Understanding US Regulation Across Language and Cultural Boundaries by Avshalom Ginosar
One American law professor, two representatives of SK Telcom from Korea, and one Israeli visiting scholar at MSU … It might sound like the beginning of an old joke (at least in Hebrew). But it is not! These were the four participants in the last meeting of the Quello / MSU Law VIPP Seminar, organized for our Korean visitors. The host was Prof. Adam Candeub from the College of Law at MSU and the talk was in two parts, focused on the topics of “US Internet and Content Regulation” and “US Spectrum Management”.
Prof. Candeub is certainly an excellent choice for such a meeting and for these particular topics. He is not just a professor of Law and the Director of the IP & Communication Law Program, but he also served as an attorney-advisor for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and as a litigation associate for a big firm in Washington D.C. So, I am sure that I have already convinced you that Prof. Candeub was the right man in the right place, at least professionally. However, he was the right man with regards to other aspect as well. Try to imagine: one of the Korean guys asks the professor a question, his English is not so clear to me and I think that it is the same for Prof. Candeub. However, the professor very patiently listens, thinks, and finally succeeds in understanding the question. Then, he has to explain it to me. A few minutes later, this scenario is repeated, but this time, the question is mine, and the American and the two Koreans make a serious effort to understand my English. Finally, the Professor of Law succeeds again. I cannot tell how many times such events occur, but there were several such embarrassing moments during our meeting. Prof. Candeub was patient and kind throughout the two-hour meeting. Did I mention that he was the right man in the right place and the right time?
As to the content of the seminar: we talked a lot about the FCC, about the connection between regulation and politics in the US (just to remind you that the FCC is an INDEPENDENT agency), about the history of American telecommunication regulation, about spectrum allocation, about pricing and financing, and yes – about Internet regulation as well. The Comcast-Netflix issue was an enlightening example for the discussion and I learnt a new phrase in regulatory policy and practice: “commercial reasonability”. Prof. Candeub well summarized the issue by saying: “The Internet is very difficult to regulate”. Ah, yes, we spoke about content regulation in the US as well. I learnt that there is very little to say about it here in the USA. In my country, Israel, this is THE issue nowadays.
See you at the next meeting of the VIPP seminar.
East Lansing, Michigan