Tag Archives: FCC

Links We Love Weekly Round-Up — December 22, 2014


14 Things Your Should Watch, Read & Stream before 2015

This holiday season, it’s likely you’ll find yourself with a bit of downtime while traveling or visiting family. Below, the 99U staff compiled a list of our favorite movies, podcasts, and documentaries that offer new insights on creativity. Our picks allow you to kick back, while still providing inspiration for getting things done, so you can hit the new year refreshed.

FCC Hikes Rates to Fund Internet in Schools

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted Thursday to increase fees on phone users in order to boost funding for a program that provides Internet connections for schools and libraries.   The rule would increase the funding cap on the E-rate program by $1.5 billion, to a total of $3.9 billion per year.

25-Plus Predictions for the Legal Industry in 2015

Predictions about the future might appear to be difficult, but Niels Bohr, and perhaps three other influential people, might have been astonished to learn we have been fortunate to compile a long list of rather pragmatic predictions for the legal industry in 2015.

New Database Created by ABA Criminal Justice Section Charts State-by-State Conviction Restrictions

Got a client who is wondering what career repercussions and other restrictions will result from a criminal conviction?  A free database developed by the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section under the Court Security Improvement Act now provides the answer to that question, the ABA announcedTuesday.

Digital Archive Scavenger Hunt

Try your hand at Our State’s digital archive scavenger hunt for a chance to win a $25 gift card to the Our State Store.

Book Riot Readers Name the Best Books of 2014

Team Riot shared our great big list of favorite books of 2014 a few weeks ago, and now we get to reveal the results from our reader poll!

UNC Library Gets $25M Contract, Largest Ever from EPA

Thanks to a $25 million contract, the UNC School of Information and Library Science will continue to operate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Research Triangle Park Library for another five years.

The Secret of Eye Contact, Revealed

Who we look at, and for how long, can have far more impact than our words.

Finding the Motivation to Change Your Entire Life

Let’s look at how you find that motivation to finally start changing — and then to keep going when the changes inevitably get tough.

The Librarian of the Future

Who do you think “Librarians of the Future” are? How would they behave and what would they look like? In my imagination they are like a space hero, a Flash Gordon-like figure with almost magical cyber librarian skills nobody ever had heard of. But hold on – many of us practice such skills already…


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Links We Love Weekly Round-Up — September 29, 2014


Online Court Archive PACER Says It Will Restore Access to Missing Records

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (or AO) has a plan to restore online access to documents that were controversially removed in August from PACER, the online system for accessing public court records, a spokesperson said.

Why Libraries [Still] Matter

In a world suffused with so much transient information as to inspire epistemic paralysis, we acutely need libraries’ power, independence, and ethos: institutions conceived to fight on behalf of their patrons, which is to say for the public and for the preservation and intelligibility of the public record.

Younger Americans and Public Libraries

Younger Americans—those ages 16-29—especially fascinate researchers and organizations because of their advanced technology habits, their racial and ethnic diversity, their looser relationships to institutions such as political parties and organized religion, and the ways in which their social attitudes differ from their elders.  This report pulls together several years of research into the role of libraries in the lives of Americans and their communities with a special focus on Millennials, a key stakeholder group affecting the future of communities, libraries, book publishers and media makers of all kinds, as well as the tone of the broader culture.

Why Do People Who Love Libraries Love Libraries?

Why do people who love libraries love libraries? This has been on my mind a lot lately. Whenever I find a patron who is passionate about their library I try to decode those tangible and intangible qualities that made the experience so powerful for them.

Is Apple Picking a Fight with the U.S. Government?

Most of the coverage of iOS 8 focuses on visible features that users can interact with. But there’s one major change in iOS 8 that most users probably won’t notice unless they find themselves in a great deal of trouble. Specifically, Apple has radically improved the way that data on those devices is encrypted. Once users set a passcode, Apple will no longer be able to unlock your device—even if ordered to do so by a court.  While privacy advocates have praised Apple’s move, it has drawn fire from some notable legal scholars.

