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In this issue

Tech Policy Outside the Beltway

Madrid, Spain
CDT President Leslie Harris will participate in the IAPP panel on Cloud Computing on November 2
Link to event.

Berkeley, California
CDT Vice President for Public Policy Jim Dempsey participated in a panel on social networking at the University of California at Berkeley’s law school.
Link to event.

Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt
CDT General Counsel John Morris will speak on a panel discussion on “Preserving free expression on the internet and protecting children’s rights online,” at the next meeting of the international Internet Governance Forum on November 17.
For more on the panel


For more information about CDT, or to receive CDT's Tech Policy Download, click here.


CDT’s Tech Policy Download

Welcome to the Center for Democracy & Technology’s Tech Policy Download, a twice-monthly update on developments in the Internet policy space. We’ll review recent activities on Capitol Hill and in statehouses, courts and federal agencies, paying particular attention to matters that impact the free and open Internet. If you’re getting this inaugural issue, it’s because you're already on one of our existing lists. For a link to unsubscribe, scroll down to the bottom. And with that out of the way, on to the Download……

FCC Sets "Rules for the Road"

On Oct. 23, the FCC took a bold step to open a serious and substantive discussion in the form of a new rule making on Internet neutrality. On substance, the Commission's proposal to add non-discrimination and transparency to the four neutrality principles the agency outlined in 2005 is a welcome move and one CDT has long favored. But now the real work begins. An early reading of the proposed rule raises a few red flags, namely the exceptions and caveats to the neutrality rules for network management, quality of service and other grounds. Clearly the proposal will require much deeper analysis going forward. Most important, if the goal of the proceeding is to preserve the open Internet, the FCC needs to draw a bright line between regulation of the last-mile network and the regulation of Internet content, applications, and services.

To read more from CDT on this FCC action check our PolicyBeta blog.

Let Freedom Ring(tone)

A federal court has ruled that mobile phone carriers don’t need to pay copyright performance royalties for the ringtones that their customers legally download. ASCAP -- the performance rights organization -- had argued that when a ringtone plays in a public place, it constitutes a “public performance” that must be compensated. Earlier this year, CDT joined with EFF and Public Knowledge in urging the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to dismiss ASCAP’s strained argument. In its October 14 ruling, the court did just that , holding that both users and carriers are exempt from liability when a ringtone plays in public. The upshot being that you’re not infringing copyright and don’t have to send ASCAP a check just because your phone breaks into “Don’t Stop Believin’” while you’re walking down the street.

Strike a Balance on Internet Governance? Yes ICANN

The US government agreed last month to loosen the sway it has long held over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the private, non-profit body that oversees administration of the Internet's addressing system. In a new “Affirmation of Commitments” with the Department of Commerce, ICANN agreed to create international review teams to assess its work and the US withdrew from its role overseeing ICANN's procedures. We're pleased to see this reaffirmation of the bottom-up, private sector led model for governance of the domain names system. Some governments had sought to take more direct control over the ICANN process, something CDT strongly opposed. The big remaining questions of accountability are how to create a system for appealing the decisions of the ICANN board and by what standard should such appeals be judged. Check out our blog post for our take on ICANN’s future.

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