, First Amendment, Free speech, Media Regulation, New Media
Imagine that someone came up with an idea to solve the “problem” of information overload (a.k.a. “too much information”) by levying a tax on the technologies that have sparked our information explosion.  Making it too expensive for many people to blog or otherwise send and receive information through digital and Internet-based technologies would not only … Continue Reading

Where Are the First Amendment Champions?

Posted in Digital technology, First Amendment, New Media
First Amendment advocates must acknowledge a stark reality:  Too many players in the new generation of digital media either do not understand the First Amendment, or think the First Amendment is irrelevant to their piece of the digital action, or both.         This is a dangerous situation because these digital gurus are the future of … Continue Reading