What Do I Wear to Court?  Courtroom Appearance and Decorum Standards

Periodically, we hear about news stories in which an attorney, a party in a legal case, or even a courtroom spectator, find themselves in hot water for not meeting certain courtroom attendance standards.  Apart from avoiding the wrath of judges, appearance can also apparently have an an effect on the outcome of a trial.  In fact, not only do attorneys strive to meet appearance standards, but also try to help their clients and witnesses to meet them as well.  These stories often lead to questions about how someone knows what can be considered “proper” courtroom attire, and whether there is any legal basis for such appearance standards.  Unfortunately, the answer to the latter question is not a simple one.

9 Steps for Engaging Your Top 20 Clients on Twitter

Social media is an excellent way for you to nurture relationships with your largest clients. But if you are like 99% of lawyers, you don’t do it.  Some of you have unfounded fears that engaging clients via social media could be unethical, some of you don’t know how to do it, and some of you lack the ambition to try.  Here are nine steps to engaging your top twenty clients via Twitter…

A Lolitigation Lament: Nabokov on Censorship and Solidarity

Vladimir Nabokov was a man of strong opinions — whether about the necessary qualities of a great storyteller or the nature of inspiration or the attributes of a good reader — but nowhere more so than when it came to defending his greatest work against censorship.

The Heartbreaking Cruelty of Comparing Yourself to Others

We all do it: we look at what others are doing and wish we were doing that too.  Or, alternatively, we scoff at what they’re doing and judge them, and see ourselves as better.  One makes us feel bad, the other makes us feel superior.  Neither makes us happy.

3.7 Million Comments Later, Here’s Where Net Neutrality Stands

The window for the public to weigh in on how federal rule-makers should treat Internet traffic is closed, after a record 3.7 millioncomments arrived at the FCC. The Sunlight Foundation analyzedthe first 800,000 and found that fewer than 1 percent were opposed to net neutrality enforcement.

What Were the Best Legal Novels of 2013? [podcast]

This month, we wanted to give our readers a look at some of the legal novels which either came out in 2013, or were honored with awards in 2013.

Charlotte’s Thomas Polk Saved the Liberty Bell, 1777

On September 24, 1777, Mecklenburg County resident Thomas Polk arrived safely in Allenton, Pa., after escorting the Liberty Bell there from Philadelphia.

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Net Neutrality or a Two-Tiered Internet?

What is net neutrality and what are the issues?

Law professor Tim Wu coined the phrase “net neutrality” in a 2003 law review article.   While net neutrality has a number of complex implications, the main idea here is that the Internet is an impartial conduit for information and that all traffic on the Internet would be equal.  That concept seems pretty straightforward. However, net neutrality is a complex, important concept to understand.


Tim Wu (Open Rights Group)

Since the world moved from dial-up to broadband, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has worked to keep the Internet open and neutral. However, on January 4th, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the FCC’s “Open Internet” rules in Verizon v. FCC. Basically, the court stated that the FCC does not have the authority to impose its net neutrality rules on Internet service providers (ISPs).

“Even though the Commission has general authority to regulate in this arena, it may not impose requirements that contravene express statutory mandates. Given that the Commission has chosen to classify broadband providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers, the Communications Act expressly prohibits the Commission from nonetheless regulating them as such.”

As a result of this decision, there is a grey area that allows Comcast or Verizon to charge extra to have content from certain providers like Netflix streamed more quickly or give preference to their business partners.

Founding Principle. The Internet was founded on the principle of net neutrality. As Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who created the World Wide Web, has said, “Being able to connect freely and equally to the Internet is the fundamental social basis of the Internet, and, now the society is based on it” (Scola, 2014). We take for granted that we as a members of our society, we can access the information we want just like everyone else.

Consumerism. The Consumers Union has been vocal in the debate on net neutrality. They believe that the new FCC rules while prohibiting Internet service providers from blocking traffic, would allow ISPs to charge online providers like Amazon, Google, or Netflix a fee for preferred access to customers. Delara Derakhshani, Policy Counsel for Consumers Union, stated that this Internet fast lane “could create a tiered Internet where consumers either pay more for content and speed, or get left behind with fewer choices” (“Internet,” 2014). Conceivably, content providers could give preferential treatment to online sites that pay them the most.

Innovation. American Libraries Association (ALA) President Barbara Stripling argues that having to pay for faster, efficient access would dissuade entrepreneurs from experimenting. Websites of small businesses and nonprofits would be out of the mainstream and all those start-ups would never make it out of their garages. Stripling has stated, “Many of the innovative services we use today were create by entrepreneurs who had a fair chance to compete for web traffic. By enabling the Internet service providers to limit access, we are essentially saying that only the privileged can continue to innovate” (Miller, 2014). While limiting access would not be the end of the Internet, we could lose the creativity that has resulted in current advances.

Intellectual Freedom. The ALA’s policy statement on the issue of net neutrality is based on the value of intellectual freedom. Intellectual freedom is one of the ethical principles of the profession and is included in the Code of Ethics of the American Library Association. Intellectual freedom is the “right of all peoples to seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction.”  The Internet allows everyone to inform themselves and others. Without net neutrality, information could be more restricted.

Digital Divide. In April, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) held a hearing to focus on the role of libraries in providing Internet Services. The IMLS is charged with advising the president and Congress in such matters. The hearings highlighted the fact that the digital divide continues to grow in this country. A Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project report in 2013 states that while 70% of Americans have broadband access; 88% of households with incomes over $75,000 have broadband. Only 54% of households with an annual income of less than $30,000 have broadband. Furthermore, the Pew study found 63 million Americans do not have either a broadband connection or a smartphone.

Access.  Public libraries, not only worried about having to negotiate with ISPs over potentially high rates for patrons to have access to the library’s resources, are also concerned about the broader issue of protecting the equitable use of the Internet for the “common good.” 77 million people use the public library for Internet access each year (“ALA Responds,” 2014). According IMLS President Susan Hildreth, 60% of American libraries offer the only free computer Internet access in their communities and only 9% of those have high capacity connections (Herther, 2014). Furthermore, Internet service providers will not have any business incentive to run fiber optic cable to small towns; and without fiber optic cable, there is no broadband access. Without a policy of net neutrality, these numbers will only go down.

Some organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have gone so far as to warn that ISPs could conceivably slow down the websites of political parties and other organizations with which the ISPs’ executives disagree.

A Solution. Kathleen Ann Ruane in a report for the Congressional Research Service suggests a solution for the FCC that would enable the Commission to continue its advocacy of net neutrality. According to the Verizon ruling, the FCC does have the authority to issue rules; however, because Internet service providers are classified as information services rather than telecommunication services, the net neutrality rules concerning anti-blocking and anti-discrimination were thrown out. A reclassification of broadband Internet service providers would seem to be a logical solution for the FCC and others advocating for net neutrality.

Net neutrality is complex and important issue.  After reading about the issues, there are still other underlying questions such as: how do you allocate scarce resources (bandwidth) in a free market economy? Traditionally that would be regulated by price. So then the question becomes who pays and how much? This blog only touches the surface.

Still confused?

John Oliver describes net neutrality as the most boring important issue. His humorous You Tube video (13:17) is worth watching. He gives a not-so-boring explanation.

What Can We Do?

Activists protest against proposed new net neutrality rules outside Federal Communications Commission in May. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Activists protest against proposed new net neutrality rules outside Federal Communications Commission in May. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Or we could….

Email comments to the FCC at openinternet@fcc.gov. The FCC has established a new inbox to accept comments through the summer. Chairman Wheeler plans to have new rules in place before the end of the year.

An Addendum

On Thursday, July 10, 2014, 11 higher education and library groups issued a set of 11 principles regarding net neutrality meant for the FCC to consider in its rule making. The principles can be found at http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/EPO1305_1.pdf

Want to read more?

