Monthly Archives: June 2014

June 19, 2014 | News, Statements

Statement Regarding the Recent U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Bad Patents

Washington, D.C. – The Internet Association’s President and CEO, Michael Beckerman issues the following statement regarding the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank:

“It is well known that patent trolls aggressively litigate vague and overly broad patents, abuse the court system for financial gain, and stifle innovation and economic growth. Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision is a needed first step toward weeding out the low quality patents often used by trolls. But unless Congress refocuses its efforts on patent reform, trolls will continue to use abusive high-cost litigation tactics to extort payments based patents that ought to fail under the Court’s decision.”

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June 19, 2014 | ICYMI, News

ICYMI- Net neutrality protection stressed by S.F., Seattle mayors

San Francisco Chronicle
Net neutrality protection stressed by S.F., Seattle mayors
Posted: 6/19/2014 18:33

A free and open Internet has become an integral part of our society. Every day, millions of Americans log on to their computers, smartphones and tablets and engage in an online world that connects communities, empowers citizens and facilitates progress.

As mayors of diverse American cities, we have seen the awesome power of this tool firsthand. Our residents – different creeds, colors and socioeconomic backgrounds – rely on the Internet for communication, business, entertainment, civic engagement and even public safety.

In doing so, they are able to pull up their hometown newspaper or neighborhood blog with the same speed and quality as the busiest of commercial websites. They can receive the latest local alerts as easily as an e-mail blast sent to thousands of users. A local small-business Web page downloads just as rapidly as that of a nationwide chain.

A free Web also serves as the entrepreneurial laboratory for hundreds of new startups that are driving a new piston in America’s economic engine – one creating new jobs and sharpening the country’s competitive edge.

Net neutrality makes all of this possible.

But now Internet freedom and transparency is in danger from a new kind of discrimination – where big gets priority over little; where the establishment dominates and the newcomer doesn’t stand a chance.

We need to stop this – now.

Since the seeds of it were planted at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency decades ago, the Internet has thrived because of its openness and equality of access. It has spurred great innovation, while providing a level playing field for its users. It allows everyone the same chance to interact, to participate, to compete.
Today, however, we are at a critical juncture, as the Federal Communications Commission works to craft new rules as to how the Internet will be regulated. We stand for transparency and believe that all data on the Internet should be treated equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment or mode of communication. We feel that innovation relies on a free and open Internet, one that does not allow for individual arrangements for priority treatment, also known as paid prioritization.

And so this weekend – during the U.S. Conference of Mayors 82nd Annual Meeting in Dallas – we will present our colleagues with a resolution calling on the FCC to fulfill its existing congressional mandate and to issue rules that preserve free and open communications channels for all.

We hope our fellow mayors will join us in this effort to preserve net neutrality. Doing so is critical to our nation’s prosperity and the future success of American cities.

Ed Lee is the mayor of San Francisco. Ed Murray is the mayor of Seattle.

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To read the original article, click here.

 

June 19, 2014 | News, Press Releases, Videos

VIDEO: The Internet Association and Sen. John Thune Highlight Sioux Falls Internet Success Stories

Beckerman: “From Internet startups to pastry shops, the Internet has transformed the way Main Street America does business…”

 

Washington, D.C. — The Internet Association recently stopped by Sioux Falls, South Dakota with Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and FCC Commissioners Ajit Pai and Mike O’Rielly to meet local business owners who rely on the Internet for their businesses to operate and thrive.

During their visits along South Phillips Avenue in downtown Sioux Falls, three businesses opened their doors to explain how the Internet enables their businesses to operate in Sioux Falls and reach customers across the country. The crawl included stops at Blend Interactive, Chelsea’s Boutique, and CH Patisserie.

“The Internet is a great way for South Dakota businesses to grow, expand, and create jobs,” said Sen. John Thune. “The Internet Association’s visit to Sioux Falls highlights how small businesses rely on the Internet to expand their reach in ways that would not have been possible just a few years ago. This digital trade drives economic growth and innovation throughout the U.S. economy, and provides small businesses the opportunity to compete globally.”

