Published by LawTechie - October 11, 2011 - LawTechie

internet business lawyerA judicial panel has decided to consolidate several nation-wide challenges to the FCC’s new net neutrality rules in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Net Neutrality advocates are concerned about the venue because the DC Court last year ruled that the FCC does not have statutory authority to regulate the internet. Adweek reports:

“If you’re a telecom company, you were hoping for D.C.,” says Scott Flick, a partner with D.C.-based law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman who deals with regulatory issues before the FCC.

Indeed, this is the outcome Verizon was hoping for when it filed its challenge, and with good reason. Lawyers in the field who spoke with Adweek think the venue will give Verizon an edge, as it will try to argue that this case is just a repeat of last year’s decision.

From a law and economics perspective, it is not entirely understandable why advocates feel that the time is ripe for net neutrality rules. Most agree that the rules simply preserve the current status quo by prohibiting ISPs from agreeing to prioritize content for companies who pay extra (which is something they do not do now anyway).

Editor’s Note: As advocates for internet-based companies, we should probably side with the pro-Net Neutrality crowd, but right now it seems like this regulation is a preemptive knee-jerk reaction and we are not convinced that the overall affect of this regulation will be good for our e-commerce clients. Passing regulation before it is actually needed is… well… needless regulation.

LawTechie is a blog focusing on trends in tech and digital media. Areas covered include intellectual property, cyberlaw, venture capital, transactions and litigation as they relate to the emerging sectors. The blog is edited by the firm's partner Tim Bukher with contributions from the firm's experts in their respective areas of law.

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