  • American Library Association. (2014, March/April). ALA responds to net neutrality decision. American Libraries Magazine, 45(3/4), 10.
  • Chant, I. (2014, February 15). Court strikes down net neutrality. Library Journal, 139(3), 12-14.
  • Delta, G.B. & Matsuura, J. H. (2014).  Regulation of Access, Interoperability, and Services.
  • In Law of the internet.  St. Paul, MN:  Thomson/West.
  • Heller, M. (2014, June 23). What should academic librarians know about net neutrality? [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://acrl.ala.org/techconnect/?p=4396
  • Herther, N. K. (2014, June).  FCC and IMLS update focus. Information Today, 31(5), 1-35.
  • Internet rules could put you in the slow lane. (2014, July). Consumer Reports, 79(7), 10.
  • Miller, R.T. (2014). A commons at risk. Library Journal, 139(3), 8.
  • Scola, N. (2014, June 12). Five myths about net neutrality. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/five-myths-about-net-neutrality/2014/06/12/ff58ad7c-ec06-11e3-93d2-edd4be1f5d9e_story.html

~Betty Thomas~


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Links We Love Weekly Round-Up — May 19, 2014


Famous Trials

An interactive site highlighting major famous trials, created by Douglas O. Linder from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Law.

FCC’s Net Neutrality Vote: What to Watch For

The Federal Communications Commission Thursday will consider rules that govern how broadband companies treat Internet traffic. The latest draft of the proposal by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler would prevent broadband providers from blocking or slowing down the delivery of certain content to consumers. But it would also allow the companies to strike deals with content companies for preferential treatment, sometimes called a fast lane. The plan has sparked a lot of debate in the Internet and policy communities, both from people who say the rules are not needed at all, to those who say they’re not strong enough…

 High-Ho, The Derry-O, The Farmer and the Drone

There was a near-miss in the skies above Tallahassee recently. According to a Federal Aviation Administration official, an American Airlines regional jet nearly collided with a “small, remotely piloted aircraft” — a drone — cruising 2,300-feet above sea level.  Exactly who was flying the unmanned aircraft remains unknown, but drones are becoming increasingly common in U.S. skies. This week in North Dakota, the FAA began allowing tests of drones for agricultural purposes.

EpiCentre Sold to California Real Estate Group for $130.5 Million

The EpiCentre entertainment complex in uptown Charlotte has been sold to a California-based real estate group for $130.5 million.  CIM Group, a Los Angeles firm that also owns the BB&T Center office tower at 200 S. College St., issued a statement to the Observer Tuesday saying that it “is pleased to acquire this property and continue investing in Charlotte.”

 Department of Health and Human Services Threatens Blogger Over Satirical Posts

The blog Addiction Myth is devoted to a very out-of-the-mainstream proposition about medicine: that the entire concept of drug and alcohol addiction is a scam perpetrated by law enforcement, rehab groups, and the entertainment industry. By contrast, the United States Department of Health and Human Services is devoted to mainstream medical and scientific propositions. It is perhaps inevitable that these two worldviews would conflict one day.  But it was not inevitable that HHS’s Office of General Counsel would bumptiously threaten Addiction Myth over obviously satirical posts. That, given minimal good sense, could have been avoided.

National High School Mock Trial Zombiepocalypse Begins

The case involves this fictional scenario: The owner of an energy drink business winds up dead after an evening with friends at a zombie run. The man’s business partner is found not guilty in a criminal court, but the dead man’s estate pursues a civil claim against the partner.

On Remand: ‘Seinfeld Lawsuits from the Bizarro World We Live In’

On today’s date in 1998, the series finale of “Seinfeld” aired to an estimated 76 million viewers. “Seinfeld” lasted nine seasons, ranking in the top three of the Nielsen ratings for its last five, and is widely considered one of the greatest television shows of all time. Its success continues in syndication. Post-finale, “Seinfeld” has generated $3.1 billion in revenues for its creators and rights holders. This week, On Remand looks back at the show about everything, a lawsuit about the origin of the character George Costanza, and cases that echo “Seinfeld” plots….

Posting Your Blog Posts to Facebook?

Can you share business insight and commentary on Facebook? Should you?  I intend to find out.