“From Internet startups to pastry shops, the Internet has transformed the way Main Street America does business,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of The Internet Association. “The Internet drives innovation and allows brick and mortar businesses to expand their reach and create jobs in every state and town.”

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June 17, 2014 | News, Statements

Statement on Net Neutrality Proposals

Washington, D.C. – The Internet Association’s President and CEO, Michael Beckerman issued the following statement on recent net neutrality proposals:

“The Internet Association supports an open Internet, which empowers consumer choice and fosters innovation. The Internet is a hotbed of innovation, economic growth, and job creation. It should remain free of artificial hindrances that create discriminatory fast lanes and slow lanes. We commend the efforts of Sen. Leahy, Rep. Matsui and other policymakers who understand the need for a free and open Internet.”

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June 16, 2014 | News, Press Releases

The Internet Association Hires New Communications Director

Washington, D.C. – The Internet Association, the trade association representing the leading global Internet companies, announced today that Noah Theran has joined the organization as Communications Director.

“As the unified voice of the internet economy, impactful communications is one of our most important functions,” said Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman.  “We are pleased to have Noah on The Internet Association team to head up our communications program.  He is a seasoned communicator with a proven track record of navigating challenging public policy issues, and his skills will be put to good use, as Internet companies look to engage the public and policymakers on issues important to our industry.”

Most recently, Theran was Communications Director at the Private Equity Growth Capital Council in Washington, D.C., where he helped the private equity industry rebut attacks from the 2012 presidential election and managed communications around comprehensive tax reform and regulatory issues.  Prior to the PEGCC, Theran worked for Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications in Washington, where he developed and executed communications strategy for a diverse set of clients with broad reputation, image, and crisis management challenges.  Theran moved to Washington from Boston, where he worked in real estate development.

Theran holds a bachelors degree from Cornell University.

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June 14, 2014 | ICYMI, Op-Eds

ICYMI- Guest commentary: State leaders should encourage innovation, not kill it

Contra Costa Times
Guest commentary: State leaders should encourage innovation, not kill it
Posted: June 14, 2014 9:00 AM PDT

By Michael Beckerman

As the unified voice of the Internet economy, The Internet Association is dedicated to propelling innovation and technology forward. Our member companies have thrived in California, and consumers from across the world have benefited from the adoption of the new technologies Internet companies are creating within our state’s borders.

That is why we are concerned about legislation that is pending in the Legislature that threatens innovative California-born startups like Uber and Lyft.

AB 612 by Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, D-Van Nuys, and AB 2293 by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, will do nothing to improve public safety, but they will severely limit transportation options for consumers as well as increase costs to drivers and riders.

While we are proudly the state where Transportation Network Companies (TNC) were born and are now relied on for jobs and ride-sharing by millions of people across the world, we are risking the ironic distinction of being the state that actually kills these same companies to protect entrenched corporate interests that view these startups as a competitive threat.

Nazarian’s bill is an attempt to protect California’s taxi company monopoly. The bill would essentially destroy the TNC model and force these tech companies to become commercial carrier companies, i.e. cab companies. Consumers and drivers do not want more cab companies; they want better, more innovative transportation options such as what is offered by Uber, Lyft and others.

Large taxicab companies are having a difficult time competing with new services offered by companies like Uber and Lyft. Not only have they been losing customers, but they have also been losing drivers. In San Francisco, Chris Hayashi with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has said she has “never seen the driver numbers so low” in the six years she has managed taxis.

But rather than innovate and adapt, cab companies want to force drivers and consumers back into the cab, and back in time, via legislative fiat.

