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AT&T Open to Ban on 'Fast Lanes' AT&T Open to Ban on 'Fast Lanes'

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AT&T Open to Ban on 'Fast Lanes'

By Laura Ryan (@NJLJRyan), with help from Alex Brown (@AlexBrownNJ), Brendan Sasso (@BrendanSasso), and Dustin Volz (@dnvolz)

TODAY'S TOP PARAGRAPH: More than 1 million people have now weighed in on the FCC's net-neutrality proposal. One of those comments was from AT&T, which said it wouldn't oppose a ban on paid prioritization. Meanwhile, the Copyright Office said it doesn't think Aereo is a cable company.



AT&T THINKS FCC CAN BAN FAST LANES WITHOUT TITLE II: AT&T broke from its peers in its net-neutrality comments and outlined a way for the FCC to ban paid prioritization without resorting to Title II reclassification. In a 95-page filing Thursday, AT&T said Section 706 gives the commission "ample authority" to get rid of paid prioritization outright or to adopt stronger transparency, no-blocking, and nondiscrimination rules that would effectively offset any "perceived threat" of paid prioritization.

The mobile carrier also came down hard on Title II reclassification, saying their is no "valid legal rationale" or "rational policy justification" to merit "heavy-handed regulation."

AT&T's proposed solution must be a tempting option for FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler because he could avoid the wrath of the cable companies while appeasing the public outrage over fast lanes. But whether a ban on paid prioritization through Section 706 will stand up in court is another question.


COPYRIGHT OFFICE DOESN'T BUY AEREO'S CLAIM: The U.S. Copyright Office said Thursday it doesn't believe that Aereo is a cable system. But the office "provisionally" accepted Aereo's filing as its case continues in court.

In its decision ruling Aereo illegal earlier this year, the Supreme Court noted that the service is similar to a cable system. The site is now trying to gain status as a cable company under copyright law so it can get a compulsory license to broadcast TV content.

The Copyright Office's decision is a blow to Aereo's new legal gambit, but it doesn't necessarily mean the court will agree.

GOODLATTE TO SENATE: INACTION ON PATENT REFORM IS 'INEXCUSABLE' Reps. Bob Goodlatte and Anna Eshoo, along with 15 other cosponsors of the House-passed Innovation Act, sent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Patrick Leahy a letter Thursday asking for swift passage of their patent-reform bill, which cleared the lower chamber by a wide margin late last year.


Patent watchers will remember that the Innovation Act crumbled in May in the Senate Judiciary Committee, just as tenuous negotiations over some of the bill's more controversial provisions appeared to finally coming together. Reid, under pressure from trial lawyers and other stakeholders, has been blamed by Republicans and Democrats—Leahy included—for refusing to give the bill a chance on the floor.

Despite the new letter, there's been no indication that Reid's calculus has changed. Meanwhile, it remains unclear when Rep. Lee Terry's narrower patent-reform offering, the TROL Act, will get a full vote in the Energy and Commerce Committee.


HEARING ANNOUNCEMENT: The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on three bills next Thursday at 10:15 a.m: a bill that would allow electronic devices to provide labeling information digitally, a proposal to extend the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009, and a bill that aims to protect Low Power TV stations in the 2015 incentive auction.

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ONE CONGRESSMAN'S PLAN TO STOP KILLER ROBOTS: Rep. Jim McGovern wants an international ban on autonomous warriors, and he's trying to raise awareness on Capitol Hill. (Brown, NJ)

GOOGLE SALES CHIEF HEADS TO SOFTBANK: Nikesh Arora will head Softbank's Internet and media operations, while serving as VP of the company overall. (Reuters)

CONSUMERS NOT YET SOLD ON 'IPHONES ON WHEELS': Apple and Google are rolling out in-car operating systems, but consumers aren't downloading apps or keeping up with social media on the dashboard. (Mark Scott, NYT)

SNOWDEN: NSA EMPLOYEES ARE PASSING AROUND NUDE PHOTOS: He says the fraternizing behavior is "routine enough, depending on the company you keep." (Volz)

ILLEGAL DRONE AT A CONGRESSIONAL WEDDING? Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney's wedding photographer used a drone to capture his marriage to his partner; commercial drones are illegal, and the FAA is looking into the incident. (Philip Bump, WaPo)

FINNS TAKE A BLOW IN MICROSOFT CUTS: Nearly 12,500 of the 18,000 jobs Microsoft is cutting come from groups related to Finland-based Nokia—more than 1,000 of the layoffs will be Finnish workers. (Mark Scott, NYT)

MICROSOFT CUTS PLANS FOR ORIGINAL SHOWS: The company is shutting down Xbox Entertainment Studios, which included several original film projects. (Ronald Grover/Lisa Richwine, Reuters)

COMCAST'S LOSING BATTLE: The TV and Internet giant says it's not the bad guy. (Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica)

E.U. TO HOST GOOGLE, MICROSOFT 'RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN' DISCUSSION: Next week's meeting could center on E.U. concerns that Google is notifying websites when it removes their links. (Sam Schechner/Lisa Fleisher, WSJ)

NEW YORKER CARTOON'S TAKE ON FCC DEBACLE: "We're a government agency—our computers can't handle comments." (Farley Katz, New Yorker)

NEW YORK IMPOSES STRICT BITCOIN RULES: New York released a draft of its new bitcoin regulations, and the're tough. (Robert McMillan, Wired)


  • The Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee will hold a briefing on the economic impact to U.S. companies of the NSA leaks at noon.

  • The Federal Communications Bar Association will hold a brown bag lunch discussion of the FCC Enforcement Bureau's current priorities at 12:15 p.m.


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I read the Tech Edge every morning."

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