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Telecommunications

Telecommunications Law in the New Administration - Podcast

Telecommunications & Electronic Media Practice Group Podcast
Nicholas Degani, Patricia J. Paoletta, Bryan N. Tramont April 18, 2017

In late March, Congress used the Congressional Review Act to reverse the FCC’s controversial Broadband ISP Privacy Order. The FCC had overwritten the FTC’s prior regulation of ISP privacy, after President Obama took to YouTube following the 2014 mid-term elections, to call for the regulation of ISPs as common carriers,  under a framework dating from the monopoly provision of telephone service. 

The current FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai has announced he aims to deregulate, focused on removing outdated regulations to encourage investment and innovation. Pai’s Digital Empowerment Agenda sees competitive broadband networks as engines of economic growth.  Observers expect the underlying decision from the Obama era to regulate ISPs as common carriers – aka Open Internet or Net Neutrality – to be re-considered soon. The Chairman has also proposed revising broadcast ownership rules to reflect today’s more diverse media landscape, and repurposing spectrum to facilitate the next generation of mobile broadband and Internet of Things. Maximizing access to spectrum for “5G” broadband and IoT will require repurposing some federal spectrum, so the President’s federal spectrum manager at Commerce (NTIA) will play a critical role.

In our third segment of the Legal Options for the New Administration Teleforum Series, Bryan Tramont, Chair of the Federalist Society Telecommunications Executive Committee, moderated a discussion with Chairman Ajit Pai’s Senior Counsel, Nick Degani, and Patricia Paoletta, a telecom partner at the law firm of Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP. 

Featuring:

  • Nicholas Degani, Senior Counsel to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai; formerly Wireline Legal Advisor to FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai
  • Patricia Paoletta, Partner at Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP, named by the Trump-Pence Transition Team to the FCC Landing Team
  • Moderator: Bryan Tramont, Managing Partner of Wilkinson, Barker & Knauer, former FCC Chief of Staff; Chair of the Federalist Society Telecommunications Executive Committee

The Role of Economic Liberty in the United States - Event Audio/Video

Administrative Law & Regulation and Telecommunications & Electronic Media Practice Groups
Michelle P. Connolly, Clark Neily, Lawrence J. Spiwak, Maureen K. Ohlhausen, Dean A. Reuter March 30, 2017

The Federalist Society hosted a lunch and discussion on the role of Economic Liberty in the United States on Tuesday, March 28, 2017.  

Today, many job-seeking Americans and companies face significant government barriers that restrict their full participation in the economy. These barriers, often in the form of restrictive regulatory regimes, prevent consumers from using their skills, entering new professions, and starting new businesses. They also prevent low and middle-class Americans from moving up the ladder.  Competition and free markets have the power to spur innovation, create new business models, and drive economic opportunity and growth.

Policymakers, like Acting Chair of the Federal Trade Commission Maureen Ohlhausen, have begun to take actions to address these barriers.  For example, Ms. Ohlhausen recently announced the creation of an Economic Liberty Task Force to advance economic liberty issues, with a particular focus on occupational licensing regulations.  These topics and others were addressed.

Speakers Include: 

  • Prof. Michelle P. Connolly, Professor of the Practice of Economics, Duke University
  • Clark Neily, Senior Attorney, Institute for Justice
  • Lawrence J. Spiwak, President, Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal and Economic Public Policy Studies
  • Moderator: Hon. Maureen K. Ohlhausen, Acting Chairman, Federal Trade Commission
  • Introduction: Mr. Dean A. Reuter, Vice President & Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society

National Press Club
Washington, DC

Courthouse Steps: Microsoft v. Baker - Podcast

Litigation Practice Group Podcast
Cory L. Andrews March 23, 2017

On March 21, 2017, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Microsoft v. Baker. The case involves a class action lawsuit against the Microsoft Company by plaintiffs who alleged that during games on their Xbox video game console, the game disc would come loose and scratch the internal components of the device, permanently damaging the Xbox. Since only .4% of Xbox consoles experienced this issue, the district court determined that "a class action suit could not be certified and individuals in the suit would have to come forward on their own." The named plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their claims with prejudice. The case was then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit where the court overturned the lower court's decision and held that the district court misapplied the law and abused its discretion in removing the class action allegations.

As Microsoft v. Baker comes before the Supreme Court, the major question is whether or not appellate courts have the jurisdiction to review a class action suit after the plaintiffs voluntarily dismiss their claims with prejudice.

Featuring:

  • Cory L. Andrews, Senior Litigation Counsel, Washington Legal Foundation

FTC, Past and Future - Podcast

Telecommunications & Electronic Media and Intellectual Property Practice Group Podcast
Alden Abbott, Maureen K. Ohlhausen February 16, 2017

The Federal Trade Commission has dual missions to protect consumers and competition. The agency has a 100+ years of history as an antitrust enforcer and general consumer protection agency. And over the last 20 years it has emerged as the lead U.S. agency addressing consumer privacy and data security. During the past administration, the agency faced challenges within and without. How well has it executed its dual missions? What external factors (such as actions by the CFPB and FCC) have affected its ability to further its missions? And how might the agency improve in the coming administration? To answer these questions we'll talk to Heritage Senior Fellow Alden Abbot and FTC Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen.

Featuring:

  • Alden Abbott, Deputy Director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and the John, Barbara, and Victoria Rumpel Senior Legal Fellow, The Heritage Foundation
  • Hon. Maureen K. Ohlhausen, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission

 

Justice Scalia's Telecommunications Legacy - Event Audio/Video

2016 National Lawyers Convention
Richard A. Epstein, Henry Goldberg, Richard E. Wiley, Don R. Willett November 23, 2016

Justice Scalia first entered public service in 1971, when he was appointed by President Richard Nixon to serve as the General Counsel for the Office of Telecommunications Policy (“OTP") in the White House. From that day in 1971 through his dissent in the Brand X case regarding broadband classification, Justice Scalia brought a deep understanding of technology policy to his career on the Supreme Court. And of course, Justice Scalia was never one to mince words. “It would be gross understatement to say that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 is not a model of clarity. It is in many important respects a model of ambiguity or indeed even self-contradiction," he observed in AT&T Corp. v. Iowa Util. Bd. The Telecommunications & Electronic Media Practice Group has brought together a panel of experts to discuss Justice Scalia's legacy on telecommunications and media issues and discuss current litigation through the lens of his jurisprudence.

This panel was held on November 18, 2016, during the 2016 National Lawyers Convention in Washington, DC.

Telecommunications & Electronic Media: Justice Scalia's Telecommunications Legacy
12:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Chinese Room

  • Prof. Richard A. Epstein, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, Director, Classical Liberal Institute, New York University School of Law
  • Mr. Henry Goldberg, Goldberg, Godles, Wiener and Wright LLP
  • Mr. Richard E. Wiley, Chairman Emeritus, Wiley Rein LLP
  • Moderator: Hon. Don Willett, Texas Supreme Court

The Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC