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Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee covers technology policy, including copyright and patent law, telecom regulation, privacy, and free speech. He also writes about the economics of technology. He has previously written for Ars Technica and Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter or send him email.

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Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

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Posted at 02:13 PM ET, 04/04/2012

The Circuit: Ohlhausen rejoins the FTC, saying good-bye to the Media Access Project, Facebook counters Yahoo suit

Ohlhausen rejoins FTC: Chairman Jon Leibowitz joined Maureen K. Ohlhausen at the Federal Trade Commission today, as she was sworn in as the agency's newest commissioner. President Obama named Ohlhausen, a Republican, to a term that ends on Sept. 25, 2018. She was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on March 29, 2012.

“We are very pleased to welcome Maureen back to the FTC,” Leibowitz said. “She is going to be a terrific Commissioner, with expertise in both protecting consumers and ensuring competition.”

Media Access Project shutters its doors: Citing lack of funding, the Media Access Project announced Monday that it will be closing its doors. The news prompted a flood of well-wishes and condolences from others who watch the technology industry.

“[MAP founder] Andrew Jay Schwartzman is a true pioneer in media reform and advocacy, and his contributions to the field are countless,” said Free Press chief executive and president Craig Aaron in a statement. “We thank him for his tireless efforts to represent those who didn't have a voice in Washington and to make sure that the policies created at places like the FCC actually serve the people.”

Said Public Knowledge’s Gigi Sohn, “Through the years, MAP has provided an invaluable voice for the public interest on a range of issues, including the public responsibility of broadcasters, to mediaownership and, in more recent years, many of the most prominent policy disputes of the Internet age.”

Even groups that have been adversaries with the group in the past felt the need to chime in and wish its staff well in the future. Vonya McCann, the senior vice president for government affairs at Sprint said in a statement, “While Sprint has not agreed with MAP on every issue, where we have agreed, Sprint could not have asked for a better partner.  American consumers have lost a significant advocate in Washington.

Facebook counters Yahoo suit: Facebook said Tuesday that it has filed a countersuit against Yahoo, claiming that Yahoo violates Facebook patents that relate to photo-sharing, the news feed, tagging digital media and other elements that build in social features in Web sites.

In a statement, Facebook general counsel Ted Ullyot said that the case is in response to Yahoo’s decision to sue Facebook in March.

“From the outset, we said we would defend ourselves vigorously against Yahoo’s lawsuit, and today we filed our answer as well as counter-claims against Yahoo for infringing ten of Facebook’s patents,” Ullyot said in a statement. “While we are asserting patent claims of our own, we do so in response to Yahoo’s short-sighted decision to attack one of its partners and prioritize litigation over innovation.”

In a statement, Yahoo dismissed the countersuit as “without merit” and said that Facebook had rebuffed “overtures” to resolve the dispute.

Yahoo layoffs: Yahoo announced Tuesday that it is cutting 2,000 jobs from its workforce — around 14 percent. The layoffs were cast as part of new chief executive Scott Thompson’s plans to restructure the company.

“Today's actions are an important next step toward a bold, new Yahoo! — smaller, nimbler, more profitable and better equipped to innovate as fast as our customers and our industry require,” Thompson said in a statement.

Yahoo is facing discord from its investors, particularly Daniel Loeb of Third Point, who submitted his own recommendations for four members of Yahoo’s board. The company subsequently ignored those recommendations when it appointed new members last month.

By  |  02:13 PM ET, 04/04/2012

 
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