Over at Read Write Web, Lauren Orsini looks at the growing market to teach non-techies how to code:
Within the last two years, more and more companies have saturated the market with the express purpose of teaching everyone and anyone our generation’s hottest new job skill: programming. Now it’s become a fundraising race to the top of the pile.
This April, learn-to-code startup Treehouse announced that it raised a “war chest” of new funding. In a Series B round led by Kaplan Ventures, the Portland, Ore., company added another $7 million, for a total of $12.35 million.
For CEO and founder Ryan Carson, the money couldn’t have come at a better time. Competition between learn-to-code startups is rising, and Carson plans to press his advantage by adding more employees to Treehouse’s current 55 workers.
The folks at CTIA have put together a handy list of 50 wireless facts. Among them:
The wireless industry directly/indirectly employs more than 3.8 million Americans, which accounts for 2.6% of all U.S. employment. In addition, wireless employees are paid 65% higher than the national average for other workers.
Total private sector jobs fell by 5.3 million between April 2007 and June 2011, but the U.S. wireless industry added almost 1.6 million new jobs in the same time period.
As of December 2011, 34 percent of American households were wireless-only.
Despite having less than 5 percent of the world’s population and less than 6 percent of the world’s total wireless subscribers, the U.S. has more than half of global LTE subscribers.
Juliana Gruenwald of the National Journal highlights a new report on tech jobs:
During the first half of the year, the tech industry added nearly 100,000 jobs, an increase of 1.7 percent, bringing the total number of Americans employed in the tech sector to 6 million, according to a new report released on Thursday by the TechAmerica Foundation.
In its jobs report, the group found that the tech industry added jobs in 16 of 18 months from January 2011 until June 2012. The study also found job growth in three of the four sectors it studied, which included tech manufacturing, communications services, software services, and engineering and tech services.
According to TechAmerica Foundation’s report, the tech industry was one of the last to be hit by the 2008 recession, and one of the first to pull out of it.
Last March, T-Mobile announced it had cut its workforce by 5% in the wake of the blocked merger with AT&T. Now, Brier Dudley of the Seattle Timesreports, the company is gearing up for a new round of cutbacks:
T-Mobile USA Chief Executive Philipp Humm warned employees a few months ago that more layoffs would happen by the end of May. It’s happening right on schedule.
Today, the company is informing employees of “a series of organizational changes,” a spokeswoman said.
A net loss of about 900 jobs will result. But even more jobs are likely affected by the changes, which include layoffs and shifts to outsource more work.
Let’s put that number in perspective: the iPhone and iPad didn’t even exist five years ago. The company’s mobile App Store only opened its cyber-doors in 2008.
Now, the iOS alone sustains more jobs than the entire population of San Bernadino. Or Boise. Or Des Moines.
This is a modern economic success that’s virtually unparalleled — and it’s also not just an Apple success. Sure, Apple has been at the forefront. The company also just marked the 25 billionth download from its App Store. (If you’re interested, it was a user in Qingdao, China who downloaded the Disney game, “Where’s My Water.”)
As FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said earlier this year, “Our apps economy is the envy of the world.” (For the record, Genachowski’s favorite app is an astronomy app that uses his iPhone’s built-in GPS to present a screen view of the stars overhead. He says it helps his daughter understand astronomy.)
So what’s the problem? As a recent five-part series on CNN reported, this country is running dangerously low on making airwaves available to handle all this wireless data. That threatens a future of slower progress and higher phone bills.
Genachowski himself said earlier this year, “This invisible infrastructure is the backbone of a growing percentage of our economy and our lives. [A lack of available airwaves] threatens American leadership in mobile and the benefits it can deliver to our economy and our lives.”
In an effort to address the looming spectrum crunch, last month, President Obama signed a bipartisan bill into law designed, in part, to facilitate the next round of wireless auctions.
This law is an important step. Not only does it mandate much needed spectrum auctions—the last one was held in 2008—but it also legislates against too much regulatory red tape. Open auctions will ensure that the companies with the best plans and best service will thrive.
Historically, the Commission hasn’t always heeded this and on the government’s coffers have paid the price.
This obviously is no time for regulatory experiments. The stakes are too high.
Speaking of Apple, Nick Wingfield of the New York Timesreports the company — which has faced some criticism lately for its offshore business practices — is touting its role as an American job creator:
On Friday, the company published the results of a study it commissioned saying that it had “created or supported” 514,000 American jobs. The study is an effort to show that Apple’s benefit to the American job market goes far beyond the 47,000 people it directly employs here.
A new study from policy group TechNet sheds some light on just how important the mobile app economy — and mobile broadband — are to America’s economy. The full study, titled “Where the Jobs Are: The App Economy,” is available here (PDF), but some of the highlights include:
• The App Economy is now responsible for over 466,000 jobs in the U.S., which is pretty amazing when you take into account the fact that it was only in 2007 and the release of the iPhone that the industry started.
• In December of 2011, Apple’s App store had over half a million active apps, which were uploaded by over 100,000 publishers.
• California, New York, and Washington State lead the charge in the App Economy, but more states are joining the part every day.
In a post at AT&T’s Public Policy Blog, Bob Quinn, the company’s Senior Vice President-Federal Regulatory and Chief Privacy Officer, argues that the recent announcement from wireless carrier Sprint that it was going to rely on roaming to provide customers coverage in Kansas and Oklahoma reveals major flaws in two orders from the FCC:
First, in 2010, the FCC reversed itself by eliminating the Home Market Rule. That rule, which was pretty logical and straightforward, said that, if a carrier owned spectrum, it was good public policy to require them to build out that spectrum and therefore they should not be able to demand roaming from other carriers in those “home markets.” Thus, if Sprint owned spectrum in Kansas and Oklahoma, it wouldn’t have a regulatory “right” to roam. Then, last April, the Commission extended roaming rules that had previously been limited to voice services (and that now contain no Home Market exception) to broadband infrastructure.
In arguing to impose those requirements on its competitors, both Sprint and the FCC said that broadband roaming obligations would actually promote “the deployment of broadband facilities and thus expand coverage.” Good in theory, I suppose, but not in practice, as I stated at the time. As a result of those two FCC Orders, Sprint can now use other folks’ networks rather than pony up its own investment dollars. Nice work if you can get it.
Quinn goes on to explain why his company is hopeful the D.C. Court of Appears will step in to scale back the FCC’s orders:
We remain hopeful that the Court will reject the FCC’s market intervention here and realize that this regulation actually disincents investment by everyone in the marketplace at a time when promoting investment and job growth should be priority #1 for every policymaker in this country. And it serves as another lesson in why unbridled discretion to shape markets in the name of competition is not always good public policy.
The effect mobile broadband investment and deployment has had on innovation is easy to see. All you need to do is flip through the apps on a smartphone, or fire up Netflix on an iPad.
Less apparent has been the effect on the U.S. economy, specifically when it comes to job creation. Now a study from NDN and the New Policy Institute, “The Employment Effects of Advances in Internet and Wireless Technology,” for the first time provides some startling new numbers. Authored by Robert J. Shapiro and Kevin A. Hassett, the study examines the positive effects network advancements have on the economy.
Case in point: the move from 2G to the current widespread 3G, which the authors find offered a major boost the economy. As they write:
New econometric analysis set forth in this study shows that the investments and innovation entailed in the transition from 2G to 3G wireless technologies and Internet infrastructure spurred the creation of some 1,585,000 new jobs from April 2007 to June 2011.
That’s more than 1.5 million jobs during a time, the authors point out, that the U.S. economy lost close to 5.3 million jobs in the private sector. And with providers in a highly competitive market currently building out the next-generation of networks, another major boost could be on the horizon:
The rapid transition from 3G to 4G mobile broadband networks should continue to stimulate new jobs creation in a short time frame, generating more than 231,000 jobs for every 10 percentage point gain in penetration rates within a year.
In other words, the more 4G is built out, the more jobs there will be for Americans. While this may seem like a no-brainer — doesn’t investment and construction almost always create jobs? — Shapiro and Hassett make the argument that the government must do more to encourage a speedier build-out by an industry leading the way to economic recovery. As they write:
These results suggest that a national job creation strategy should include or encourage appropriate measures to accelerate the deployment of 4G infrastructure.
The study goes on to explore some particular areas, including health care and public safety, that will benefit greatly from accelerated 4G deployment. On the proposed nationwide wireless communication network dedicated to public safety, the authors write:
This 4G-based network could be especially valuable when major terrorism or natural disasters strike. The original impetus came from the 9/11 Commission’s criticism of the lack of inter-operable communications systems among the diverse first-responders at the World Trade Center, and the resulting vulnerabilities for homeland security. The benefits from more routine use of the system also would be considerable. The begin, the initial proposed funding of $10.7 billion would create nearly 100,000 new jobs for network planners, laborers to lay and install cable, and technicians to build and install network devices, wireless access points, video surveillance cameras, gunshot detectors, and environmental sensors. As the network is established, it would create more jobs for network administrators and managers, technical support staff, network analysts, project managers, and IT analysts.
100,000 jobs — and that’s just from public safety build-out. To get the full picture on how speeding up the deployment of 4G technology can transform our economy, check out Shapiro and Hassett’s full study. You’ll not only come away encouraged about the future, you’ll learn stuff like this:
Mobile providers rolled out the first generation of cellular wireless networks in the United States in the early-1980s, before the commercial emergence of the Internet. Until that time, mobile phones relied on tall, high-power transmitters and receivers which used a limited number of radio frequencies to cover entire cities. These conditions sharply limited the network capacity and these mobile phones. For example, the first mobile phone network for New York City could support a total of 700 mobile customers and no more than 12 conversation at any time.
Shapiro and Hassett’s full study, “The Employment Effects of Advances in Internet and Wireless Infrastructure: Evaluating the Transitions from 2G to 3G and from 3G to 4G,” is available here in a PDF. Check it out.
In an op-ed for The Hill, Jonathan Spalter, Chairman of the organization Mobile Future, urges President Obama to take a bigger leadership role when it comes to technology:
Chairman Genachowski rightly warned of a “looming spectrum crisis.” U.S. demand for mobile Internet could outstrip capacity in as little as two years. If President Obama delivers on his call to shift 500 Mhz of spectrum to expand the mobile web, it could help win the hearts of the 91% of Americans who are so connected to our mobile devices that we sleep with them within arm’s reach. The move also would enable the private sector to create 500,000 jobs throughout our economy and add $400 billion to our GDP.
What does it take? Technology-savvy leadership. A consistent policy vision that continually pulls in a constructive direction. And, a clear-eyed choice of humility over hubris when it comes to the role of government in our innovation policy.
In the wake of the FCC releasing its un-finalized Staff Report on the AT&T and T-Mobile merger, Geoffrey Manne of Forbeswrites:
As everyone knows by now, AT&T’s proposed merger with T-Mobile has hit a bureaucratic snag at the FCC. The remarkable decision to refer the merger to the Commission’s Administrative Law Judge (in an effort to derail the deal) and the public release of the FCC staff’s internal, draft report are problematic and poorly considered. But far worse is the content of the report on which the decision to attempt to kill the deal was based.
Over at the Wall Street Journal, columnist L. Gordon Crovitz calls the proposed deal between the two telecom companies a “private-sector solution to a government-created problem” — specifically, a lack of spectrum for wireless:
We live in an era when innovation in technology requires more regulatory humility. If a company wants to serve consumers better by risking its capital to buy spectrum through an acquisition, it should be allowed to proceed. Company executives can then be blamed if they either underinvest or overinvest in spectrum. FCC lawyers should stick to writing briefs.
