3 Upcoming Events: Super-Sizing the FTC (4/16), FTC v. Google on AdMob (4/15) & Must-Carry (4/27)

by on April 13, 2010 · 2 comments

Friday, April 16: I’ll be moderating a PFF Capitol Hill briefing on Super-Sizing the FTC & What It Means for the Internet, Media & Advertising. My panel of FTC veterans and observers will discuss the growing powers of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). As I’ve mentioned here and here, financial reform legislation passed by the House and now pending in the Senate would give the FTC sweeping new powers to regulate not just Wall Street, but also unfair or deceptive trade practices across the economy. This could reshape regulation in a wide range of areas, such as privacy, cybersecurity, child safety, child nutrition, etc. The FTC has also asserted expanded authority to regulate “unfair” competition in its lawsuit against Intel. Register here for this 12-2 pm briefing in the Capitol Visitor Center!

Thursday, April 15: I’ll be participating in Capitol Hill briefing on Google’s proposed acquisition of AdMob, a leading in-app mobile ad network, which the FTC appears poised to challenge. (RSVP here.) Geoff Manne has probably done the best job debunking arguments against the deal but, sadly, couldn’t make the panel. ITIF’s Dan Castro will moderate a panel including (besides myself):

  • Simon Buckingham, who’s expressed concerns about the deal on his Appitalism blog and accused Google of leveraging Google’s desktop search dominance into the high-end mobile market”;
  • Lillie Coney of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), which never passes up an opportunity to denounce Google on privacy grounds;
  • Jonathan Kanter, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, who represented TradeComet.com in their antitrust suit against Google and has also represented Microsoft in the past; and
  • Glenn Manishin – Duane Morriss LLP, an antitrust lawyer who’s represented Google.

Tuesday, April 27: We just announced another PFF Briefing: Cable, Broadcast & the First Amendment: Will the Supreme Court End Must-Carry?, 10:00-11:45 a.m at Hogan & Hartson LLP (555 13th Street NW, Washington, DC).The panel, moderated by Adam Thierer, is an all-star cast representing all sides (cable, broadcast and programming) of the fight over the the FCC’s must-carry rules, which require cable television systems to dedicate some of their channels to local broadcast television stations. The Supreme Court narrowly upheld these “must-carry” rules in the mid-1990s. But last year’s DC Circuit decision striking down the FCC’s 30% cap on cable ownership lead Cablevision to challenge the must-carry rules. The Supreme Court will soon announce whether it will review the Second Circuit’s decision last June upholding the rules. The parties challenging must-carry make many of the arguments we made in PFF’s amicus brief calling for the DC Circuit to strike down the cable cap: Video distribution has become highly competitive, with satellite and telco fiber offerings competing for traditional video service and the Internet increasingly offering an alternative video programming distribution channel.

The importance of this case extends far beyond cable and broadcast regulation, since it concerns how the government deals with “gatekeepers” who supposedly exercise “bottleneck” power. If that sounds familiar, it’s because that’s the basic rationale behind all sorts of past and proposed regulation, from net neutrality to search neutrality, app neutrality and beyond, as Adam and I have noted.

Register for the event here.

  • Brett Glass

    Berin, could you possibly be confusing the FTC with the SEC? It's the SEC that regulates Wall Street.

    It is also worth noting that gatekeepers and monopolies with market power do exist. (Ironically, they are most often created BY government via regulatory capture, artificial barriers to entry, or preferential subsidies.) If one truly believes in free and competitive markets, one should also (IMHO) believe that it's appropriate to restore them when government has destroyed them or prevented them from developing, as has happened (just to name one example) in the case of the telecommunications services known as “special access.”

  • alcinasalls

    This agreement will be very helpful to America and even to this companies as they will be earning more then they were in this years. This could reshape regulation in a wide range of areas, such as privacy, cybersecurity, child safety, child nutrition, etc.

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