The day after Comcast announced its intentions to buy out Time Warner Cable, it mobilized its army of lobbyists and consultants to gauge the atmosphere in Washington D.C concerning the deal. The company has no problem lobbying lawmakers and padding their campaigns with cash to get the job done either.
Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) said in a new report that it would push hard for the passage of an national Internet sales tax law and for better data privacy regulations this year. In its annual policy agenda, the trade group highlighted the issues it deemed to be of grave importance this year. A federal law to deal with online sales tax is at the top of the list. The group, which represents traditional retailers, believes that having a national sales tax collection law will levy the playing field so that online-only retailers don't have an advantage.
According to a Wall Street Journal report (membership required), the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) spent a considerable amount of money and effort in fighting anti-videogame laws in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, and New Jersey - and in Oklahoma last year. Many of the bills have either died or are locked in legislative committees waiting for approval.
The ESA is also taking aim at a federal bill, according to records and a co-sponsor of the bill.
Michael Powell, a former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman (under President George W Bush) and now President and CEO of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA), recently said that ISPs should be moving with urgency to implement data caps on their customers.
His remarks, chronicled by Multichannel News at the recent Cable-Tec Expo in Atlanta, were in response to a question about data caps.
In an extensive report on lobbying efforts in Washington, Games Industry International reveals that the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) spends more on lobbying efforts than the National Rifle Association - on paper, at least. But in reality a good lobbyist knows all the tricks of influence peddling through other spending that doesn't have to be reported because it isn't technically considered lobbying.
According to The Hill, IBM - as a strong supporter of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) - will send over 100 executives to Washington D.C. to hold nearly 300 meetings with lawmakers over a two-day period.
"We’re going to put our shoe leather where our mouth is," Chris Padilla, vice president of governmental affairs at IBM, told The Hill.
The Hill reports that the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has hired former Capitol Hill aides Ali Amirhooshmand and Danielle Rodman. Amirhooshmand and Rodman will serve as directors of federal government affairs for the games industry lobbying organization.
If a town or city wants to have their own broadband infrastructure, they should be able to build it as long as it doesn't cost the state it is in taxpayer dollars. But there's a quiet movement - a greasing of the wheels, if you like - to put a stop to that by telcos and low-end broadband providers that rely on old infrastructure. The latest state to try and legislate limits on what towns and cities can do to improve broadband is in Georgia, where state lawmakers have introduced Georgia House Bill 282, or "the Municipal Broadband Investment Act."
Reuters is reporting that the National Rifle Association, victims of gun violence, gun safety groups, gun owners, and unnamed representatives from the film and video game industries will meet with Vice-President Joe Biden's task force set up to come up with solutions and answers in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut that resulted in the death of 20 children and six adults.
Applications for the scholarships to be awarded by the EMA Scholarship Foundation are due by March 1, 2013, the Entertainment Merchants Association announced this week. These academic scholarships will be awarded to employees of EMA-member companies and their immediate family members who plan on "undertaking undergraduate and graduate study on a full-time basis." Those selected for the scholarships will receive up to $6,000 total, which will be issued on an annual basis. More details below:
The lead lobbyist for Comcast freely admits that he used the promise of a new low-cost internet service for poor people as leverage against the FCC when the company was seeking to merge with NBC Universal in 2009. The news comes from a Washington Post profile DC lobbyist David Cohen, who has led Comcast's policy and lobbying efforts in the capital for over a decade.
Last week we wrote a story about how the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) had named Stroz Friedberg to be its "impartial and independent technology expert" to review claims of copyright infringement as part of the new "Six Strikes" enforcement rules. The "Six Strikes" system was agreed upon by the MPAA, RIAA, and five major ISPs but one of the core tenets was that it would have an independent body to investigate the validity of claims of copyright infringement against file-sharers.