The Original Cartoon Canon of Cat Memes: Legendary British Artist Ronald Searle’s 1960s Drawings

Ronald Searle was not only one of the greatest satirical cartoonists of the 20th century, but also a man of extraordinary sensitivity who, when his wife was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer, made for her the most moving love letter imaginable, which helped her persevere. But Searle’s sensitivity extended beyond his closest human, beyond humans in general, and into the animal world — he was an extraordinary cat aficionado, as evidenced by his contributions to the terrific Big New Yorker Book of Cats, and created the feline counterpart to Ralph Steadman’s delightful dog drawings.

WestlawNext — iPad App Redesign for iOS 7

WestlawNext was already one of the best legal apps for the iPad, and this latest update makes the app even better.

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Links We Love Weekly Round-Up — March 10, 2014


Happiness Brings Wealth

Economists, (or at least some of them because as we know they can never agree with each other) seem to have lost one faith and gained another. The old faith was that money brought happiness. The new one is that happiness brings money.

FCC Takes Another Swing at Net Neutrality while Netflix Agrees to Pay for Faster Streaming

In the wake of a January court ruling that struck down the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) standards for ensuring that Internet traffic is delivered without bias—a standard industry watchers refer to as ‘net neutrality’—the agency has issued a new proposal outlining a set of rules that would ensure Internet users have equal access to the full content of the Internet. Some experts, though, don’t think these new rules will be any more enforceable than those overturned earlier this year.

Driver’s Licensing in 1935: A Response to Highway Fatalities

On February 28, 1935, the General Assembly passed the Uniform Driver’s License Act, placing in the pockets of authorized drivers the state’s official sanction for  putting them behind the wheel. The bill, sponsored by Senator Carroll Weathers of Wake County, was a response to the fact that more than 1,000 deaths had occurred on the state’s highways since the rise of the automobile 30 years earlier.

Mecklenburg May Not Pay Final $1 Million to Whitewater Center

Mecklenburg County is considering not paying a final $1 million installment to the U.S. National Whitewater Center as part of a seven-year, multiple-government subsidy to help fund the 400-acre park.

Immigration Law in the Age of Marijuana Decriminalization

In a recent New Yorker interview, President Obama described marijuana use as a “bad habit and a vice, not very different from. . . cigarettes,” and not more dangerous than drinking. The President expressed concern with the disproportionate rates of criminal punishment for marijuana use in poor and minority communities, and spoke favorably of recent efforts to legalize small amounts of the drug in the states of Colorado and Washington.

This Month in ProfHacker: Daily Writing and Synchronous Online Teaching

This is a guest post by George Williams and Jason B. Jones, the co-editors of ProfHacker, the blog about teaching, technology, and productivity in higher education currently hosted at The Chronicle. Today’s post is the first of an ongoing, monthly series in which we’ll collect some of ProfHacker’s most helpful posts and ProfHacker will, in turn, highlight what we’ve been up to here at Vitae. We’re big ProfHacker fans, and we’d encourage you to stop by there regularly if you’re not doing so already.

The No. 1 Time Management Mistake Capable People Make

Why do otherwise intelligent people find it so easy to be distracted from what really matters?

Lawyers Look to Unionize at Bloomberg Law

The efforts of Tom McGlaughlin and his colleagues may immediately impact only Bloomberg Law, but breaking the long-standing taboo lawyers have against organized labor could revolutionize the contract attorney industry that’s rapidly becoming the home to lawyers young and old.

Union County Unveils New Superhero Library Card

It’s not your typical mild-mannered library card.  In fact, the new Union County Public Library card that was unveiled over the weekend is meant to seem “super.” It features two cartoon superheroes on it drawn by local artist Al Bigley, who has worked for DC Comics, Disney and Marvel Comics, among others.

 SCOTUS on YouTube: Now, How about Real Cameras?

Surreptitiously recorded videos of Supreme Court proceedings that surfaced on YouTube last week aren’t much of a viewing experience… Yet, despite its intrinsic lack of interest, the video has created a frisson among court watchers and in the general public because it represents a flouting of a Washington taboo: the court’s ban on TV cameras.

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