PublishedFebruary 11, 2013

CCIA’s Top 13 Priorities for 2013 and Obama’s 2nd Term

Skilled Immigration Reform – Increase access to skilled foreign workers and entrepreneurs to ensure that the U.S. remains the global center of innovation.  Immigration reform legislation must include provisions addressing the availability of employment-based and entrepreneur visas.
Privacy – Reform the Electronic Communications Privacy Act including the treatment of mobile location information (GPS Act) to require warrants ahead of government access to peoples’ information such as email and geographic information. Defeat CALEA expansion that might mandate Internet platforms “back doors.” As Congress and the administration consider future online privacy proposals, it will be important to find the right balance to ensure online information is handled in ways that protect consumers’ right to privacy, while still allowing the development of Internet business models.
Patent Reform – Due to problems with abstract and low-quality patents and recent exponential growth in software patent litigation brought by competitors and trolls, real, comprehensive patent reform is an urgent priority for the tech industry. CCIA supports efforts, such as the Chaffetz/DeFazio SHIELD Act, that will help counteract the problems in our patent system, which impede innovation.

Internet Radio Fairness Act – Update copyright law so that music performance royalty rates are technologically neutral, and government officials setting rates are no longer directed to impose higher rates for innovative, new market entrants.

Copyright Reform –Internet commerce and technology innovation depend on predictability and certainty when it comes to copyright regulations.  Balanced copyright measures, including protecting Internet platforms and technologies from unreasonable liability, will encourage investment and innovation.

The Administration should maintain its opposition to unbalanced approaches like SOPA and PIPA that would have altered the how the Internet works.

The Administration also should defend consumers’ rights to sell, gift, or loan their own property that is regulated by copyright. The First Sale Doctrine, which covers these consumer property rights in hard goods, is threatened by a pending Supreme Court decision in Kirtsaeng v. Wiley, where publishers have argued that consumers have no right to sell, gift, or loan copyrighted property manufactured outside the United States.

21st Century Trade Agreements – Promote a 21st Century trade agenda with upcoming trade talks (TPP, US-EU FTA, International Services Agreement) that better reflects the needs of one of the most dynamic export sectors – Internet services.  International trade today cannot thrive without the movement of information across the Internet. In order to maximize the economic opportunities derived from the Internet, trade agreements should commit parties to minimize interference in the movement of, and access to, information online.  This includes establishing balanced rules for intellectual property protection.

Internet Freedom – Promote Internet Freedom around the world and as a top U.S. diplomatic and trade priority. Unfettered access to the Internet is a great mobilizer of education, innovation and economic growth and it raises up everyone it touches.

FCC – Clarification of FCC authority over broadband Internet access connections, enforce FCC open Internet rule, or if court invalidates, advocate a substitute.
Spectrum – Reserve spectrum for innovative unlicensed use, creating an open public wireless communications lab. The FCC should limit further concentration of spectrum holdings by legacy monopoly carriers. Dramatically asymmetrical spectrum aggregation resulting from government sanctioned giveaways of spectrum in the 1980s constrains free market mobile broadband competition.
Online Sales Tax Collection – Continue to oppose legislation that would require out-of-state retailers to collect sales and use taxes regardless of physical presence.  Small online retailers should not be penalized with the disproportionate burden of collecting taxes for thousands of tax jurisdictions.
Government Competition – Continue support of public-private partnerships such as Free File rather than IRS entry into tax return preparation in competition against private industry.
Cybersecurity – Increase incentives and protections for company-to-company information sharing. Ensure privacy protections for any information shared with the government.
Internet Governance – Preserve multi-stakeholder global Internet governance amid challenges from governments that seek international regulatory control for themselves. This is a threat that has been building for a long time, and will continue to be an important battle for some time to come. The next four years will be a crucial juncture in this effort.
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