Longtime Internet trade group NetCoalition is slowly shutting down its advocacy and lobbying operations after a decade of services to the technology industry. The news comes from new termination reports during the recent lobbying quarter from the three major firms that conducted D.C. business for NetCoalition (TwinLogic Strategies, Jochum Shore & Trossevin PC and Moore Consulting). Those reports state that these groups will no longer be working for the group.
Next month the "Six Strikes" system to deal with online piracy and illegal file-sharing will be fully operational in the United States. The new rules - mutually agreed on by several major ISP's and trade groups representing intellectual property holders (the RIAA, and the MPAA) required that copyright infringement claims be investigated by an external company. This was one of the sticking points for ISPs and rightsholders seemed to happily comply.
The Entertainment Software Association of Canada announced that Jayson Hilchie is the new president and CEO of the lobbying group for the Canadian video game industry. Before taking on this new leadership role, Hilchie previously served in a similar role at Nova Scotia Business Inc., where he helped foster growth in that region's video game industry by aiding such studios as Longtail, Frontier Developments, and Radian6 establish offices in Halifax.
Fourteen of the country's most recognized tech companies have banded together to lobby Washington on tech issues with the formation of a new trade group called The Internet Association. Companies joining this new group include Amazon, AOL, eBay, Expedia, Facebook, Google, IAC, LinkedIn, Monster Worldwide, Rackspace, Salesforce, TripAdvisor, Yahoo, and Zynga. The group is being led by Michael Beckerman, whose previous job was former deputy staff director of the House Energy & Commerce Committee. MIA from the list were Apple and Microsoft.
Republican FCC commissioner Ajit Pai thinks that the Google Fiber in Kansas City is the cat's pajamas, calling it a model for other metropolitan areas to follow. He says the deal shows that "it is critically important that states and local communities adopt broadband-friendly policies when it comes to rights-of-way management."
Public documents unearthed by the Wall Street Journal reveal that social games maker and publisher Zynga spent right around $75,000 in lobbying fees to get its point across to lawmakers in Washington D.C. and Sacramento. So what is on the company's agenda? It wants online gambling legalized so that it can start offering players of its online social games real-world cash.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and the co-sponsors of his Cybersecurity Act of 2012 are not pleased with the conservative lobbying group the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and are firing back at the group for what they call "mischaracterizations" about the latest revisions to the bill. More specifically, Senator Lieberman is upset over a letter that the group sent to U.S. Senators urging them not to support the bill. The group opposes the further regulations the bill would put on U.S.
According to this BBC report Facebook, eBay, Google and Amazon have joined a new lobbying group that will push issues they deem important in Washington. The new lobbying group is called The Internet Association, and will open up shop in Washington D.C. in September. They will handle political and regulatory issues in the capital.
Speaking to TorrentFreak, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom alleges that Vice President Joe Biden ordered the Megaupload shutdown at the behest of former Connecticut Senator (D) and current Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) President Chris Dodd. He claims that he has information from a "reliable source" that the Megaupload case and the subsequent takedown of the file storage site was a "gift to Hollywood."
Most citizens probably think that letting a municipality or township run local broadband services would be a good idea. There's even some anecdotal evidence that having low-cost broadband in a major metropolitan city controlled by the local government keeps broadband costs down, which in turn entices businesses that use it to set up shop which leads to job creation and local commerce. But it also means that broadband companies lose out on market.
It's bad enough that Congress pushed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) through to a floor vote without much of a change to its original language or hearings from experts on what the impact of the bill would have on privacy, but this next story is downright infuriating to any citizen that believes we have a right to privacy and that the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution is a sacred right.
It looks like Netflix wants some representation in Washington D.C. and has taken steps to set up a political action committee (PAC) called "Flixpac." This will allow the Internet-based streaming entertainment company to give up to $5,000 to a candidate per election year and up to $15,000 to a political party annually.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is trying to extend an olive branch to the tech industry after taking a beating publicly over PIPA and SOPA. MPAA President Chris Dodd told an audience on Wednesday that Hollywood is "pro-technology and pro-Internet," but warned that the fight over piracy was far from over.