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Something You Probably Don't Know About Electronic Privacy

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | April 10, 2015

Here's what you probably don't know: A 1986 law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), governs much of the electronic privacy activities of the government. And here's the weird thing--it provides protections for electronic data that is LESS than 180 days old, but not for data that is OLDER than 180 days.

Why did policy makers think that distinction made sense? I don't know, but it's one example of how a law written 30 years ago is completely out-of-date and incapable of governing the current data storage practices in the Internet Age. And especially in the age of cloud storage. Read More >>

State of Tennessee vs. Federal Communications Commission

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | April 1, 2015

I've just received a copy of the lawsuit from the State of Tennessee against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the FCC's order that attempts to overturn laws passed in states regulating municipal broadband networks in those states.

The argument is pretty clear and straightforward, as indeed I think it is. This is a most blatant violation of federalism. There is no constitutional grounds for a federal regulator to think it can overturn laws passed by the duly elected legislatures of the states.

In the Order, the FCC preempts Tennessee law pertaining to the operation of municipal electric plants, including the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, an instrumentality of the City of Chattanooga, created and controlled by the State of Tennessee. In doing so, the FCC has unlawfully inserted itself between the State of Tennessee and the State's own political subdivisions. The State of Tennessee, as a sovereign and a party to the proceeding below, is aggrieved and seeks relief on the grounds that the Order 1) is contrary to the United States Constitution; 2) is in excess of the Commission's authority; 3) is arbitary, capricious and an abuse of discretion within the meaning of the Administrative Procedures Act; and 4) is otherwise contrary to law. . . . Accordingly, the State of Tennessee respectfully requests that this Court hold unlawful, vacate, enjoin, and set aside the Order, and provide such additional relief as may be appropriate.

Amen. Read More >>

An Exchange of Hill Letters on Copyright

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | March 11, 2015

Texas Legislature Attempts to Rein-in Rogue Municipalities

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | March 11, 2015

I'm delighted that the Texas Legislature is considering legislation designed to address a concern I described in an op/ed in the Dallas Morning News a few weeks ago: That of municipalities taking away rights and protections of their citizens by majority vote on referenda.

My favorite line from my op/ed:

If I may be permitted a bit of hyperbole, tyranny isn’t OK just because it is approved by a majority of your fellow townsfolk. Read More >>

The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), Another Voluntary Agreement to Reduce Piracy

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | March 8, 2015

IPI has long been involved in explaining to policy makers the many harms of copyright piracy. These harms extend beyond the obvious losses to the property owners and affect many downstream businesses that depend on getting business and employment from the copyright industries.

And it’s not a stretch to say that ignoring blatant, widespread piracy contributes to the erosion of rule of law and property rights. It’s problematic to say the least when a culture decides that they no longer need to respect the ownership of property simply because it’s become easy to steal and hard to prosecute.

Further, it’s reasonable to think that, over time, toleration of widespread and blatant piracy will have at least a marginal impact on the incentive to create high-quality content—the kind of content that requires substantial up-front risk and investment to create. No, piracy probably doesn’t impact your incentive to film your dog running around chasing its tail and post that on the Internet, but it certainly does impact the willingness of a record company or film production company to put millions of dollars at risk.

These are some of the reasons why we’ve argued that the United States has many reasons to facilitate the defense of intellectual property rights and to discourage illegal piracy of intellectual property, both domestically and internationally.

But in a free society, rule of law is reinforced not only by government action, but also by the voluntary actions of responsible people in the marketplace. We’ve also argued that, eventually, the interests of the entire Internet economy will converge around the importance of protecting content. A healthy Internet ecosystem requires rule-of-law, property rights, and the other basic institutions of a free society. There is nothing about the Internet that logically puts it at odds with the institutions of civil society that have been recognized as necessary for the function of analog society.

So we celebrated the Copyright Alert System (CAS), a voluntary agreement between content owners and ISPs to notify broadband customers that piracy has been detected on their accounts. And it’s why we’re pleased about the new Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), a voluntary agreement between content owners and advertisers to avoid having their brands associated with illegal pirate websites. Read More >>

Liberal Anti-Fracking Groups Getting Funding from Secretive Russia-Connected Sources

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | January 27, 2015

Very interesting and well-researched piece today suggesting that the evidence is piling up about U.S. anti-fracking campaigns being funded (in part at least) by Russian interests.

