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OpenMarket: Media, Speech and Internet Freedom

  • FCC Cannot Rewrite Federal Law to Regulate the Internet

    June 16, 2016

    By upholding the entirety of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Open Internet Order, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has sanctioned the FCC’s miraculous multiplication of communications networks. Where once there was one network, the Commission and Court have discovered two....
  • Congress Must Rein in FCC on Net Neutrality

    June 15, 2016

  • "Open Internet" Ruling Will Encourage ISPs to Block Content

    June 15, 2016

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) “Open Internet Order” which purports to implement “net neutrality” principles which that will force Internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all data equally. Despite its...
  • Permanent Moratorium on Internet Taxation in Customs Bill

    February 11, 2016

    Today the Senate voted 75-20 in favor of the conference report accompanying H.R. 644, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, the so-called customs bill.

    While the majority of the bill deals with customs duties and procedures, there are some notable provisions in the conference report that won support. Chief among these is a permanent moratorium on Internet taxation, replacing temporary holds on states and localities taxing Internet access or placing multiple and discriminatory taxes on Internet commerce. That’s good news for consumers, who increasingly are purchasing goods and services on internet sites.

    A House amendment to H.R.644 specifically amends the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act (the Trade Promotion Authority Act) by ensuring that...

  • PITFA a Poor Hostage for Internet Sales Taxes

    February 9, 2016

    Despite the premise of many a political cartoon, U.S. senators aren’t stupid. But a few of them are hoping to bamboozle at least 60 of their colleagues into voting to strip the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (PITFA) out of new customs legislation, the conference version of The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act

    The House has already passed PITFA and it would permanently ban unpopular discriminatory taxes on Internet commerce and access being pursued by multiple state legislatures. The original ban has been extended with bipartisan support many times since its inception in 1998. It protects consumers from new and, if telecommunication taxes are any indication, typically high taxes related to accessing the Internet. Its permanence would be a boon for Internet users, innovators, and investors. On its merits, it’s hard to argue against PITFA.

    But as any...

  • Net Neutrality Questions FCC Commissioners Need to Answer

    November 16, 2015

    In a House Energy & Commerce Committee oversight hearing on Tuesday, November 17, all five Federal Communications Commissioners will testify. Net neutrality, the FCC’s broad push to control both the infrastructure ...
  • What Will a Chaffetz Speakership Mean for Internet Freedom? Part 2

    October 8, 2015

    Utah Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz recently threw his hat in the ring in a bid to replace Speaker John Boehner, after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) gaffe regarding the Benghazi investigation made the race far more open. As my colleague Jessica Melugin notes, Chaffetz considers himself one of the more tech-savvy members of Congress and a strong defender of the Tenth Amendment.

    Yet, Chaffetz has ...

  • What Will a Chaffetz Speakership Mean for Internet Freedom?

    October 8, 2015

    With House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) gaffe regarding the Benghazi investigation, the race to replace outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) appears much more open. Days later, Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz seized the opportunity to announce his own bid for the Speaker’s gavel. The second-term congressman considers himself one of the more tech-savvy members of Congress, but how might a Chaffetz Speakership affect Internet freedom?

  • Marketplace Fairness Act Is More about Tax Revenue and Rent-Seeking than Fairness

    March 11, 2015

    Yesterday, Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wy.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) reintroduced the speciously named Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) in the 114th Congress. The legislation would authorize state tax collectors to reach across borders and tax out-of-state businesses, therein subjecting online retailers to taxation without representation.

    Certainly, there are inequities in the way remote sales are taxed, but the MFA’s approach is a cure worse than the disease. It would unfairly burden remote retailers by forcing them to calculate for approximately 10,000 distinct tax jurisdictions—each with their own rates, definitions and tax exemptions—while leaving brick and mortar shops to simply apply and remit tax based on the point of sale. Not much of a level playing field there.

    So if not “fairness,” as supporters of the bill claim,...

  • Besting a Billionaire: How a Grassroots Campaign Stopped a Ban on Internet Gambling

    December 17, 2014

    This week we get to say goodbye to the 113th Congress. For those who believe in free markets and individual liberty, it was a doozy. There were some losses, but also some big wins. One victory in particular is worth noting because the battle involved one of the worst aspects of politics: entrenched and connected special interests, versus one of the best aspects: a pro-liberty grassroots uprising of individuals against cronyism.

    Like all so-called vices, gambling has always had its foes, from religious leaders who believe it is evil to public health professionals and social advocates worrying exploitation of young, ill, and poor. For the most part, these interests have been unable to stop the demand for or rise in legal gambling throughout the United States. But when one of the world’s richest men says he’ll spend what it takes to ban Internet gambling, all bets are off....

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