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Will Bright Line Net Neutrality Rules Hold Up in Court?

With the Federal Communications Commission having voted 3-2 along party lines to reclassify broadband as a telecom service under Title II regulations, the new Internet rules will be tied up in court for years from lawsuits, Broadcasting & Cable's John Eggerton reports.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is confident that the new net neutrality rules will survive a court challenge even though prior rules did not, Ars Technica's Jon Brodkin reports. Wheeler said that "'the DC Circuit sent the previous Open Internet Order back to us and basically said, 'hey, you're trying to impose common carrier-like regulation without stepping up and saying, 'these are common carriers.' We have addressed that issue, that is the underlying issue, that is the sine qua non of the all the debates we've had so far. That gives me great confidence going forward."'

There are now bright-line rules against blocking and throttling Internet traffic as well as against having paid fast lanes for Internet traffic. 

In dissent, Eggerton reports that Commissioner Michael O'Rielly said that, while there are three bright-line rules, they are "'mere needles in a Title II haystack,"' and the FCC's case-by-case standard for reviewing behavior by internet service providers that fall outside those areas will "'be conducted through case-by-case adjudication, mostly at the Bureau level and in the courts.'"

En Banc 9th Circuit Considers Actress' Copyright Interest in YouTube Video

Several judges on the Ninth Circuit, sitting during en banc arguments yesterday, expressed skepticism about whether an actress has a copyright interest in an anti-Muslim video and can show enough "irreparable harm" from the video to force its takedown from YouTube, Bloomberg's Edvard Pettersson reports. A three-judge panel gave Cindy Lee Garcia a copyright interest in her performance in "Innocence of Muslims," which sparked riots in Muslim countries and was originally linked to the attack on the American consulate in Libya. 

U.S. Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski, writing for the 2-1 panel, said the case was the rare one in which a filmmaker exceeded the bounds of an actor's implied license.

Several judges on the en banc panel questioned "whether Garcia, who alleges the maker of the YouTube clip lied to her about how he would use her performance, should be pursuing a remedy under a fraud or publicity rights claim instead of copyright law," Bloomberg further reports.

Google was forced to take down the video on YouTube and other sites.

Major Telecoms 'Stunned' By Obama's #NetNeutrality Proposal

Major telecom companies were "stunned" by President Obama's proposal to regulate the Internet like it's a utility, The Guardian's Dominic Rushe reports. Regulating the Internet as a utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act has been favored by net neutrality advocates when the Federal Communications Commission's prior strategy to ensure Internet service providers don't play favorites was struck down in court. National Cable and Telecommunications Association Michael Powell said, “'We are stunned the president would abandon the longstanding, bipartisan policy of lightly regulating the internet and [call] for extreme Title II regulation,'” The Guardian further reports.

The FCC is considering a hybrid Title II regime in which ISPs would be regulated as utilities but they could charge more money to some for fast-lane access, Electronista reports.



Google Ordered to Take Down Search Results in Japan

The "right to be forgotten" has arrived in Asia. According to a report in the Associated Press, a Japansese court has ordered Google to remove search results that "hinted at the man's relations with a criminal organization after he complained his privacy rights were violated."

Europe's highest court made a similar ruling in May; some lawyers say the ruling could lead to the exportation of Europe's privacy laws to the rest of the world.

Europe Siding with Right to Be Forgotten Over Free Speech

The Washington Post reports on the Court of Justice of the European Union's's decision this week that Internet users have the right to demand that Google-search links be deleted. Europeans have the right to be forgotten. Americans don't. "Those seeking a similar right in the United States have stumbled upon the expansive free-speech protections in the First Amendment. Blocking access to even the most damaging information — mug shots, videos of intimate acts, or Web pages created by cyber-stalkers — can be difficult and often impossible, experts say. Online news accounts of past personal problems are even harder to leave behind," the Post further reports.

The European court, however, drew a distinction between newspapers keeping such news reports alive but not search engine results, the Post reports.

FCC Approves New Net Neutrality Plan

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to approve new net neutrality rules, including favoring the creation of an internet fast lane, Gigaom's Stacey Higginbotham reports: "The FCC is proposing that it should use the authority that it has under Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act to regulate net neutrality, which unfortunately leaves the rules open to the possibility of paid prioritization."

Between Aereo, FCC and Comcast, This Summer Will Change the Internet and Media Forever

Vox reports on three significant changes pending this summer that could change the media and the Internet forever:

One, will the U.S. Supreme Court let Aereo stream free broadcast television over the Internet?

Two, can Comcast buy Time Warner Cable?

Three, will the Federal Communications Commission vote to approve Internet "fast lanes" for companies that pay more?

"It is entirely possible that 2014 will end with the traditional cable bundle broken, a fundamental change to the free and open internet, and the emergence of Comcast as a telecom behemoth more powerful than the old AT&T even dared to dream. It is also possible the complete opposite of those things will happen," Vox's Nilay Patel writes.


Aereo Argues Adverse Ruling Would Cripple Cloud Computing Industry

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case next month that could shape the future of broadcast TV and the contours of copyright law. Aereo, an Internet start-up that streams free broadcast TV over the Internet, argues that a ruling against it would "cripple the entire cloud industry," The Hill reports. Broadcasters argue the streaming services violates their copyrights in their programming.

New York Times v. Sullivan Still Going Strong to Protect Media in the Digital Age

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the New York Times v. Sullivan ruling, which led to greater protections for the media from being sued for defamation by public officials and public figures like celebrities, the Associated Press says. The "case applies equally to new media such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs," AP further reports. First Amendment lawyer Bruce W. Sanford told AP that there may be fewer libel cases because the Sullivan rule is widely accepted and because there's a greater opportunity to respond to untruths in the digital world.

The FCC's Remaining Options in Pursuit of Net Neutrality

The Wall Street Journal reports on the options that the FCC still has to ensure that Internet content is treated equally and neutrally after the D.C. Circuit ruled yesterday the governmental agency's net neutrality-rules overstepped its authority. One option would be to reclassify broadband providers as common carriers because "'the Communications Act doesn’t clearly address broadband providers, which means their regulatory status is a matter of reasonable agency discretion,'" The Journal reports.


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