Startup News Digest 1/5/2018

Our weekly take on some of the biggest stories in startup and tech policy. To receive this weekly digest in your inbox, sign up at

The Big Story: Net neutrality next steps. At the end of last year, the FCC approved a plan from Republican Chairman Ajit Pai that repealed the agency’s 2015 net neutrality rules, which kept ISPs from blocking or slowing access to certain websites and online services. The repeal is a blow to many, especially startups who aren’t able to afford to compete with established companies and pay ISPs for better access to users. Now that the FCC has voted and published the order, it’s up to the courts and Congress to reestablish net neutrality protections.

States are also looking to take action in the wake of the FCC’s December vote. Some states are looking at legislation, including in California, where lawmakers introduced two separate measures to reinstate net neutrality protections in the state, and in New York, where a legislator has introduced a bill that would bar the state from doing business with IPSs that don’t abide by net neutrality principles. More locally, a city in Colorado voted to move ahead with plans to start a municipal broadband service, showing just how popular net neutrality protections are and how far state and local governments will go to protect them.


What’s Happening in Policy:

You’re probably affected by this security flaw. Researchers found security flaws in the chips made by the major chip companies that affect “nearly every modern computing device” and put users’ sensitive data at risk.

Immigration vital to U.S. entrepreneurship. A new study from the Kauffman Foundation highlights the role immigration plays in the U.S. startup ecosystem, with more than half of billion-dollar startups in the U.S. having an immigrant co-founder.

Reasonable software copyright limits. Engine has joined Mozilla, Github, and others in a brief to a federal court arguing that similar software command-line interfaces shouldn’t be considered copyright infringement.

Companies face German online speech law. The grace period for social media companies to comply with a new German law prohibiting illegal content online has ended, forcing companies to take it down within 24 hours of being notified or face fines.

IBM sues Expedia over patents. IBM has sued travel site Expedia over patent infringement one day after settling a patent infringement suit with travel site Priceline.

After Equifax, inaction. Lawmakers had a lot to say in the wake of the 2017 Equifax data breach that made vulnerable the sensitive data of more than 145 million Americans, but Congress has made little progress on actually changing the law around data security.

Spotify facing composition copyright suit. Wixen Music Publishing is suing Spotify, claiming that the service is using tens of thousands of songs without a license and without compensating the company for using the song compositions.


Startup Roundup:

  • B2B boom. Business software review company G2 Crowd explains why Arizona is booming for B2B startups.

  • Startups at CES. Be sure to attend and check out all of the great startups exhibiting in Eureka Park at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.