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May 31, 2015

The Lie at the Heart of the Denton Fracking Ban

I thought we were finally finished with this.

And then, last Wednesday on the Diane Rehm Show, with another of her typical three vs. one panels, it all came back.

Not only did Texas learn from the Denton Disaster and take steps to prevent it from happening again, but so did Oklahoma, passing a clear ban on cities attempting to regulate below-the-surface issues such as drilling techniques and either blatant or de facto bans on fracking.

During Diane’s show, several called from Denton, and at least one of them repeated the lie that is at the core of the Denton fracking ban, or more specifically, the lie they keep repeating.

What is that lie? “We tried to regulate drilling activity, and it didn’t work. The fracking companies just ignored the regulations.”

Extended dance remix version of the lie: “We passed restrictions in Denton on the gas companies, but they still found ways to skirt the regulations and do whatever they wanted to do.” Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

April 26, 2015

IPI on 'Lone Star Politics'

IPI president Tom Giovanetti joins NBC's Kristi Nelson and Todd Robberson of the Dallas Morning News on Lone Star Politics to discuss a bill moving through the Texas Legislature that would halt cities from outright bans on hydraulic fracking, discussing how rule of law should govern local rulemaking, not simply majority rule. Video begins at 10:34.  Read More >>

Posted by Erin Humiston | Comments

March 11, 2015

Texas Legislature Attempts to Rein-in Rogue Municipalities

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 >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

September 30, 2014

Good Riddance, FCC Blackout Rules

This morning the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to eliminate its sports blackout rule, which helped the NFL justify blacking out the broadcast of NFL games that were not sold out.

The blackout rule was always a case of the FCC getting government involved in the business model of a company/league, which is always a mistake. Policy and business models should never be confused. Government sets policy, and then people go out and create business models. Government should not be creating or distorting or assisting anyone's business model. Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

August 28, 2014

Muni Broadband Isn't About the Unserved

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

June 12, 2014

Ireland Plain Packaging Regulation Misguided, Harmful

Posted by Erin Humiston | Comments

May 19, 2014

Wait--I Thought "Permissionless Innovation" Was a Thing?

There has been a lot of rhetoric around the phrase "permissionless innovation" in the last couple of years. I'm not myself comfortable with the phrase, because I think a hallmark of civilization is respect for the property of others, and thus the West has developed an entire permission-based legal culture around property rights.

But others ARE enamored of the idea of permissionless innovation, especially the Internet and tech community.

That's why I am struck in reading through FCC Chairman Wheeler's new 100 page net neutrality NPRM document. Apparently, one of the many things net neutrality means is permissionless innovation for edge companies but NOT for network providers.

Because network providers are going to need permission for a whole lot of things they do. Any new thing they want to try with regard to their business model is going to be subject to some absurd and undefined "commercially reasonable" standard.

How do we determine whether a practice is "commercially reasonable?" Apparently permission will be required of the FCC.

So I will take great joy in the next few months in pointing out they hypocrisy of net neutrality proponents who think permissionless innovation is a virtue—just apparently not for broadband companies.

'Cause it's not as if we want rapid innovation in broadband networks. No, of course not. That would be silly.


Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

May 18, 2014

"Welcome to the Stupid Internet" Still Holds Up

This past week I filmed an episode of the McCuistion program, a public affairs TV show that airs around the country, and the topic was net neutrality. It should air in a couple of months.

The program began with Tim Wu's definition of net neutrality, which is essentially the principle of non-discrimination: All bits have to be treated the same, with no discrimination. Essentially, the "dumb pipes" argument all over again.

This emphasis on non-discrimination reminded me of the first op/ed I wrote against net neutrality way back in 2006, in the early days of the net neutrality debate, entitled "Welcome to the Stupid Internet."

The piece is no longer archived on the San Jose Mercury News site, so we keep it archived here.

It's interesting to me that we are still at non-discrimination after all these years.