So long as regulators apply rules for mature industries to new technologies, we will have problems such as spectrum scarcity and industries kept artificially inefficient. Until regulators change their ways, blame a meddling FCC when calls get dropped on your mobile phone.
Meanwhile, on their blog, the the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (who are also IIA members) are disappointed in the White House:
The President and the FCC say they want to see mobile broadband deployed throughout the nation. Mr. Obama certainly needs the jobs that come with broadband investment for his re-election effort. Yet, the administration works to stop a merger that would help to achieve these goals.
And Nicole Palya Wood, Legislative Director of fellow IIA Member the National Grange is confused by the FCC’s stance that investment in expanding broadband won’t create jobs:
Two weeks ago, the FCC created a new $4.5 billion broadband fund and the National Grange celebrated this reform of the Universal Service Fund for dedicated broadband. What I find confusing is that the FCC claimed this investment in wireline broadband to 7 million new potential customers, would create “approximately 500,000 jobs and $50 billion in economic growth.” However, their staff report on the merger rejects the argument by AT&T that an investment of billions to deploy 4G mobile broadband service to 55 million more Americans over the next 6 years would help to create jobs. Does that mean that once again, it is okay for big government (armed with my tax dollars) to come in riding on the white horse of job creation, but when big business tries to do it somehow the increased commerce they create disappears?
The Internet Innovation Alliance has publicly supported the proposed merger of AT&T (one of our members) and T-Mobile due to the real potential the merger will have for accelerated deployment of broadband services and delivery of high-speed connectivity to parts of our country that are currently underserved or have no broadband service whatsoever.
We believe the wider delivery of 4G LTE AT&T projects will be enabled by the merger will generate billions in new private investment and created tens of thousands of jobs when America needs them the most, along with a range of new opportunities in rural communities and enhanced education, health care and small business.
Thus we are disappointed by the reported opposition of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and the Commission staff to the proposed transaction. Moreover, we were surprised and disappointed by the agency’s decision to release publicly documents and the Staff Report on the application after AT&T has withdrawn the transaction from the FCC, an action described today as “unprecedented” by nominee Jessica Rosenworsal.
It was reported the Staff Report was released without even providing an opportunity for the parties the basic opportunity to see or address it first. It is extremely troubling that such procedural short cuts and attendant media attention may prejudice their efforts to reach an accommodation regarding the transaction with the Justice Department.
The FCC will clearly need to address any transactions proposed in the future, on their own merits, irrespective of the Staff Report about the withdrawn transaction. So we fail to see how the FCC’s public release of the Staff Report serves any constructuve purpose or enhances public confidence in the Commission’s future considerations.
The FCC plays an essential role in advancing the goals of the National Broadband Plan, which it adopted and which is supported by the Administration, many in Congress, and the IIA. That role requires identification and advancement of critical policies, such as USF and spectrum reforms. It also requires the integrity of the FCC’s process to ensure all supplicants, large and small, receive a fair and even opportunity to make their case and to amend their petitions, unprejudiced by leaks to the media or prior analyses which may bias the consideration of prior or future applications.
On October 6, the FCC unveiled its Connect America Fund, an overhaul of the Universal Service Fund aimed at expanding broadband access. Last Friday, the commission released its rules on the program, and as Sara Jerome of the National Journalreports, the focus of the release was heavy on jobs messaging:
The Federal Communications Commission says that its plan to bring broadband Internet to the countryside will produce 500,000 jobs over the next six years.
The FCC voted last month to spend billions to subsidize broadband businesses in the countryside. The money is not a new outlay—it previously went to the landline operations at rural phone companies.
The agency released the rules for redirecting the spending to broadband on Friday. The effort will overhaul the so-called “high-cost fund,” which is about $4.5 billion, so that it goes toward broadband instead of telephone. This fund is part the agency’s larger, $8 billion universal service system that also includes communications subsidies to get technology in schools and to provide service for low-income people in cities.
More info on the FCC’s broadband expansion effort is available on their website.
