ABBOTT &  BROWN, NEW TECHNOLOGIES SEMINAR

 

This seminar will survey key legal policy issues surrounding the major infrastructures that power the economy, with an emphasis on the effects of new technologies on infrastructure development. During most of the semester the course will feature a variety of guest speakers (listed below or to be announced) who will provide legal overviews of individual infrastructures. The last part of the course will feature seminar presentations of papers by students. Each paper will focus on a particular legal issue or issues associated with a particular infrastructure. Paper topics will be chosen in consultation with the professors. Class materials will be distributed on a weekly basis at the copy center (or by the guest lecturers) prior to the topic that is next up for discussion. For purposes of general reference, however, students should buy and read (ASAP) Gellhorn and Pierce, Regulated Industries in a Nutshell (West, 4th ed. 1999) (G&P). 

Please consult the Commerce Department (
http://www.doc.gov) and Federal Communications Commission (http://www.fcc.gov) web sites for detailed information on current federal policies regarding the new information infrastructure, technology, and telecommunications. (Also see Professor Allard’s spring 1999 "Law of Cyberspace" web site (http://mason.gmu.edu/~nallard/Cyberspacepage.htm, type in cyber for user name and space for password to gain access to the materials) for an excellent list of materials on telecommunications and cyberspace.) Your grade will be based on the paper (50%); your class presentation of the paper (25%); a short op ed (500 words or less) and abstract (250 words or less) that summarize the paper (10% for the two items taken together); and class participation (15%). Papers, op eds, and abstracts will be due COB Wednesday, December 8.

  1. (One week) Introduction to course – regulation of infrastructure – public byways, toll roads, posts and telegraphs, common carriage, and essential facilities. State versus federal regulation. Read G&P (please read entire book before the first class, if at all possible). (Alden Abbott) Aug. 24
  2. (Two weeks) The public transportation infrastructure. Road, railroads, trucks, buses, airplanes. Role of new "smart" technologies ("smart" highways, GPS, etc.). (Mark Johnson of ITS International (202-484-4582), Ed Clarke) Aug. 31, Sept. 7
  3. (One week) Energy regulatory reform, with an emphasis on electricity. (Bill Young) Sept. 14
  4. (Two weeks) Telecommunications deregulation – telephony, cable, wireless, broadcast, 1996 Telecom Act, state and federal reforms, introduction to the Internet. (Evan Leo) Sept. 21, 28
  5. (Two weeks) The Internet – its history and development, convergence, 1st Amendment, criminal law, communications policy issues. National and Global Information Infrastructures (GII, NII). (Brad Brown; Becky Burr; David Goldstone, another DOJ lawyer) Oct. 5, Oct. 19
  6. (One week) Protecting the public infrastructure – national security and industrial security questions – Executive Branch Infrastructure Protection Initiative. (Jeffrey Hunker) Oct. 26
  7. (One week) Standardization issues; antitrust and regulatory policy implications of standards-setting processes; U.S. technology transfer and commercialization. (Mark Bohannon) Nov. 2
  8. (Two weeks) International issues – WTO and its agreements (Standards, Procurement, Phytosanitary and Sanitary Measures, Basic Telecom), International Telecommunications Union (assignment of frequencies that are critical to infrastructure development, voluntary standards), international environmental agreements (e.g., CITES). (Kelly Cameron, PG; USTR) Nov. 9, 16
  9. (Two weeks) Student paper presentations. Nov. 23, 30