2017 was a busy year for Trivedi, ranging from the aftermath on net neutrality to renewing distribution agreements. “The FCC’s rollback of the 2015 Open Internet Order regarding net neutrality was an important legal issue in communications—particularly as it may affect the growth of streaming video services and virtual MVPDs,” he says. Successes for Trivedi in 2017 also included representing Altice USA in a renewal of its distribution agreements with Disney-ESPN Media Networks, and representing cable operators in retransmission consent agreements for stations affiliated with Big 4 television networks across the country.
What have been the most important legal issues in communications for you in the past year?
The FCC’s rollback of the 2015 Open Internet Order regarding net neutrality was an important legal issue in communications – particularly as it may affect the growth of streaming video services and virtual MVPDs. The jury’s still out as to whether the current commission’s “light touch” approach to internet regulation coupled with its requirement that ISPs report on any blocking, throttling, prioritization or other practices that may slow down or speed up the transmission of certain data or content will impact streaming video services – particularly those not affiliated with an ISP. So 2018 promises to be an interesting year on the regulatory front.
What is your golden rule for negotiating?
Keep calm and carry on. When negotiations over particular issues become overheated, keep your cool, put a pin in it and move on. When you come back to the issue after solving other less contentious points, both parties usually approach the issue with a greater spirit of compromise and with more creativity. If it’s the last issue you have left before the deal is done, take off your gloves!
What movie superhero would you most like to be and how would that character fit into the legal world of communications?
Wonder Woman. In every negotiation I inevitably hear from the counterparty that they have never agreed to a particular provision before, and in most cases I know that that’s likely not the case. If I had a lasso of truth, I could reveal when I think they may be taking liberties with the truth.
My net neutrality prediction is …
The FCC’s rollback of the 2015 net neutrality regulations in December 2017 will remain in effect and withstand judicial efforts to reverse it – at least through the term of the current administration. Also, while there appears to some bipartisan support for legislation that would overturn the FCC’s rescinding of net neutrality rules or enact into law some form of net neutrality protections that would apply to all internet companies, it’s doubtful such bills would pass in the current Congress.