Last week, the Communications Workers of America reiterated its support of the AT&T and T-Mobile merger by pushing back against merger opponents over claims that joining the company and expanding AT&T’s LTE network won’t create jobs. From CWA:
Opponents of the merger have used inaccurate and false comparisons in their jobs numbers, the report found. Opponents include Sprint, which made a failed bid to buy T-Mobile, Public Knowledge, and others. The claim that the merger will eliminate jobs stems from a faulty and convoluted analysis of wireline and wireless employment characterized by “sloppy research and the inability to distinguish between the change in the number of wireline and wireless jobs” in a Sprint-commissioned study, CWA said.
Instead, the CWA report said, the merger will create up to 96,000 new jobs based on AT&T’s commitment to build out high speed wireless broadband to 97 percent of the population, and AT&T’s commitment to bring back a net 5,000 quality wireless jobs to the United States.
Today, IIA Broadband Ambassador Navarrow Wright has a great piece on The Huffington Post highlighting the need to ensure there is an “even playing field” when it comes to communities connecting to the digital economy. Here’s a taste:
The importance of wireless technologies became a national priority earlier this year when President Obama talked about the need to deploy next-generation 4G wireless networks to 98% of the nation during his 2011 State of the Union Address. Likewise, the Federal Communication Commission has become acutely attuned to the need for additional greater spectrum in order to sustain wireless growth and demand..
Because of the increasing importance of wireless accessibility and the need to improve the more efficient allocation and use of spectrum, the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile represents a very important measure for the future of wireless-enabled entrepreneurship, especially for people of color. Regardless of the companies involved in this deal, the end result holds a greater promise for consumers and businesses alike, particularly for those individuals who stand to lose access to a 4G LTE network if this doesn’t come to fruition.
In response to the Department of Justice’s move to block the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile, the Communications Workers of America has released a new report on the effect blocking the merger will have. Titled, rather bluntly, “Blocking the AT&T/T-Mobile Merger will Harm Consumers, Communities & the Economy,” the report covers everything from AT&T’s commitment to expand 4G LTE, to the effect the merger will have on much-needed job creation.
The entire report is a must-read, but there are a few points made that are worth highlighting, beginning with the argument that blocking the merger will be good for preserving competition. As CWA states:
“[T]here is no long-term future for a stand-alone T-Mobile as an effective competitor: it has neither the spectrum nor the capital to create a competitive network utilizing the latest wireless technology (called 4G LTE). In January 2011 the CEO of T-Mobile’s parent company, Deutsche Telekom (DT), stated that DT would not provide the capital for T-Mobile’s 4G LTE deployment. T-Mobile also is on a downward trajectory suffering from declining revenue, eroding profit margins and increasing customers defections.”
With Verizon, AT&T, and now Sprint making the shift to 4G LTE technology, the fact that T-Mobile will soon be left behind regardless of the merger continues to be overlooked. And given that only AT&T and T-Mobile are compatible when it comes to network technology, the idea that T-Mobile could simply merge with someone else simply isn’t realistic. From the report:
There are two separate technological family trees that are not easily compatible. GSM based systems have evolved through UMTS, HSPA+, LTE and, the next step, LTE Advanced. CDMA based systems have evolved to EVDO.
• The merger between AT&T and T-Mobile creates technological synergies because each of these companies utilizes GSM and HSPA based networks.
• A merger between Sprint and T-Mobile (these companies were in merger discussions) would have experienced significant technological challenges because the two companies utilize different and incompatible technologies. T-Mobile’s systems are GSM based while Sprint’s systems are CDMA based.
As for AT&T’s ability to expand its 4G LTE network to cover nearly every corner of America — a key point, as it dovetails with President Obama’s State of the Union pledge to bring advanced mobile broadband to everyone — CWA points out such an expansion wouldn’t be feasible without the merger due to capacity and spectrum constraints:
AT&T’s other options could not remotely approach the merger in terms of increasing capacity, utilizing spectrum more efficiently, improving service and expanding 4G LTE deployment… [I]t would take AT&T eight years to obtain and activate the number of cell sites it will obtain from T-Mobile. AT&T also could not depend on a possible federal auction to reallocate spectrum because it is a multi-year process that needs Congressional approval, a FCC rule making, the actual auction and then a period for relocation of incumbent licenses and integration of existing network and equipment with the spectrum — if the bid is successful.
