Telecommunications and Me?
Yes ! ! !

How Telecommunications and Information Legislation
Affect All of Us

Demystifying Telecommunications and Information Policy

A town forum for ...

educators * parents * librarians
journalists * media activists
anyone concerned about information access

A town forum about ...

The Telecommunications Act
"Universal Access" to Computing and Information
The Communications Decency Act
Copyright Reform
Media Concentration


Chicago Coalition for Information Access * Illinois Privacy Council * Chicago Media Watch * Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, Chicago Chapter

Paul Simon, Senator (invited)
Carl Davidson, Networking for Democracy (moderator) * Pierre Clark, Roosevelt University * Heather McCammond-Watts, Chicago Public Library * Maria Ayala of the Instituto del Progresso Latino
Don Goldhamer (moderator) * Philip Segrest, Attorney (intellectual freedom) * Don Goldhamer, University of Chicago * Paul Brenner, Randolph Street Gallery
Liane Casten, Chair, Chicago Media Watch * Batya Goldman, Underground Press Conference and UDirect * Lisa Kucharski, writer * Tim Brown, Spectrum Press * Craig Kois, WLUW & Loyola Radio Conference

And, most important, Y O U ! ! (invited)


Saturday, July 20, 10:00 - 3:00


1st Floor Hokin Hall, 623 S. Wabash, Columbia College, Chicago


Did you think the Telecommunications Act was boring? Did you hear: "It's going to increase competition ... make cable TV and phone service cheaper ... transform everything"? Will it really? Do you know the Telecomm Act guarantees universal access for schools and libraries to the Internet? Did you know that there is currently a major rewrite of Copyright Law being planned, and that it could change the way libraries and educators have used information for years? Do you know that these big telco, entertainment, and media mergers affect everything we read, everything that we see on TV and hear on the radio?

There's a lot of misinformation, confusion, and, let's face it -- boredom -- when the media talks about things like "telecommunications," "infrastructure," and "copyright reform."

But these issues are crucial to us as educators, librarians, parents, citizens, and media, information & computing professionals.

The Telecommunications Act and the Copyright Reform Act could change everything!

Arm yourself with information!

The Chicago Coalition for Information Access (CCIA) has invited panels of attorneys, media activists, library activists, and others to talk about and answer your questions about how these crucial issues are going to affect everything -- from whether you can get any electronic information from a library, to whether public airwaves are used entirely for profit-making companies, to whether the government controls what kind of health information you can access, to whether your personal files can be searched for violations of law.


  1. Introduction:
    10:15 - 10:30

    Overview of recent and forthcoming legislation, including the Telecommunications Act, the Communications Decency Act, and Copyright Reform. Who is behind all this policy-making? Who stands to gain, and who stands to lose? Outline of today's forum.

  2. Universal Access: What's in the Telecommunications Act for Schools, Libraries & Non-Profits?
    Panel followed by Forum (Discussion, Q&A, Commentary)
    10:30 - 11:45

    What's in the Telecommunications Act for educators and librarians? What is "universal access" and how is it supposed to work? How can we take advantage of the Telecomm. Act to leverage support for our communities, our schools, and our libraries? Are there groups active in Chicago working on these issues? Panelists will include a local community computing activist, grassroots activists, and a librarian.

    Speakers: Carl Davidson, Moderator; Heather McCammond-Watts, Maria Ayala, Pierre Clark

    Lunch Break : 11:45 - 12:30

  3. Big Brother and the Internet: The Late Unlamented Communications Decency Act, Copyright Reform, Privacy, Censorship, and Intellectual Property
    Panel followed by forum (Discussion, Q&A, Commentary)
    12:30 - 1:45

    Overview of legislative initiatives in the areas of intellectual property and freedom. What is Copyright Reform, and how might it affect the information milieau? What can we do about it? What are the possible ramifications of copyright reform, the late unlamented Communications Decency Act, and other policies on privacy and intellectual freedom? Educators and other participants will get to speak to an intellectual property attorney, a privacy rights activist, and a representative of the media arts community.

    Speakers: Don Goldhamer, Moderator; Paul Brenner, Don Goldhamer, Philip Segrest

  4. Big Media Gets Bigger: The Telecommunications Act and Media Concentration
    Panel followed by forum (Discussion, Q&A, Commentary)
    1:45 - 3:00

    How will the Telecommunications Act affect media? Beyond the rhetoric of "competition," who benefits from "deregulation" and who is hurt? The Act has serious implications for public access to the airwaves, and creation of monopolies. What if anything can still be done -- here in Chicago -- to stop the media concentration juggernaut? The panel will include media activists and professionals from Chicago, including radio, the printed press, and video / film.

    Speakers: Liane Casten (moderator), Batya Goldman, Lisa Kucharski, Tim Brown, Craig Kois

  5. Wrap-Up: Where Do We Go From Here? More Solutions

    Information about sponsoring organizations and other organizations working on these issues will be available. Everyone is welcome to participate in discussion about how best to effect change where needed; take advantage of opportunities; and protect the interests of youth, non-profits, and the public.

We want you to show up with your questions and comments.

Speakers' Biographies & Statements

last updated, 7/17/96