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The FCC’s Future of Media Inquiry: Copyright, Public Media, and more

The Federal Communication Commission has tackled the gigantic job of providing some policy direction on the turbulent world of media. It has launched an inquiry into the future of media and put lots of great material on its pretty cool (for a government website) blog site Reboot.fcc.gov. It has asked the public for input on dozens of questions. Today was the deadline, but the FCC will be accepting followup comments and blog posts till about mid-summer (when the FCC scribes will start writing), on its blog site Reboot.fcc.gov or, for longer and more formal filings, at its portal for submissions.The Center for Social Media has filed two separate comments. On copyright questions, Peter Jaszi and I suggested that making copyright policy more useable for individual makers of media of all kinds was crucial to healthy media policy. We recommended a set of specialized changes in copyright law, including reduction of today’s gruesomely large penalties for infringement. We also recommended that fair use, one of the rare success stories in current policy, be left untouched. Read it on the FCC site here.

On questions of how to sustain and nurture public media, Jessica Clark and I argued for a better, cross-platform definition—with metrics—of public media. That way, not just public broadcasters but all producers of media for public knowledge and action, whether it’s museums or universities or journalists or cable access centers or artists, can be eligible for public media funds…if they are actually producing or engaging people with public media. We also argued that federal agencies, which currently spend billions on public relations, should dedicate some of those funds for public engagement, in conjunction with public media entities. Finally, we argued that agencies such as the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, the National Science Foundation and the Institute for Museums and Library Services should use public media definitions and metrics to engage people in civic life around media. Read it on the FCC site here.