Category Archives: Media & Communications

Is the Internet a Viable Threat to Representative Democracy?

By: David M. Thompson The Internet, despite its relatively recent advent, is critical to millions of Americans’ way of life. Although the Internet arguably opens new opportunities for citizens to become more directly involved in their government, some scholars fear … Continue reading

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T-Mobile USA Inc. V. Department of Finance for Baltimore City: What the Latest Salvo in Disproportional Cellular Phone Taxation Means for the Future

By: Daniel P. Slowey Seventeen percent of the average monthly cellular phone bill in 2004 was comprised of federal, state, and local taxes. As the number of wireless subscribers across the nation continues to increase, states, cities, and counties are … Continue reading

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When Is Employee Blogging Protected by Section 7 of the NLRA?

By: Katherine M. Scott The National Labor Relations Act forbids employers from retaliating against certain types of employee speech or intimidating those who engage in it. This iBrief examines how blogging fits into the current statutory framework and recommends how … Continue reading

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The End of Net Neutrality

By: William G. Laxton Jr. In 2005, the FCC changed the competitive landscape of the high-speed Internet access industry by classifying both DSL and cable modem service as “information services.” While many hail this move as a victory for competition … Continue reading

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Shielding Journalist-“Bloggers”: The Need to Protect Newsgathering Despite the Distribution Medium

By: Laura Durity The failure to agree on a sufficiently narrow definition of “journalist” has stalled efforts to enact a federal shield law to legally protect reporter-source communications from compelled disclosure in federal court. The increasing use of the Internet … Continue reading

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When Discrimination Is Good: Encouraging Broadband Internet Investment Without Content Neutrality

By: Christopher E. Fulmer Cable television and traditional telephone companies are increasingly offering the same set of services: telephone, television, and broadband Internet access. Competition between these two types of companies would ordinarily require them to improve these services, but … Continue reading

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Fighting Terrorism in an Electronic Age: Does the Patriot Act Unduly Compromise Our Civil Liberties?

By: Christopher P. Raab The USA PATRIOT Act is tremendously controversial, both lauded by law enforcement and decried by civil liberties groups. This iBrief considers two of the Act’s communications monitoring provisions, concluding that each compromises civil liberties to a … Continue reading

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Completing the Connection: Achieving Universal Service Through Municipal Wi-Fi

By: K. Joon Oh The federal universal service scheme is designed to ensure that everyone has affordable access to advanced telecommunications and information services. Despite the development of cost-effective technologies that drastically reduce the cost of telephone services vis-à-vis the … Continue reading

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Buggy Whips and Broadcast Flags: The Need for a New Politics of Expression

By: Garrett Levin In response to growing fears from the entertainment industry over online file-sharing of valuable content, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) enacted sweeping regulations over the production of electronic devices in the name of protecting digital television broadcasts. … Continue reading

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Regulating Indecency: The Federal Communication Commission’s Threat to the First Amendment

By: Reed Hundt This paper is adapted from a talk given by the author at Duke University School of Law on April 6, 2005. The author argues that the Federal Communication Commission’s recent crackdown on television indecency poses a significant … Continue reading

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Crossed Signals in a Wireless World: The Seventh Circuit’s Misapplication of the Complete Preemption Doctrine

By: Matthew J. Kleiman As the number of wireless telephone users continues to proliferate, so does the number of lawsuits against wireless service providers. While consumers seek to utilize various consumer-friendly state law causes of action, the wireless industry continues … Continue reading

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Wireless Local Number Portability: New Rules Will Have Broad Effects

By: Stephen M. Kessing After a delay of over seven years, wireless local number portability rules (“WLNP”) finally went into effect on November 24, 2003. These rules, promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission, allow wireless subscribers to change service providers … Continue reading

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Investigating Terrorism: The Role of the First Amendment

By: Amy E. Hooper This iBrief discusses the constitutionality of a government policy enacted shortly after September 11, 2001 that denies public access to deportation hearings in cases allegedly bearing some connection to terrorism. This ibrief discusses two Circuit Courts … Continue reading

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The FCC Under Attack

By: Kerri Smith The Federal Communications Commission voted in a contentious three-two split to relax rules limiting ownership of TV stations, radio stations, and newspapers. Among its critics are members of Congress who may pass legislation reinstating the old rules. … Continue reading

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The FCC and Congress Should Consider Consumer Rights When Making the Transition to DTV

By: Frank Ing-Jye Chao This ibrief discusses the copyright issue surrounding the transition into Digital Television. It proposes that the Federal Communications Commission should balance the copyright interests of all parties involved in the DTV transition. Creators of informative and … Continue reading

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Do Not Advertise: The Current Fight Against Unsolicited Advertisements

By: Dannielle Cisneros Have you ever received a phone call from a telemarketer during dinner? Do e-mails entitled “Protect Your Computer Against Viruses for $9.95” or “GET A FREE PASS TO THOUSANDS OF XXX SITES” annoy you? Are you tired … Continue reading

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Political E-Mail: Protected Speech or Unwelcome Spam?

By: Mark Sweet Candidates for political office are using unsolicited bulk e-mails to reach the electorate. Commonly known as “political spam,” this campaign tactic is an inexpensive supplement to television, radio, and print ads. Advocates claim that campaigning via the … Continue reading

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Music Piracy and the Audio Home Recording Act

By: Tia Hall In spite of the guidance provided by the Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA) of 1992, music companies are once again at odds with consumer electronics manufacturers. This time around, the dispute is over certain information technology products … Continue reading

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Virtual Child Pornography on the Internet: A “Virtual” Victim?

By: Dannielle Cisneros Child pornography is an exception to First Amendment freedoms because it exploits and abuses our nation’s youth. The latest trend in that industry is “virtual child” pornography. “Virtual child” pornography does not use real children or images … Continue reading

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New “Unbundling” Rules: Will the FCC Finally Open Up Cable Broadband?

By: Sarah North This iBrief discusses a recent Court of Appeals decision remanding FCC rules on the “unbundling” of Internet services by telephone exchange carriers. These rules ordered many Internet service providers to share their equipment with competitors, so that … Continue reading

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Everyone’s a Critic: Defamation and Anonymity on the Internet

By: Allison Stiles Internet publishing is easy and has become commonplace in ourtechnology-focused society. Although this type of publication can beexciting and helpful for those interested in communicating an idea, theissue of anonymous speech on the Internet has created some … Continue reading

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Enhanced 911 Technology and Privacy Concerns: How Has the Balance Changed Since September 11?

By: Aaron Futch & Christine Soares E911 technology allows for the location of a cellular phone to be determined by the wireless service provider within several hundred feet. As a consequence, privacy groups have been extremely resistant to the implementation … Continue reading

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Hard Lessons: Guiding America’s Approach to Third Generation Wireless Policy

By: Aaron Futch The publicity over license auctions in Europe during 2000 created an atmosphere in which the prices that companies paid for third-generation wireless licenses received more attention than their actual plans to implement the technology. As American policymakers … Continue reading

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The Music Online Competition Act of 2001: Moderate Change or Radical Reform?

By: Alexander Davie & Christine Soares On August 3, 2001 legislation was proposed to facilitate online broadcasting and distribution of music. The proposed Music Online Competition Act (MOCA) seeks to streamline the distribution of music over the Internet, increase competition, … Continue reading

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Freelance Articles and Electronic Databases: Who Owns the Copyrights?

By: Christine Soares There has long been uncertainty as to who owns the rights to digital reproductions of freelance articles. The Supreme Court has recently affirmed that copyrights for the digital reproduction of freelance articles belong to freelance authors, rather … Continue reading

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