ITIF filed comments in response to the House Energy and Commerce Committee's whitepaper on interconnection. We believe the successful growth and innovation in interconnection arrangements in the Internet space can be a good guide as we continue to move voice traffic onto IP networks. Recent interconnection disputes should best be seen as growing pains in the expansion of data-intensive use of the Internet and not distract from the success and innovation in a diversity of interconnection arrangements.
Testimony and Filings
ITIF Comments on the ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees
The purpose of copyright law is to establish a system that encourages the creation and dissemination of new works by providing authors with an incentive to create those works. There are many types of music services that provide consumers with access to the songs they love. From terrestrial radio to online subscription music services, each platform is governed by different rules that determine which types of royalties must be paid and how prices change from service to service. While policymakers created the U.S. music licensing system to provide fair compensation for artists, songwriters, and composers and to foster innovation, the current system often fails to do either. The Department of Justice (DOJ) should use the review of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music Inc.’s (BMI) consent decrees to begin the process of modernizing the way music copyrights are licensed in the digital age, kee ping an eye on innovation, competition, transparency, and fairness. The Performance Rights Organizations (PROs), such as ASCAP and BMI, are mired in a slow, complex system that fails to create competitive rates for compulsory licenses. While the onus to fix many of these issues ultimately resides in the halls of Congress, DOJ can sow the seed of change by pushing the PROs to adopt several directives as part of these consent decrees. DOJ requested comment on whether these consent decrees still serve an important purpose today. ITIF believes these consent decrees are still important to protect competition, because in their absence, the bulk music licensing world of the PROs is free to pursue monopolistic pricing. However, the DOJ can take steps to improve the consent decrees and to align them with technological breakthroughs and innovations of the digital age.
Comments to the NTIA on Big Data and Privacy
The Center for Data Innovation submitted comments recommending that policymakers restrict specific harmful uses of data, promote data reuse and sharing, and look to existing anti-discrimination law as a model for reducing data misuse.
Comments to the Senate Finance Committee on Health Data Transparency
In response to a request for comment on health data transparency issued by members of the Senate Finance Committee, the Center for Data Innovation recommended that federal agencies make taxpayer-funded medical research data accessible in a timely manner, federal health care programs release granular payments data, and federal research agencies encourage data sharing across the health care industry.
Why UPP Pricing in the Contact Lens Industry Hurts Consumers and Competition
Rob Atkinson filed comments to the U.S. Senate Committee on Judiciary's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights in regards to their hearing on pricing polices in the contact lens industry.
Letter in Support of the Social Security Commission Act of 2014
ITIF joined other leading think tanks in supporting the introduction of legislation designed to address the critical fiscal crisis facing Social Security. The bill, co-sponsored by Congressmen John Delaney (D-MD) and Tim Cole (R-OK), would create a bipartisan commission tasked with making recommendations to Congress, including proposed legislation, for achieving solvency in the Social Security trust funds for a period of at least 75 years.
ITIF Comments on the FAA Model Aircraft Rules
The FAA has interpreted its Model Aircraft rules too narrowly and should not create preemptive or prophylactic rules that limit the innovative technologies that represent the next-generation of model aircraft. Instead, the FAA's rules should mirror established model aircraft community’s voluntary safety criteria. In doing so, the FAA will adhere to Congress’s original intent and facilitate safety among model aircraft users who are experimenting with new technology and innovative aircraft. The FAA should also examine its arbitrary distinction between commercial and recreational unmanned aircraft.
The Role of Trade and Technology in 21st-Century Manufacturing
In testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, Stephen Ezell analyzed the current challenges facing America’s manufacturing economy and offered several policy recommendations designed to bolster global competitiveness.
ITIF Files Comments with FCC on Open Internet
ITIF filed comments Tuesday in the FCC's open Internet proceeding encouraging the Commission to move forward with its section 706 approach to protecting and promoting the open Internet while allowing the flexibility needed for innovation within the network itself. Section 706 should be preferred over Title II as a jurisdictional hook for open Internet guidelines for several reasons. It is unclear that Title II offers any real advantage over section 706 and would significantly delay the implementation of real rules, even if all went according to plan. ITIF explained why the fears over "fast lanes" are out of proportion and why appropriate, commercially reasonable prioritization arrangements will be good for consumers, competition, and innovation and should be encouraged.
ITIF Submits Comments on House Energy and Commerce Whitepaper on Competition Policy in Communications
ITIF submitted comments with the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in response to its whitepaper on competition policy under a Communications Act Update. ITIF urged the Committee maintain a light-touch regulatory framework that respects the economies of scale that come with networked industries. The comments included an elaboration on different ways to view competition in a broadband policy and urged the Committee to consider shifting the FCC's role to one more of enforcement.