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WASHINGTON CONFERENCE TO EXAMINE EMERGING TELECOMMUNICATION POLICY

3/16/00

MEDIA COMMUNICATIONS
Division of University Relations
403 Olds Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI
48824-1047

MEDIA CONTACT:
Russ White,
University Relations
(517) 432-0923

East Lansing, Michigan. - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and all five commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will participate in MSU's inaugural Telecommunication Policy and Law Symposium, which will focus on constitutional issues raised by today's fast-growing communication industries and the policy goal of promoting competition in communication markets.

The symposium, co-sponsored by The James H. and Mary B. Quello Center for Telecommunication Management and Law at Michigan State University and the Law Review of Michigan State University Detroit College of Law (MSU-DCL), takes place on Tuesday, April 18, at the Hilton Washington and Towers in Washington, D.C. Critical topics include First Amendment issues regarding access to media channels and content regulation, and the Constitution's role in such timely issues as libraries' responsibility to screen Internet pornography sites from children; the AOL/Time Warner merger; federal-state division of regulatory powers; and incentives to invest in communication industries.

Scalia, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and FCC Chairman William Kennard will join an extraordinary range of policy makers, legal experts, economists and internationally renowned scholars to address the role of the U. S. Constitution in shaping and constraining communication policy with particular emphasis on legal and regulatory issues raised by new communication technologies and transitions to competitive markets.

"The Constitution addresses major societal goals, but it was written more than 100 years before we had electronic communication," said Steven S. Wildman, professor of telecommunication and director of the Quello Center. "We can't do a good job of designing sound communication policy without thinking about what constitutional principles apply at the same time."

Communication industries are undergoing tumultuous change, creating new market opportunities and consumer choices. These developments are posing new challenges for industry members in determining what products or services to market, investments to make and marketing practices to adopt, as well as for consumers in understanding new technologies, choosing products and services, and protecting their privacy.

Existing regulatory and legal systems have often been inadequate in addressing these developments, creating new policy problems and unclear choices for policy makers.

"We're excited to be partnered with the Quello Center for this symposium for two reasons," said The Honorable Richard Suhrheinrich, president of MSU-DCL's Board of Trustees and Justice on the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. "It further integrates DCL with MSU, and it provides us with a unique opportunity for national exposure."

Symposium papers, selected presentations, discussions and comments will be promptly published in an issue of the Law Review of MSU-DCL that will be solely devoted to the symposium. The issue also will include articles on related topics by additional scholars.

"As a law review, we felt that it was important to not only be a conduit for cutting-edge scholarship, but also to pursue avenues to actually drive the dialogue," said Don Nystrom, editor-in-chief of the Law Review of MSU-DCL. "Having the opportunity to partner with the Quello Center was a perfect fit for us to achieve that goal."

The Quello Center resides in MSU's College of Communication Arts and Sciences. It was established in 1998 to be a worldwide focal point for excellence in research, teaching and the development and application of expertise in telecommunication management and policy.

In 1999, Steven S. Wildman became the first endowed James H. Quello Chair for Telecommunication Studies and director of the Quello Center. The Quello Center was founded to improve understanding of policy choices and management options affected by change in communication industries and to assist in the development of new alternatives.

"As new technologies emerge, we have to constantly evolve our policies," said Wildman. "We really need to take a step back and think of communication policy issues in a larger context.

"This symposium will sow the seeds of a new way of thinking about things. From the seeds will sprout a new set of ideas and perspectives that will allow us to design principled policy that will guide us into the future."

Founded in 1891, Michigan State University-Detroit College of Law is the nation's oldest independent, continuously operating school of law. In 1995, it began a unique affiliation with Michigan State University, which allowed the law college to move to the East Lansing campus into a new award-winning facility. The law college retains its independent status and no state monies are used to support its activities. MSU-DCL cooperates with MSU to offer dual degrees, law-related research and outreach efforts, and to provide professional development opportunities for the faculties of both institutions.

Published since 1931, the Law Review of the MSU-DCL is a wholly student-edited journal dedicated to the advancement of legal scholarship.

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