Rapidly changing computing-and-communication technologies are buckling old regulatory frameworks. This course provides a legal, technological, and policy introduction to these extraordinary changes and the critical issues facing our communications environment. Concepts to be discussed include:
• power (technological, market, and legal);
• entry (scarcity, natural monopoly, common carriage, zoning);
• pricing (setting and challenging prices; subsidizing services);
• bad content (indecency, violence, defamation, intermediary liability);
• good content (broadcast deregulation, educational and noncommercial programming, must carry);
• consolidation (media consolidation, affirmative action);
• access (broadcast networks, interconnection, leased access, network neutrality); and
• classification (ancillary jurisdiction, classification of broadband Internet, VoIP, and IPTV).
These concepts will be applied to various communication industries, including: broadcast, cable, telephony (wireline and wireless), satellite, and the Internet. This course will not, however, cover intellectual property. Prior study of the First Amendment, administrative law, antitrust law, and familiarity with communication technologies are helpful but not necessary.
This class is strongly recommended for those interested in communications law, cyber law, and entertainment/media law. Class is taught Socratically, so students should be expected to be called on daily. (Grades will be based on class participation and an in-class, open book exam).