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Economic Freedom

Net Neutrality: The Power to Act - Podcast

Telecommunications & Electronic Media Practice Group Podcast
Maureen K. Ohlhausen, Daniel Lyons, Michael Weinberg, Randolph J. May August 04, 2014

After suffering two judicial setbacks already, most recently in the D.C. Circuit’s Verizon v. FCC decision this past January, the Federal Communications Commission is once again proposing to adopt new net neutrality regulations. The proposed regulations would bar internet service providers from blocking access to any lawful website or from engaging in commercially unreasonable practices. A key aspect of the FCC’s proposal drawing considerable attention concerns whether the FCC should bar so-called paid prioritization of internet traffic.

In this Teleforum, three experts with divergent views addressed whether there is any need for the FCC to adopt any new neutrality regulations and, if so, whether the agency possesses the legal authority to do so. Two principal legal theories that may support FCC action were discussed – using the FCC’s existing authority under Section 706 of the Communications Act or classifying internet service providers as common carriers under Title II of the Act. The panelists also discussed the most important question of all: whether and how net neutrality regulation might affect consumer welfare.

  • Maureen K. Ohlhausen, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
  • Prof. Daniel Lyons, Boston College Law School
  • Michael Weinberg, Vice President, Public Knowledge
  • Moderator: Randolph J. May, President, The Free State Foundation

Bitcoin: Commerce, Government and Security - Podcast

International & National Security Law Practice Group Podcast
Jim Harper, Chip Poncy, Vincent J. Vitkowsky May 12, 2014

Bitcoin: Commerce, Government and Security - Podcast

Bitcoin is the most prominent cryptographic digital currency emerging as a privately-created medium of exchange. What exactly are these currencies, and what is their impact on commerce, government, and national security?

Featuring:

  • Jim Harper, Global Policy Counsel, The Bitcoin Foundation, and Senior Fellow, Cato Institute
  • Chip Poncy, Co-founder, The Financial Integrity Network, and former Senior Advisor, U.S. Department of Treasury
  • Moderator: Vincent J. Vitkowsky, Partner, Seiger Gfeller Laurie LLP

The Internet: Are We Losing Control? - Podcast

Telecommunications & Electronic Media Practice Group Podcast
John M.R. Kneuer, Patricia J. Paoletta April 02, 2014

UNinternet

On March 14, 2014, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced its plan to transition its key internet domain name functions to the global multistakeholder community. It has asked the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to commence the multistakeholder process to develop the transition plan.

NTIA administers changes to the authoritative root zone file – the database containing the lists of names and addresses of all top-level domains – and serves as the historic steward of the Domain Name System. NTIA currently contracts with ICANN to carry out the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions and has a cooperative agreement with Verisign under which it performs related root zone management functions. ICANN’s government contract expires September 30, 2015. NTIA has indicated that ICANN’s transition plan must adhere to four principles. It must:

  • Support and enhance the multistakeholder model
  • Maintain the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet DNS
  • Meet the needs and expectations of the global customers and partners of the IANA services
  • Maintain the openness of the internet

In this Teleforum, we discussed the implications of this pending transition and its potential impact on a free and open internet.

Featuring:

  • Hon. John M.R. Kneuer, President and Founder, Kneuer LLC
  • Patricia J. Paoletta, Partner, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP

[Listen now!]

Oral Arguments in the Contraceptive Mandate Case: Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. - Podcast

Religious Liberties Practice Group Podcast
Robert A. Destro, Adèle Keim March 26, 2014

Hobby Lobby

On March 25, 2014, the contraceptive mandate case was argued in the U.S. Supreme Court. Hobby Lobby Stores’ owners have no moral or other objection to the use of 16 of 20 contraceptives required by the contraceptive mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but cite their deeply held religious beliefs in objecting to providing or paying for four others they see as possibly life-threatening. How will the Supreme Court rule? Does the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), allow Hobby Lobby a way around the ACA ‘s contraceptive mandate? Our experts reviewed the oral arguments and took questions from the audience in this Courthouse Steps Teleforum.

Featuring:

  • Prof. Robert A. Destro, Professor of Law, and Director, Interdisciplinary Program in Law & Religion, The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law
  • Adele Keim, Counsel, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

[Listen now!]

Residual Class Action Awards: Cy Pres - Podcast

Litigation Practice Group Podcast
Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Theodore H. Frank March 21, 2014

gavel money

Cy pres (from the French cy pres comme —“as near as possible”) originated in the trust context, but has more recently been applied to class action litigation, as courts try to determine what to do with sometimes significant amounts of settlement funds remaining after all identified plaintiff awards have been made.  In recent decades, courts have agreed to award such remaining funds to third party recipients who, while not parties to the underlying suits, are deemed worthy by the court.  Sometimes, the courts have selected these third party recipients based on recommendations from the attorneys representing the plaintiffs.  What are the legal underpinnings for such awards to entities or people not party to the underlying case?  What are the policy considerations in making or prohibiting such awards?  These and other questions were discussed by our experts.

Featuring:

  • Prof. Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Vanderbilt University Law School
  • Mr. Theodore H. Frank, Founder and President, Center for Class Action Fairness and Adjunct Fellow, Manhattan Institute Center for Legal Policy

[Listen now!]