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Telecommunications Law, Quora and Questions January 27, 2011

Posted by lborodkin in : Uncategorized , trackback

Had a great time guest lecturing at Jack Lerner’s Media Law class at USC Gould School of Law. The subject was a bird’s eye view of telecommunications regulation. Here are the slides:

(I’m a little in love with Quora lately. Like my Powerpoint theme?)

Doing a rapid-fire survey of telecommunications regulation made a few themes pop out. First, it never seemed to bothered regulators to apply old statutes to new technologies. If the FCC says television is included in “radio,” then it is. For 60 years, the Telecommunications Act of 1934 Act governed many technologies not yet invented. Just as the Sony v. Betamax decision established important aspects of Fair Use with technology that nobody uses anymore.

Second, it’s amazing how many normative, American values are embedded in the whole regulatory scheme. There is such an emphasis on the free market, the two-party political system and at the same time norms of decency and obscenity.

Third, the students asked some great questions and made terrific comments. On the subject of COICA, one student asked, how does the U.S. Customs gain jurisdiction over foreign-hosted and registered websites to seize domain names under COICA? (At the “border crossing,” at least in theory.)

These are the right questions. If you want to see the questions that intrigue me lately, here they are.

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