I’m actually cutting short my vacation to Pennsic to give the Keynote address at the 2004 National Summit for Community Wireless Networks on August 20-22, 2004. This conference is a meeting of folks deploying community wireless networks, policy wonks like yours truly, and anyone else who cares about revolutionizing spectrum policy and setting networks free. the goal is to educate each other and develop ways to move forward in a coherent movement that promotes positive spectrum management reforms. The announcement is reprinted below. Please circulate widely. Hope to see you all there.
I’m getting rather worried as I gear up for two major FCC proceedings that are supposed to be good proceedings for unlicensed spectrum access. Et Docket No. 04-151 proposes opening the 3650–3700 MHz band to unlicensed spectrum (proposed rules in pdf here). The other, ET Docket No. 04-186 proposes opening the broadcast bands to unlicensed spectrum access (proposed rules in pdf here). What could be wrong? See below. I sure hope someone other than me shows up to comment . . .
Good news: The House Commerce Committee had a hearing on the Digital Media Consumers’ Rights Act, which would undo the more obnoxious provisions of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.
Bad news: The House Judiciary Committee (which handles intellectual property issues) approved the Fraudulent Online Identity Sanctions Act, a bill to criminalize the use of false information in WHOIS registrations. This wouldn’t be so bad if you weren’t required to divulge a boatload of personal information under the “thick” WHOIS requirements in order to register a domain name. Folks who hate getting beaten up by their governments over free speech issues or just hate the way spammers use the WHOIS database often try to defnd themselves by submitting false information.
More on the merits of the bills below. But also of relevance (and what makes the Sausage Factory so much fun) is to note the difference a change in committee makes.
I will have a lot more to say on this later, but the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has issued its decision on the FCC’s media ownership deregulation that took place last summer.
The result is a near total victory for MAP and the other public interest clients and the American people. The FCC’s June 2, 2003, deregulatory Order is reversed as not supported by logical reasoning based on the record. The court reverses and remands to the FCC, keeping the old rules in effect until the FCC resolves this mess. The court rejects the FCC’s position that the provision of the 1996 Act that requires the FCC to conduct a review of its ownership rules is “deregulatory” or that it prohibits the FCC from making ownership regulations more stringent. Instead, the FCC is supposed to review its ownership rules and decide whether the public interest requires the FCC to keep the rule, relax the rule, eliminate the rule, or make the rule even more stringent.
More information at our website.
According to Wired, the Democratic Convention in Boston is accepting bloggers application for press credentials. So, anybody think Tales of The Sausage Factory should go on a road trip?
The FCC and Clear Channel reached a settlement on all pending indecency proceedings involving Clear Channel. You can read a copy of the Consent Decree and the statements of the various Commissioners here. As usual, I’m more interested in what it means. To me, this says “the Bush Administration wants indecency to go away as an issue.” Surprised?
Only in Washington would the Clear Channels of the world, those great champions of efficiencies and deregulation, declare that their monopoly on local content must be protected with regulation. And only in Washington would the deregulatory anti-big-government Republicans lap it up with a spoon. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has petitioned the FCC and Congress to prohibit the new satellite radio competitors from providing local content (mostly traffic and weather). Of course, this is moving at hyperspeed, while the effort to impose real public interest obligations on the broadcasters moves at one quarter impulse. Still, I can’t help stirring the pot at the FCC and seeing what bubbles up.
Those interested in the unlicensed revolution should tune into a new blog wireless unleashed. The four contributors: Kevin Werebach, Andrew Odlyzko, David Isenberg, and Clay Shirky are among the most articulate and visionary writers about spectrum issues today. The blog covers a wide range of issues from the technical to the legal to the philosophical. I’ve put it on my morning favorites list, and I hope you do too.
The FCC has released its eagerly anticipated (or dreaded) Notice of Proposed Rule Making which would authorize the use of unlicensed spectrum access in the television bands. (Word, PDF, and Text). This is one of the real important proceedings before the FCC on unlicensed. You can be sure that major companies on both the pro-unlicensed and the anti-unlicensed side will file? But will you? Are you content to let Microsoft or Intel cut a deal with Viacom, News Corp and the rest of the media conglomerates for you? Or would you rather participate yourself and help define your own rights?