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Intellectual Property Law

: IP Democracy

Obama, Clinton and McCain Proxies Speak at NCTA

By Cynthia Brumfield

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(New Orleans, LA) None of the three presidential candidates could make his or her way to the NCTA show here. But all three had proxies in the form of former FCC Commissioners and Chairmen who offered the contenders' views on various communications policy issues during a lunch panel.

Former FCC Chairman Bill Kennard spoke on behalf of Barack Obama, while former Commissioner Susan Ness represented Hillary Clinton. Another former FCC Chairman, Michael Powell, offered John McCain's views.

When it comes to picking new FCC Commissioners, Barack Obama would be "looking to populating the FCC with people him," Kennard said, "people who care about government, are averse to PACs and don't come with patrons or allegiances." Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, would look for "folks who have the technical competence," Ness said.

McCain wants people at the FCC who are "insulated from the political process," according to Powell. Powell was pointedly critical of the increased politicization at the Commission. In a barely disguised slap at current FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, Powell said that "I think there has been increasing emphasis on converting the FCC process into a political one and it has not been healthy for the process."

All three candidates would like to see policies that spur more widespread deployment of broadband to underserved areas, although as the sole Republican among the group, Powell warned that the feds wouldn't dole out the money to make this happen. "We are not that optimistic that a huge check will be written by the federal government to pay for that infrastructure," he said.

Both Kennard and Ness said that their respective candidates, Barack and Clinton, support the concept of net neutrality, even though both candidates worry about how pragmatic net neutrality regulation really is. Powell, of course, said that "Congress ought to leave their pen in their pocket" and refuse to sign any new laws mandating net neutrality.

Full post as published by IP Democracy on May 19, 2008 (boomark / email).

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