End Discriminatory Wireless Taxes!

Taxes on cell phone and wireless services have skyrocketed to fund state budgets and federal subsidy programs. Today, the average consumer pays a whopping 17 percent in taxes on their wireless bill. Write your member of Congress and call for a tax time-out.

The Economic Imperative for Strong IP Protections

Today, the World Intellectual Property Organization holds its’ meeting on patent law. Recently, Digital Liberty joined a coalition of 85 free market think tanks, advocacy groups, and organizations, spanning 51 nations around the world, in submitting guidelines on intellectual property rights, to Dr. Francis Gurry the Director of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). 

One key factor highlighted by the guidelines is the indisputable relationship between strong IP laws and economic competitiveness.

Property rights are the cornerstone of free market enterprise. Clear rules of ownership are essential to the ability of individuals to engage in just and unadulterated trade. Intellectual property rights are chief among these fundamental building blocks of our Capitalist system. The property of the artists, inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs who drive our economy forward, must be secure, in order for the market to judge the relative values of the goods they produce. When IP rights are not secure, the relationship between buyers and sellers is obscured, and the economy suffers. This is not just sound logic, it is a demonstrable fact.

Digital Liberty Joins Global Coalition in Submitting Intellectual Property Rights Guidelines

Ahead of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s July 27th meeting on patent law, Digital Liberty joined a coalition of 85 free market think tanks, advocacy groups, and organizations, spanning 51 nations around the world, in submitting guidelines on intellectual property rights, to Dr. Francis Gurry the Director of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). These guidelines express the tenants our organizations believe must be preserved in any international intellectual property rights agreement.

The right to property and a government’s responsibility to protect this right, is one of the fundamental doctrines of our society. The combination of an expanding global economy and the Internet, a medium that is inherently shared and open, presents a unique and troublesome environment for the maintenance of this founding principal. Although both the global economy and Internet can threaten intellectual property rights, all economies rely upon IP for the success of a growing digital economy. 

Today’s new technologies, revolutionary methods for collaboration, and exploding fields of innovation, will be wasted if the work of the individuals who use them is not properly protected. The mark of a great society, and often its success, is determined by how well it preserves the rights of the artists, inventors, and entrepreneurs who drive the world forward. The coalition’s guidelines articulate the key principals necessary for this protection.  

To read the International Intellectual Property Rights Guidelines click here.

FCC Floats Unexpected Incentive Auction Proposal

As the landmark FCC Incentive Auction creeps ever closer, the Commission continues to struggle with the many niceties that will have profound and quasi-unpredictable effects on the future of American broadband.

A recent FCC staff proposal, regarding the approach to TV broadcaster relocation, caused a swift reaction. The proposal, if adopted, would relocate certain television broadcasters within the duplex gap to create more unlicensed spectrum space in certain major markets.

A coalition of broadcasters, newscasters, utility providers, consumer advocates, technology companies, and rural wireless broadband providers submitted a letter opposing this new proposal.

Join Digital Liberty in Fighting to Pass the Email Privacy Act

The Judiciary Committee is finally acknowledging the Email Privacy Act.  Right now, law enforcement can access your email without your knowledge.  The Email Privacy Act requires Law enforcement get a warrant, the same as they need to access physical mail or files. Period.  

However, the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking for an exemption for all civil investigative agencies – that includes not just the SEC, but also the Federal Elections Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Trade Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the list goes on…

An Amendment to the Email Privacy Act exempting civil agencies would not only destroys the Fourth Amendment protections the bill is designed to recover, but also grant untold new powers to the Obama Administration.

Although the legislation has been circling D.C. for nearly 5 years, Congress has been hesitant to act on it, for fear the political ramifications outweigh the benefits. It is time to change that equation. We must show our elected officials that we care about the passage of the Email Privacy Act and will no longer tolerate the deprivation of our rights for the appeasement of law enforcement agencies.

 The American people must insist that Congress end digital privacy discrimination!

Please sign our petition and help us force Congress to return the privacy they have stolen, the privacy guaranteed by the founders of our nation, the privacy essential to America’s future.

Tell House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte to pass the bill out of Committee as is. No amendments. No carve-outs for civil agencies.  No power give-aways to the Obama Administration.

Click Here to Sign the Petition!

ECPA Reformers Say They Have The Most Popular Bill

FIRST IN MT: ECPA REFORMERS SAY THEY HAVE MOST POPULAR BILL — There’s no bill yet to see House actions with more cosponsors than the one from Reps. Kevin Yoder and Jared Polis to update the nation’s email privacy laws, reform proponents are telling House leadership in a new letter. “there is an extraordinary consensus around ECPA reform — one unmatched by any other technology and privacy issue,” the Digital 4th Coalition writes. Read it here: http://bit.ly/1J8N1C0 

The Future of Internet Governance

On May 13th, the Subcommittee on Electronics and Technology of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing to discuss the future of internet governance.  IANA’s current contract gives stewardship to the United States via the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).  Come September, the US government may concede control of IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority), over to ICANN (an acronym standing for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a California-based nonprofit).  

Proposed Internet Sales Tax Bill Threatens Return of Taxation Without Representation

With the introduction of the Remote Transactions Parity Act (RTPA) Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) continues the war on Internet freedom. Digital Liberty strongly opposes this piece of legislation, and has joined a coalition consisting of leading internet freedom advocates to fight RTPA. The coalition has penned an open letter to the U.S. House of Representatives explaining the gross injustice of the proposed legislation.

Katie McAuliffe, Executive Director of Digital Liberty, released this statement regarding the bill:

Forcing unfair taxes on groups that have no recourse through the ballot office, allows politicians to keep their constituents happy at the cost of others. Internet retail, with its naturally complex web of interactions between physical locations, provides an ideal pathway for justifying this age-old attack on Federalism. Our policy needs to be directed at preserving the physical presence standard that has dictated taxation nexus for the entirety of our nation’s history. This bill moves in the exact opposite direction, and embodies the very tax policy that our nation must avoid, if we wish to remain true to our founding principle of no taxation without representation.”

RTPA cannot pass, and we encourage our readers to contact their representative to ensure this bill does not desecrate American Federalism.

DOTCOM Act Breezes Through Committee

Washington, D.C. - Recently the House Energy and Commerce committee approved the Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters (DOTCOM) Act, H.R. 805, by voice vote. The bill, introduced by Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) with strong support from the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee Fred Upton (R-Mich.), enjoys immense bipartisan support, and has been lauded as a prudent and necessary step for examining the IANA transition.

Mr. Shimkus (R-Ill.) released this statement highlighting the necessity of this bill:

The DOTCOM Act is our best way forward to ensure Congress can exercise a meaningful and appropriate oversight role in the IANA stewardship transition. This is an important moment for the Internet but there’s no moving back into mom and dad’s basement if it doesn’t work out. We only have one chance to get this right.

Echoing Mr. Shimkus’ sentiment, Rep. Pallone (D-N.J.) had this to say:

The DOTCOM Act continues the long-standing congressional support for the global, open Internet while appropriately conduction oversight of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. I believe our bill provides the necessary safeguards for the timely transition of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority.

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) was established by the United States as a means of regulating domain names on the Internet. Since its inception in 1988 IANA has maintained a contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce. The United States government has elected to relinquish this contract in favor of a multi-stakeholder model for oversight of IANA and the company it regulates, ICANN.