Privacy bill amendments will provide clearer guidance to investigators

On August 21, 1789, the House of Representatives adopted amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which later became known as the Bill of Rights. The fourth of these amendments was introduced to protect private citizens from unlawful search and seizure by government agents. Last Thursday, members of Congress once again sought to protect the citizens they represent from unreasonable searches by agents of the government.


You are doing it wrong: The Right and digital politics

The results of this election made one thing clear about the GOP and the era of digital politicking: we are doing it wrong.
It is not that Conservatives are not engaged online (in fact the opposite is true), or that the Right is not using the best tools or techniques. It is fundamentally that Conservatives do not have the correct view of the role of digital politics in campaigns.
After the ground-breaking uses of technology in Howard Dean’s presidential campaign and the game-changing use of the internet by Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, it became clear to many on the Right that the era of digital politics was here to stay. And while the Right has by-in-large embraced the digital arena, it is not enough to just engage in social networks, buy digital ads, send emails and engage in mobile campaigning.


Business success should not trump creativity: Pandora isn't playing fair

Last week, we grabbed our guitars, borrowed a piano and set up shop on Capitol Hill to tell our story: Pandora isn’t playing fair. 

We are songwriters. Those lyrics you know by heart or the tune you can’t get out of your head. The songs you dance to, cry to, and sing in the shower.  That’s us. You probably wouldn’t recognize us on the street. 


FTC should proceed with case against Google

When you stare down a $220 billion corporation, it’s hard not to blink.  But if the Federal Trade Commission doesn’t deliver on its ultimatum to Google that it settle its antitrust problems soon for real relief or face prosecution, then consumers will never get the open and unfettered online and mobile access to information they deserve.
While the government’s battle with Microsoft in the 1990s was about whether the dominant software company could bundle software and an Internet browser, the antitrust case against Google is about whether one company should have so much control over online information that it can steer us any where it chooses for its own profit.


Why I support the Internet Radio Fairness Act

As a musician with Break of Reality, an independent music group, I would very much like to have my voice heard with regard to the Internet Radio Fairness Act. Internet radio has provided tremendous exposure for my band, Break of Reality, an independent music group. I would like to share how important it is to help create fair legislation so that companies like Pandora can flourish and expand, creating more opportunities and revenue for us as musicians.


A bipartisan offender: The Internet Radio Fairness Act

We are stunned by how little attention has been paid to the treacherous parts of the so-called Internet Radio Fairness Act — the parts that have nothing to do with the royalty rates paid to artists and everything to do with shutting down speech and agency capture.
Among other things the bill would stand antitrust law on its head, and would permit dominant players like Sirius XM and Clear Channel to sue any group of sound recording owners — any — if they “impede” the efforts of these two behemoths to make direct licensing deals with record companies.


Unfair taxes burden online holiday shoppers

In the past decade, the holiday shopping has become easier, as many consumers are forgoing packed malls and purchasing their gifts online instead. This means a holiday shopper in a small town can access many of the same goods and services once available only to those in big cities. However, greater consumer choice has its disadvantages, especially unfair tax burdens associated with the sale of digital goods and services.
Why are these particular taxes so high? Basically it is because there is no regulation governing which jurisdiction has the right to tax digital commerce, meaning that there can be multiple taxes levied on a single purchase.


Electronic privacy deserves a bipartisan upgrade

Today, if the police want to come into your house and take your personal letters, they need a warrant. If they want to read those same letters saved on Google or Yahoo they don’t. The Fourth Amendment has eroded online.

Americans for Tax Reform and the American Civil Liberties Union are members of the Digital Due Process Coalition, a wide-ranging group of privacy advocates, think tanks and businesses, like Microsoft, Google, Apple, AT&T, that often disagree on different issues. However, we can agree on consistent privacy protection for digital documents. 


Spectrum uncertainty hurting investment on digital highway

Uncertainty: One of the greatest challenges facing today’s innovators, entrepreneurs and investors. Businesses have roughly $2 trillion idled on their balance sheets, capable of more productive immediate and long-term investment, but they lack visibility into future consumer demand and global growth. Given Europe’s ongoing sovereign debt crisis, China’s slowing growth, increasing protectionism in the developing world and immediate risks that the American economy will go “off the fiscal cliff,” potential employers are understandably reluctant to hire. Absent greater investment and new jobs, consumers are more cautious. A vicious economic cycle churns. Growth stalls.


Internet Radio Fairness Act undermines value of music and copyright

It is expected that the House Judiciary Committee will soon hold a hearing on H.R. 6480, the Internet Radio Fairness Act, introduced by Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), and there will be a lot of talk about fairness and music royalty rates. Arguments will be made for Congress to change the rate standard under which Internet radio pays record labels and artists in such a way that allows Internet radio to pay far less in royalties. 

But the proposals being discussed are far from fair.