Law and Legal

New Yorker – Who Owns the Internet?

Who Owns the Internet? What Big Tech’s monopoly powers mean for our culture.
“…Today, just about everybody uses it for everything. Even as the Web has grown, however, it has narrowed. Google now controls nearly ninety per cent of search advertising, Facebook almost eighty per cent of mobile social traffic, and Amazon about seventy-five per cent of e-book sales. Such dominance, Jonathan Taplin argues, in “Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy” (Little, Brown), is essentially monopolistic. In his account, the new monopolies are even more powerful than the old ones, which tended to be limited to a single product or service. Carnegie, Taplin suggests, would have been envious of the reach of Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos.,,just about “every single tune in the world is available on YouTube as a simple audio file (most of them posted by users).” Many of these files are illegal, but to Google this is inconsequential. Under the Digital Media Copyright Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton shortly after Google went live, Internet service providers aren’t liable for copyright infringement as long as they “expeditiously” take down or block access to the material once they’re notified of a problem. Musicians are constantly filing “takedown” notices—in just the first twelve weeks of last year, Google received such notices for more than two hundred million links—but, often, after one link is taken down, the song goes right back up at another one…”

Categories: Law and Legal

US Role in the World: Background and Issues for Congress

CRS report via FAS – U.S. Role in the World: Background and Issues for Congress. Ronald O’Rourke, Specialist in Naval Affairs; Michael Moodie, Assistant Director and Senior Specialist in Foreign, Affairs, Defense and Trade. August 17, 2017.

“The overall U.S. role in the world since the end of World War II in 1945 (i.e., over the past 70 years) is generally described as one of global leadership and significant engagement in international affairs. A key aim of that role has been to promote and defend the open international order that the United States, with the support of its allies, created in the years after World War II.In addition to promoting and defending the open international order, the overall U.S. role is generally described as having been one of promoting freedom, democracy, and human rights, while criticizing and resisting authoritarianism where possible, and opposing the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia or a spheres-of-influence world. Certain statements and actions from the Trump Administration have led to uncertainty about the Administration’s intentions regarding the future U.S. role in the world. Based on those statements and actions, some observers have speculated that the Trump Administration may want to change the U.S. role in one or more ways. A change in the overall U.S. role could have profound implications for U.S. foreign policy, national security, and international economic policy, for Congress as an institution, and for many federal policies and programs. A major dimension of the debate over the U.S. role is whether the United States should attempt to continue playing the active internationalist role that it has played for the past 70 years, or instead adopt a more restrained role that reduces U.S. involvement in world affairs. A second dimension concerns how to balance or combine the pursuit of narrowly defined U.S. interests with the goal of defending and promoting U.S. values such as democracy, freedom, and human rights. A third dimension relates to the balance between the use of so-called hard power(primarily but not exclusively military combat power) and soft power (including diplomacy, development assistance, support for international organizations, education and cultural exchanges, and the international popularity of elements of U.S. culture such as music, movies, television shows, and literature) in U.S. foreign policy. An initial potential issue for Congress is to determine whether the Trump Administration wants to change the U.S. role, and if so, in what ways. A follow-on potential issue for Congress—arguably the central policy issue for this CRS report—is whether there should be a change in the U.S. role, and if so, what that change should be, including whether a given proposed change would be feasible or practical, and what consequences may result. An initial aspect of this issue concerns Congress: what should be Congress’s role, relative to that of the executive branch, in considering whether the U.S. role in the world should change, and if so, what that change should be? The Constitution vests Congress with several powers that can bear on the U.S. role in the world. Another potential issue for Congress is whether a change in the U.S. role would have any implications for the preservation and use of congressional powers and prerogatives relating to foreign policy, national security, and international economic policy. A related issue is whether a change in the U.S. role would have any implications for congressional organization, capacity, and operations relating to foreign policy, national security, and international economic policy. Policy and program areas that could be affected, perhaps substantially or even profoundly, by a changed U.S. role include the role of allies and alliances in U.S. foreign policy; the organization of, and funding levels and foreign policy priorities for, the Department of State and U.S. foreign assistance; U.S. trade and international economic policy; defense strategy and budgets; and policies and programs related to homeland security, border security, immigration, and refugees.”

Categories: Law and Legal

GPO and LC partner on release of digitized Congressional Record 1931-1940

“The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) partners with the Library of Congress to release the digital version of the bound Congressional Record from 1931-1940 on GPO’s govinfo. This release covers debates and proceedings of the 72nd thru the 76th Congresses. This era of Congress covers historical topics such as:

  • The Great Depression
  • The last two years of the Herbert Hoover Administration and the elections of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, 1936, and 1940
  • The 21st Amendment (ending Prohibition)
  • The New Deal (Emergency Banking Act, Civilian Conservation Corps, Tennessee Valley Authority Act, Glass-Steagall Act, National Industrial Recovery Act, Wagner Act, Social Security Act, Rural Electrification Act, etc.)
  • Senator Huey Long
  • FDR’s court-packing plan
  • The various Neutrality Acts, Lend Lease, and the beginning of World War II”
Categories: Law and Legal

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