Michael Carrier on Bloomberg Radio on Lawsuit Against Alzheimer’s Manufacturer

The New York Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Actavis and Forest for pulling the old version of its Alzheimer’s treatment Naminda. In this interview with Bloomberg Radio, Professor Carrier explores the consequences of this development.

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What You Need To Know About Standard Essential Patents

In the past several years, standard essential patents, or “SEPs,” have exploded onto the scene. Courts and enforcement agencies around the world have grappled with the nuances they present. What exactly are SEPs? What do attorneys need to know about SEPs?

In his recent article, Professor Carrier answers these questions. After presenting the setting in which SEPs arise, the article addresses three issues: (1) injunctions; (2) antitrust enforcement (in the US, EU, China, India, and Germany); and (3) the determination of fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory (“FRAND”) royalties.

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Private Equity Gobbling Up Public TV Stations: What Does the Public Get?

Public stations in Connecticut and San Mateo may be at the leading edge of a mass sell-off of public media assets in the 2015 massive FCC spectrum auction. These stations have entered into agreements with LocusPoint Networks, a subsidiary of the private equity firm Blackstone Group, whereby LocusPoint shoulders the stations’ operating costs until the auction and then takes a significant share of the auction revenue after the station has sold its spectrum to wireless bidders. These deals have to be disclosed to the FCC, but their details do not.

When the spectrum is auctioned, the station (especially in the congested coastal areas) may receive tens of millions of dollars for its spectrum. This money is unrestricted and can go back into community-based digital media, or into University gyms, or into a city’s general treasury. Right now, there is no transparency and no public input as to the fate of the liquidated public media asset.

What’s the issue? The FCC set aside this spectrum – about 20% of all TV spectrum – in 1952 to advance the public interest in diverse and locally responsive noncommercial media. Think of this spectrum as parkland. It was set aside and given away to universities (58 licensees), state and local governmental bodies (26 licensees), and non-profits (87 licensees) as stewards of this park, on the condition that they use it for noncommercial educational (loosely defined) media uses. There’s no question that these stewards wouldn’t be allowed to sell the stations to a commercial entity; LocusPoint could never buy the stations. But an investment in anticipation of liquidation is legal.

There has been no public scrutiny of the issue of what happens to the liquated public media asset, and this is understandable. Public interest organizations are focused on retrieving spectrum for white space unlicensed use. The more broadcast spectrum that can be refarmed for other uses, the better. Public broadcasting groups are focused on ensuring that broadcast licensees are treated well and that the public broadcasting system emerges from the auctions intact. The potential beneficiaries of new funds for local digital media (such as new journalism ventures, like NJ News Commons or the many Knight News Challenge winners) are a diffuse group that have not coordinated their interests and are not focused on potential auction revenue.

Given where interests lie, it is not surprising that the only real scrutiny around the sale of public TV has been about the survival of public broadcasting in certain communities after the auction. This, for example, was the question raised by CPB in its September 2014 Report, Facing the Spectrum Incentive Auction and Repacking Process.

The details of the future of public broadcasting, with reduced spectrum, will be worked out. There are enough stakeholders to make sure of that. But what of the value of the spectrum lost and the possibilities for future investment in digital platforms? What of the half-century investment in local media that has been made by individuals, foundations, and the government? We have local boards of stations that want to continue with their mission of local noncommercial media after the auctions.

We have a desperate need for investment in local news and other media coverage, as well as digital access and literacy. We have new digital start-ups trying to fill these gaps, not to mention the public stations that are left post-auction. Wouldn’t it make sense to get all the stakeholders together and see what can be done to forge ahead with a new digital public media? At the very least, shouldn’t the terms of these spectrum deals be made public?

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Dr. Shawn Powers Speaking on The Real Cyber War: A Political Economy of Internet Freedom


September 18 @12:30 in Faculty Lounge

4th Floor, Rutgers University Law School

217 N. 5th Street, Camden, NJ

This TALK explores several cases in which governments have tried to control domestic information flows for political advantage.   China, Egypt, Denmark and the United States each implement control—through law, technology, subsidy and force—over domestic Internet space.  Using different methods and understandings of “control,” each seeks to maintain sovereignty over information flows.  Publics within these states increasingly view multifaceted efforts at information control as legitimate.  This talk will focus on the meaning of, and movement towards, information sovereignty.

Shawn Powers is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Georgia State University. His research specializes in international political communication with particular attention to the geopolitics of information and technology policy. Dr. Powers is a faculty affiliate of GSU’s Transcultural Violence and Conflict initiative and co-leads its British Council and U.S. Institute of Peace funded project on Civic Approaches to Religious Conflict. He is also an associate director at the Center for International Media Education and serves on the Board of Advisors for the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.



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