Neutralizing Citizens United

There may be a way to neutralize Citizens United without amending the Constitution. I missed the chance to describe it last month when I testified before a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, though explained it in a followup letter to Senator Blumenthal. Representative John Dingell (D-MI) (an anti-copyright-term-extension hero from way back) apparently didn’t miss it, and has now introduced a bill that coud do it. I explain how in my latest post for The Atlantic

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11 Responses to Neutralizing Citizens United

  1. Joe Dougherty says:

    I watched the news/talk shows this morning to see if this subject came up. No, not that I saw. They hold the reins tightly as they cross the finish line.
    As we approach total corporate oligarch news domination will we say we have a media controlled state or a state controlled media?

  2. Jon says:

    The potential damage from this ruling I shudder to think about. If what’s happened to the radio industry is any indication, finding independent sources will become much harder.

    What really burns me is how they’re ignoring the public outcry. Nobody elected the FCC board members.

  3. ed says:

    McCain will hold hearings on Wednesday. Don’t know if that will do any good, but at least it shows some recognize the need for a more democratic process.

  4. “Reliable Sources” on CNN covered the FCC rule changes Sunday, June 1, and the other networks had already covered it in previous programs (it’s also on the web sites of all the news channels; take a few seconds on each one and search for “FCC”).

    The FCC has received an unprecedented number of emails and letters on this subject, so the alleged “blackout” obviously isn’t as it’s been represented.

    The entire hearing is also on C-Span Monday, 9:30AM Eastern, streamed to the Internet for those without cable and satellite TV.

  5. Jesse Walker says:

    I don’t often agree with Richard Bennett, but in this case he’s completely correct. It simply isn’t true that, as Gillmor claims, there’s been a “shameful lack of coverage of this issue.” This has gotten a *ton* of coverage, far more than most FCC decisions do.

    Anyway: As I’m sure you’ve heard, the changes went through as predicted. You can read the FCC’s summary of them here:

  6. Lessig says:

    It would be interesting to figure out how one would know whether this got the appropriate amount of coverage. Certainly “most FCC decisions” is not the appropriate baseline — have you seen the boring stuff their docket includes?

    I look forward to reading the rules. The press release is an extraordinary example of newspeak.

  7. Lou Josephs says:

    Clear Channel didn’t get what they wanted. I suspect that the metro definition rule for Radio will see a court appeal.
    Blogged it live.

  8. Fuzzy says:

    Isn’t the basis for “fair use” founded in the First Amendment, and if so, how can it be said that

    �copyrights are categorically immune� from First Amendment scrutiny


  9. Jesse Walker says:

    Yes, I have seen the boring stuff their docket includes. Point taken.

    But: this rule change was covered very thoroughly in the major newspapers (N.Y. Times, L.A. Times, Wash. Post, WS Journal) and wire services (AP, Reuters), plus a wide array of smaller papers. In the last coupel of weeks, there have been pieces in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Baltimore Sun, the San Antonio Express-News, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Honolulu Star Bulletin, the Christian Science Monitor, the Rocky Mountain News, and many more — not to mention CNN, Nightline, and other TV outlets. I’ve gotten more calls from journalists seeking comment or background info on this issue than any other in the last year — a metric I mention because I figure a journalist is *really* digging deep when she asks someone as obscure as *me* to comment on a story.

    Re: the press release: you have to scroll through a lot of garbage before you get to the new rules — you can just skip the first three pages altogether — but they’re there. To be sure, the summary at times raises more questions than it answers. I look forward to reading the actual rules as well.

  10. Beat Bolli says:

    This is from the IMDB Movie & TV News:

    Right and Left Join in Attack on FCC Decision

    Critics — from the right and left — of the FCC’s new deregulation measures vowed Monday to seek to have them nullified by the courts or Congress. On the right, Brent Bozell, founder and president of the Parents Television Council and the conservative Media Research Center, issued a statement declaring: “Already, the airwaves are full of raunchy programming produced by the New York-based mega-corporations that have little or no understanding of, or interest in community standards. The FCC just voted to make it worse.” On the left, Jesse Jackson called the FCC vote “a blow to democracy.” South Carolina Democrat Fritz Hollings described the FCC decision as “both dumb and dangerous.” The London Financial Times quoted him as saying: “There is a form of legislative veto that is going to be made available and some of us are talking about, within a certain number of days, bringing to the Congress a requirement to vote on the FCC’s decision.” Republican Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi added: “I want to emphasize that there is not a partisan position here. … A lot of Republicans — in fact, probably most of the Republicans in the Congress — would not agree with this decision.”

    It seems that there will be some resistance to this decision…

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