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What is a “Regulatory Backstop?”

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A fun aspect of this FCC’s modus operandi of announcing new rules and rule changes by op-ed and “fact-sheet” is all the hours one can spend speculating on what the upcoming rule will say. In my case, that mostly involves not having enough information to facilitate useful discussion and epic confusion about how to evaluate proposals that aren’t actually proposals. Last week, for example, I fretted about the potential issues raised by the “standard license” the fact sheet discussed. This week, my confusion regarding the standard license continues, spurred by […]

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We Don’t Know How to Close the Digital Divide, But We Can Figure it Out

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There’s a lot to like in Hillary Clinton’s technology agenda, not the least of which is its existence. After all, Donald Trump’s tech agenda appears to include only the use of Twitter (sad!).[1] Assuming Hillary is elected we’ll surely have robust debates about the wisdom of some of the plan’s suggestions and the most effective ways to implement others. Even though the election is still weeks away, it’s useful to look at one goal that most people share across the political spectrum: closing the digital divide, especially one based on […]

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Some Questions About the FCC’s Proposed “Standard License”

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The FCC recently released a “fact sheet” on its new proposal regarding video set-top boxes. Despite reports that it reflects a compromise, and because the final rules are unlikely to be unveiled before the Commission votes on September 29, the new proposal raises additional questions.[1] In particular, the new proposal aims to create a “standard license governing the process for placing on app on a device or platform.” The document explains that a standard license will give device manufacturers the certainty required to bring innovative products to market. Programmers will […]

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Research Roundup 5: It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World

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That’s two extra ‘Mads’ compared to the classic movie. Each article seemed deserving of its own bit of madness, illustrating the nature of our mad world. Is privacy now just an illusion? Would you be able to recognize a school if you saw it? Just because you bought something, does that mean you own it? Does our nation’s drone policy fight terrorism or cause it? And what is the relationship between our lives in social media and the real world? This isn’t the Twilight Zone or Black Mirror: it’s just […]

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Dispatch from the 2016 TPI Aspen Forum – Monday General Session Keynotes and Panels

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The first full day of the TPI Aspen Forum began with the discussion panel, “Innovation, Productivity and Growth: Is the Party Over?” TPI’s Scott Wallsten asked the panelists why there seems to be a marked drop in productivity over the past 15 or so years, despite technological advancements. Timothy Bresnahan, Landau Professor in Technology and the Economy and Professor of Economics, Stanford University, opined that most technological advancement has gone into consumption, as opposed to productivity improvements. Mobile, cloud computing, big data and analytics is slowly defusing into productivity instead […]

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Dispatch from the 2016 TPI Aspen Forum – Sunday

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Instead of the normal keynote and welcoming remarks to open the TPI Aspen Forum, we decided the Sunday evening opening reception would be the perfect opportunity to make a very special announcement: TPI President Tom Lenard is stepping down, and current VP for Research Scott Wallsten is taking over. As I didn’t speak last night, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tom for his guidance over the almost decade that I’ve worked with him. His unflappable demeanor has always made him a great colleague and boss. And, […]

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Responding to Piracy: What the evidence shows

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Brett Danaher, Michael D. Smith, Rahul Telang In two previous blog posts (here and here), we reviewed the available academic evidence on whether piracy harms media sales, and whether this harm leads to reductions in the supply of creative works. Almost all the studies on the first question conclude that piracy does have an adverse effect on sales, and there is also evidence of an adverse effect on the supply of new works. Academic researchers have also asked a third category of questions—what can be done to shift illegal consumption […]

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Research Roundup 4: The Finals!

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Of the NBA and NHL, that is, and, being from the Bay Area, we’re going to revel in this moment. The Sharks have ascended to the grandest stage in hockey probably just to disappoint us in the grandest possible way and pave the way for The Warriors to convert us from primarily hockey fans to primarily basketball fans. Perhaps you’ll watch some finals on cable. So will future governance of the Internet of Things (IOT) allow your IoT-enhanced set top box realize this and automatically record the show for you? […]

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No, The NTIA’s Survey Data Do Not Show a “Tipping Point” in Behavior Due to Privacy Concerns

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An article in the Washington Post on Sunday, May 15, 2016 loudly trumpets a claim that privacy concerns are separating consumers from the Internet: “This chilling effect, pulled out of a survey of 41,000 U.S. households who use the Internet, show the insecurity of the Web is beginning to have consequences that stretch beyond the direct fall-out of an individual losing personal data in breach. The research suggests some consumers are reaching a tipping point where they feel they can no longer trust using the Internet for everyday activities.” – Washington Post The survey, which is […]

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Research Roundup 3: The Research Awakens

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Read me, inquisitive reader. You’re my only hope… Research is very much like the force: Often times misunderstood, most who try to wield it can’t end up doing much with it, but the few who take the time to understand it can wield its vast power to great effect – for good or evil… We’ve been busy scouring the known and unknown universe – from Tatooine to Naboo – to smuggle you the finest research not involving Midichlorians. Whether you want to compare Bitcoin to regulated currency, examine the regulatory […]

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