There’s good reason drivers are leaving the cab industry. For example, drivers using the Uber app are entrepreneurs starting their own small businesses where each driver decides when and where they want to work. In addition, these drivers often make more money than taxicab drivers. For example, drivers who use the uberX platform working 40 or more hours are making a median of more than $74,000 in San Francisco, more than $53,000 in Los Angeles and more than $54,000 in San Diego.

Let’s compare those figures with the realities recently revealed in a 2013 study, “Driven to Despair,” by San Diego State and the Center on Policy Initiatives.

  • Cabdrivers make less than $5 an hour.
  • Cabdrivers only make 30 cents of every dollar including tips.
  • Nearly 90 percent of licensed taxi drivers in San Diego are “lease drivers” who rent the cars rather than own them.
  • Drivers are encouraged to drive when tired or sick and allow for “lax vehicle maintenance, putting public health and safety at risk.

And this is the business model the Legislature wants to force TNCs into? Why not instead encourage cab companies to innovate in the way California startups have?

Let’s also not forget about Bonilla’s bill. While less onerous than AB 612, the legislation is being strongly supported by the concerning alliance of big insurance companies and trial lawyers, which should be a strong indication that the outcome will not be something that helps drivers or consumers.

Through AB 2293, the insurance industry is attempting to keep the money they’ve accepted from drivers’ personal premiums, while at the same time removing their liability to pay claims. Insurance companies don’t want to go through the legal process with the Department of Insurance to change their policies, so instead they are trying to change the law to their own benefit.

We do appreciate Bonilla’s willingness to sit down and bring parties together and we are hopeful an agreement will be reached. In Colorado, we successfully worked with the Legislature to develop a public policy that protects innovation and safety. We should do the same here in California.

The bottom line is that when there is disruption and innovation in an industry, the entrenched special interests dig in and attempt to force the status quo. We are hopeful that California — the ultimate innovator and trailblazer — will see through their veiled attempts to protect their turf.

Let’s not kill innovation but encourage it and pass smart laws that ensure consumer safety and allow small business entrepreneurs to flourish.

Michael Beckerman is president and CEO for the Internet Association

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To read the original aritilcle click here.

 

 

June 13, 2014 | News, Statements

The Internet Association Responds to FCC Chairman Wheeler’s Announcement on Internet Interconnection

Washington, D.C. – The Internet Association’s President and CEO, Michael Beckerman issues the following statement on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) announced enhanced review of Internet interconnection issues:

“The Internet Association believes that broadband Internet access providers should aspire to ‘settlement-free’ peering, which ultimately benefits all stakeholders in the Internet ecosystem. ‘Settlement-free’ peering should be the industry norm. The Internet Association is focused on what’s best for consumers and protecting an open Internet free from discriminatory or anticompetitive actions by broadband gatekeepers. It is vital that Internet users get what they pay for.”

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June 9, 2014 | News, Press Releases

The Internet Association Urges Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to Lift the Cease-and-Desist order against Uber and Lyft

Washington, D.C. – The Internet Association today wrote Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and Attorney General Mark Herring urging them to immediately rescind the cease-and-desist order filed by DMV Commissioner Richard Holcomb against Internet Association member companies Uber and Lyft.

“The Internet Association urges Virginia leaders to join other state and local jurisdictions throughout the country that have worked directly with companies like Uber and Lyft to establish common-sense regulations that fit the 21st century mobile, on-demand economy,” wrote Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of the Internet Association. “It is our belief that we can reach a swift resolution to this matter and that the DMV’s cease-and-desist order should be lifted immediately.”

In the letter Beckerman pledged the Internet Association would offer its “resources and technical expertise” as negotiations between the two ride sharing companies progress.

The letter can be read in its entirety here.

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Latest News

Top Internet Business Leaders Confirmed To Speak At Internet Association’s Third Annual Virtuous Circle Summit BECKERMAN: “The value of the Virtuous Circle Summit is the conversations that take place when you bring together the leading voices in the internet innovation and policy space.” Washington, DC — Today, Internet Association announced its initial list of confirmed speakers Read more »

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