Davidson finds himself dealing with the intersection of old rules and assumptions and the changing environment in the telecommunications industry. “The most important legal issue …. continues to be how do policymakers, industry and consumers navigate the rapidly changing technological and competitive environment,” he says. “For me personally, this issue has manifested itself in the intersection of copyright and communications law, both with respect to issues arising under the 40-plus-year-old cable compulsory license and the 20-year-old DMCA.” Davidson faces the task by drawing from his experience in the industry, including as associate general counsel and legislative counsel at NCTA.
What have been the most important legal issues in communications for you in the past year?
In general, the most important legal issue in communications over the past year continues to be how do policymakers, industry and consumers navigate the rapidly changing technological and competitive environment in which old rules and assumptions often do not fit well with current conditions. For me personally, this issue has manifested itself in the intersection of copyright and communications law, both with respect to issues arising under the 40-plus-year-old cable compulsory license and the 20-year-old DMCA
What new legal issues do you expect in 2018?
I don’t foresee that many “new” issues as much as a continuation of the issue identified above – how to make sense out of decades old policies and rules in a competitive and technological environment that is evolving rapidly. I see issues in connection with the status of online video one area in particular where there will be a steady stream of questions.
What is your golden rule for negotiating?
Be a straight shooter and look for opportunities for compromise that give each side a sense that they’ve won something.
My net neutrality prediction is …
That my neighbors and relatives will continue to pester me at parties and dinners about what the issue is and how it will impact them, even after the courts have ruled or Congress has acted or the glaciers have melted and we’ve all drowned.
If you could be any legal thriller writer, who would you want to be and why?
No one. I do enough legal writing as it is.
What’s the biggest sleeper issue in communications?
There are many issues in communications that put people to sleep.
What movie superhero would you most like to be and how would that character fit into the legal world of communications?
The Flash, because I wouldn’t have to worry about Internet fast lanes or slow lanes and could get my work done lickety-split. On the downside, I’d have to explain my reduced billable hours to my partners. Second choice: Aquaman, because I’m a scuba diver and his communications are made telepathically and, at least for the time being, wouldn’t be subject to regulation.