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Internet Powers Form Trade Group

Broadcasters who have already been going toe-to-toe with the
Consumer Electronics Association and CTIA: The Wireless Industry Association
over spectrum issues face a new and powerful group lobbying for a
broadband-centric future.

A passel of Internet powerhouses have banded together to
form what they bill as the first trade association representing the Internet economy,
The Internet Association.

The association boasts 14 members -- Amazon, AOL, eBay,
Expedia, Facebook, Google, IAC (Bing), LinkedIn, Monster Worldwide, Rackspace,,
TripAdvisor, Yahoo and Zynga. Notably absent from that list of search giants
Microsoft, which has squared off against Google in that space.

The association will be run by president and CEO Michal
Beckerman, who until June was the deputy staff director at the House Energy and
Commerce Committee.

The companies bill the group as "an umbrella public
policy organization dedicated to strengthening and protecting a free and
innovative Internet" that will be relentless in pushing its policy goals.

Their main goals, which sound like they were plucked from
speech by FCC chairman Julius Genachowski (himself a former exec with Barry
Diller's IAC) are: "Protecting Internet freedom; fostering innovation and
economic growth; empowering users," and, in the process, "educating
policymakers on the profound positive impacts of the Internet and Internet
companies on jobs, economic growth, freedom, creativity, commerce,
productivity, education, prosperity and the global economy."

There are a host of issues to keep the group busy, including
cybersecurity, online privacy and piracy, the impact of usage plans on video
use, freeing up more spectrum for wireless -- a longtime Google goal -- and the
status of over-the-top video. The FCC is currently considering whether or not to
classify online video distributors (OVDs) as multichannel video providers (MVPDs),
which would mean granting them the same rights and responsibilities under FCC
rules as cable and satellite.