Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 11, 2016

Net Neutrality, Music Royalties, Patent ‘Trolls’ Pop Up in New House Bills

In case you missed it, over the past couple days House members have introduced legislation on three of the year’s top tech issues:

Net Neutrality: Ohio Republican Bob Latta has introduced legislation that would restrict the FCC from designating Internet service providers as telecommunications services. The measure is in response to the FCC’s recent net neutrality proposal.

CQ Roll Call’s Rob Margetta wrote last week that the FCC proposal — which net neutrality advocates argue could lead to an Internet where “content providers would need to pay extra for speed” — also includes:

… language saying the FCC will explore regulating broadband providers as common carrier utilities under Title II of a 1996 communications law (PL 104-104). That would be a change from the current practice of regulating under Title I of the law, which provides only limited authority.

Public interest groups have been calling for the FCC to reclassify broadband in rewriting its 2010 net neutrality rules that were mostly struck down by an appeals court earlier this year. At the same time, that possibility has drawn the ire of Republicans.

Margetta writes that House Republicans have blasted the FCC over “even considering the possibility of regulating broadband Internet providers as utilities,”  a move that would give the agency more authority to impose rules on broadband providers

Music Royalties: George Holding, R-N.C., has introduced a bill co-sponsored by House Judiciary ranking Democrat Democrat John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, that would require Internet and satellite radio services to pay royalties for music dated before 1972 if they use a federal compulsory license.

The Los Angeles Times has more on the bill and the Project 72 campaign.

Patent Litigation: Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif., also announced a bill co-sponsored by Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, intended to reduce activity by “patent trolls” at the International Trade Commission. “In nearly all recent cases, these entities have judicial recourse for allegedly infringing activities in the U.S. Federal Courts and are pursuing that parallel litigation at the same time as filing in the ITC,” reads a summary of the bill.

That measure comes about a week after Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., shelved a bill that had been on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s agenda.

The Dallas Morning News wrote a few years back about the rise in patent cases at the ITC.

  • Shakes Sphere

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