the other news about the Court

Before you get too deeply ensconced in worrying about the fate of Roe v. Wade et al. in the wake of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s retirment, please take a few moments to familiarize yourself with two extremely important decisions handed down by the Supremes this past Monday.

The Grokster case you probably know a bit about already–it’s sort of Napster, Round 2. The Brand X case, however, which deals with whether the Internet is a telecommunications service or an information service (a more crucial distinction than you might think), is potentially even more important. Millions of Americans are able to have telephones because they are a telecommunications service and are considered a near-essential service and are thus regulated to make them more affordable. The Court, in examining Brand X, decided that cable modems were actually an “information service,” which, for reasons beyond my ken, is not considered as important or essential as a telecom service.

For far more informative and enlightening discussion of the effects of the Court’s decisions than I can give you, read on. Thanks to Mitchell Szczepanczyk for research assistance.

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