Of course, David Isenberg didn't like it. But Richard Bennett did, as did Scott Cleland

Here's what I think is interesting: For those eight years, we did not have net neutrality regulations, and the Internet blossomed. So . . . doesn't that mean that net neutrality proponents were wrong, and that the Internet was just fine without net neutrality regulations?

Oldie but goodie.


Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

March 24, 2014

Bigger Can Be Better; or Why the Comcast Merger is Probably Good for Time Warner Cable Customers

One or two guys oops, people can write a great app, or a great algorithm, and that's a great thing. Our economy is benefitting and consumers are reaping the benefits of such innovation and creativity that comes as the fruit of the minds and labor of a few.

But some things are really, really expensive and capital intensive to do, like building out and maintaining a 21st Century broadband and rich content network that is constantly innovating new products and services for its customers.

That's one of the reasons why I've never been big on municipal broadband networks, and it's a big reason why, as Marguerite Reardon wrote in CNET, the Comcast merger could be good for TimeWarner Cable customers. In fact, it almost certainly will be. Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

January 30, 2014

Secondary Ticket Markets In the News

Lots of stories in the news about prices for Super Bowl tickets dropping for various reasons. Here's one.

Believe it or not, there's a policy angle to this: For those of who believe that markets create efficiencies and are the best way to allocate scarce resources, it's important for us to maintain secondary markets for things like event tickets, and to make sure when you buy a ticket, you have the right to resell it.

We wrote a paper on this topic a few months back, which can be found here. Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

June 7, 2013

The Problem with Software Patents

On May 15, IPI convened a panel to discuss software patents, to discuss the criticism that the U.S. patent system has recently attracted, and to address whether that criticism is warranted. The goal was to explore a couple basic questions, such as can any of the existing challenges be addressed by creating a stronger system overall? If there are "trolls," then to what extent are they enabled by software patents? Is software best protected under copyright as an expression, or under patent as an invention? Why are there more software patents now? And how do we address the challenges while protecting US innovation? What role should patents be playing in protecting software? Why do they play a role at all? Doesn't copyright protect software adequately? Read More >>

Posted by Bartlett D. Cleland | Comments

May 30, 2013

A Way Around the Law

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has taken a lot of heat for asking--some would say shaking down--health insurance executives for money to help implement ObamaCare. So it has changed the messenger, but not the message. Read More >>

Posted by Merrill Matthews | Comments

May 21, 2013

Supreme Court rules in favor of FCC vs. City of Arlington

There has been a huge problem over the past few years with municipalities dragging their feet on approving permits to allow cell phone towers to be constructed, or even to allow new transmitters to be added to existing towers or to buildings.

Municipalities have been doing this on purpose, largely at the urging of consultants, who suggest the delays at least in part as a way to extract concessions from the wireless companies. It’s been a big problem, with municipalities complaining to the wireless companies about poor service coverage and then at the same time unnecessarily delaying permits to address the problem.

IPI has written about this problem several times, and one of the solutions we suggested was that municipalities should be put on a shot clock and given only a limited amount of time that they could delay such applications.

Which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) did.

Upon which action the City of Arlington, Texas, which is just about 30 miles from where I sit, challenged the regulation, claiming that the FCC didn’t have the authority to regulate how they approved applications for cellphone towers. Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

October 31, 2012

The bureaucrats get BuckyBalls

Update: More from CNET.

Well, the nanny state bureaucrats did it--they've run another successful American small business into the ground.

BuckyBalls are a desktop magnetic toy, and they're ingenious. They're basically tiny magnets in a variety of colors and shapes--balls, cubes, and rods.

They are targeted at adults, and they've been highly successful. Two entrepreneurs in an apartment with $2,000 started the company in 2009, and in a short period of time BuckyBalls became highly successful, sold in specialty retail stores.

But the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) came after them, and despite the fact that BuckyBalls has jumped through every hoop presented to them by CPSC, finally this year CPSC dropped the hammer. You can read the whole story, in detail, at this link.


Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

June 4, 2012

Regulating Freedom

NY's banning the sale of certain junk foods is a dangerous slippery slope. Read More >>

Posted by Barry M. Aarons | Comments


Total Records: 30


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