Read the whole thing. Very detailed. But here's an excerpt:

A shadowy Bermudan company that has funneled tens of millions of dollars to anti-fracking environmentalist groups in the United States is run by executives with deep ties to Russian oil interests and offshore money laundering schemes involving members of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

One of those executives, Nicholas Hoskins, is a director at a hedge fund management firm that has invested heavily in Russian oil and gas. He is also senior counsel at the Bermudan law firm Wakefield Quin and the vice president of a London-based investment firm whose president until recently chaired the board of the state-owned Russian oil company Rosneft. Read More >>

An Issue In Which We Can Agree: Fast Tracking the TPP

Posted by Erin Humiston | Comments | January 22, 2015

Trade may be the one area in which Congressional Republicans and the president can work together, and Obama has called the Trans Pacific Partnership a high priority that would not only strengthen the U.S. as a leader in the Pacific Rim, but also create jobs, boost investment, and be a boon to small businesses.   

  Read More >>

An Orchestrated, Loud Guffaw

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | January 19, 2015

Dear God, let this be the low point!

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | January 16, 2015

So Secretary of State John Kerry's idea of diplomacy is to take James Taylor to France and have him sing to the French people "You've Got a Friend?!" Read More >>

Against Armchair Advocacy

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | January 16, 2015

Recently, Eli Dourado at the Mercatus Center posted a blog in the wake of the Sony attack discussing stolen correspondence and privileged documents from the MPAA, which were leaked as collateral damage. I’m particularly disappointed to see Eli engaging in hyperbole that borders on dishonesty when he claims content owners are trying to “censor the Internet” and that MPAA is engaged in a “war against the Internet.” Preventing illegal activity on the Internet is not censorship, any more than preventing illegal activity on the streetcorner is censorship, and to use that language is sloppy, inaccurate, and even dishonest. This kind of hyperbole is often engaged in by activist groups, but is a surprise coming from some who claims to be a serious policy analyst at a serious policy organization. It’s also ridiculous for Eli to suggest that the whole episode surrounding Sony Pictures and the movie “The Interview” was a financial success for Sony. In truth, Sony has been devastated by the experience.

He suggests there are two lessons to be learned:  1) that the MPAA is trying to “censor the Internet” by reviving the Stop Online Piracy Act, the much maligned 2012 legislation aimed at combating online theft; and 2) that the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the release of “The Interview” are proof positive that movie studios should bypass theatrical exhibition altogether and release their films online as soon as the director yells, “cut!”

At the outset, it is troubling that when we have just witnessed an unprecedented attack by a rogue-state on an American company, people continue to focus on salacious details revealed in stolen material rather than the big picture. Here, Dourado chooses to exploit the attack to perpetuate stale narratives to support his disdain for copyright. Read More >>

This Valentine's Day, The Real Deal Means More Than a Copy

Posted by Erin Humiston | Comments | January 9, 2015

What's It All About, Eli?

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | December 17, 2014

It’s not clear to me what Eli Lehrer is torqued off about sufficiently to sit down and pen a blog entry about the fact that Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood is working with content owners to help fight online piracy.

Eli grants that A.G. Hood has done “meritorious work” in a number of policy areas of which Eli approves, and he grants that Hood hasn’t done anything to violate laws, canons or legal ethics. (I’m a little confused that Eli thinks one of Hood’s meritorious causes include going after drug companies about drug prices—I thought free-market types thought markets should set prices rather than governments. Same with going after insurance companies. Of course, Eli is in favor of carbon taxes, too, so he’s full of surprises.)

Nonetheless, Eli gives us a five paragraph blog entry. His gripe is apparently that content owners are still trying to protect their content even though SOPA didn’t become law, and that A.G. Hood is willing to work with content owners to do so. Read More >>

Can President Obama Work with the Republican Congress on Trade?

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | November 19, 2014

An obvious question after the sweeping Republican election win is: “What hope is there for constructive outcomes between President Obama and the Republican Congress during the next two years?”

President Obama and Republican leaders have both answered this question with at least one answer in common: Trade policy. New Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that he and the President have already discussed trade as one area of possible cooperation,

There now appears to be a renewed possibility of Republicans passing fast track trade promotion authority early in the new Congress, which would revitalize trade negotiations such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other agreements. In general, it’s fair to say that Republicans are more favorably inclined toward trade liberalization than are Democrats, which is at least part of why Democrat Senate leader Harry Reid went out of his way to kill any possibility of progress on trade agreements early in 2014.

Support for freer trade has always been a hallmark of free-market conservative philosophy, although Republicans have also occasionally been guilty of protectionism, and there seems to be a disturbing distrust of free trade among some in the Tea Party movement that policy thought leaders like IPI will be addressing as part of our trade policy program. Ultimately, the evidence is overwhelming that freer trade leads to more economic efficiency and to greater job creation in areas of each nation’s competitive advantage. Read More >>

Freedom? There's An App For That.

Posted by Erin Humiston | Comments | November 17, 2014

We’ve updated the IPI mobile app. Be sure to download it today! Read More >>

MPAA Debuts Wheretowatch.com

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments | November 12, 2014

 

Total Records: 435
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