These are just a few of the salient points CWA makes about the merger. There’s much more to be found in the full report, including the effects blocking the merger will have on job creation and efforts to close the digital divide. You should definitely dig in.
Our Honorary Chairman Rick Boucher recently appeared on Fox News to talk about how broadband is today’s light bulb, and how it’s in America’s best interests to ensure everyone has access to the digital economy. Here’s video of the appearance:
Speaking of rural broadband, over at Roll Call, Jess Peterson of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association and Ed Luttrell from the National Grange have penned an op-ed on how a public-private partnership will be key to connecting all of America. From the piece:
One clear pathway to increase access to high-speed Internet throughout more rural communities is through a joint effort between public and private partnerships. Our main objective is to ask government officials and representatives of private companies to collaborate and bring each sector’s strengths into a partnership that will result in making the deployment of and access to high-speed broadband a reality for all Americans.
This objective is consistent with the goal outlined by President Barack Obama in his 2011 State of the Union address to make high-speed Internet available to 98 percent of the population by 2015.
Earlier this week, the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland released a study, “The Facebook App Economy,” which estimated the app ecosystem of the popular social networking is now directly responsible for over 182,000 jobs. And that’s just a drop in the job creation bucket. The study also estimates the entire Facebook app economy has produced over 235,000 jobs and contributed some $15 billion to the U.S. economy.
While the current app craze may not last — at least not at its current fever pitch — there’s no denying that right now the ecosystem is thriving. And producing. And it’s not just Facebook that is growing in the app environment. Amazon, Microsoft, and the Android mobile platforms each boast healthy app stores of their own, thereby creating additional jobs, encouraging investment, and adding value to the entire economy.
Then there’s Apple’s App Store, which this past July hit two impressive milestones: over 500,000 apps available, and over 15 billion — that’s right, billion — app downloads. Think that’s impressive? Think about the number of people working on mobile apps for Apple’s service right now. Then think about the fact the company’s App Store didn’t even exist four years ago.
Just five years ago, the online economy mainly brought to mind services or advertising. But the unprecedented adoption of mobile broadband has launched a new platform where everything from a 99¢ game to an entire online book store can create careers and inspire businesses.
The mobile broadband platform has the power to drive innovation and investment for decades to come. Three short years ago, the second iPhone helped ignite the mobile broadband explosion when it made “3G” a household term. Now mobile broadband is moving into the next generation.
The LTE era is right around the corner. We should all be excited for what it will bring.
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Internet Innovation Alliance reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to terminate your access to the Internet Innovation Alliance Web Site and the related services or any portion thereof at any time, without notice. GENERAL To the maximum extent permitted by law, this agreement is governed by the laws of the State of Washington, U.S.A. and you hereby consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of courts in King County, Washington, U.S.A. in all disputes arising out of or relating to the use of the Internet Innovation Alliance Web Site. Use of the Internet Innovation Alliance Web Site is unauthorized in any jurisdiction that does not give effect to all provisions of these terms and conditions, including without limitation this paragraph. You agree that no joint venture, partnership, employment, or agency relationship exists between you and Internet Innovation Alliance as a result of this agreement or use of the Internet Innovation Alliance Web Site. Internet Innovation Alliance’s performance of this agreement is subject to existing laws and legal process, and nothing contained in this agreement is in derogation of Internet Innovation Alliance’s right to comply with governmental, court and law enforcement requests or requirements relating to your use of the Internet Innovation Alliance Web Site or information provided to or gathered by Internet Innovation Alliance with respect to such use. If any part of this agreement is determined to be invalid or unenforceable pursuant to applicable law including, but not limited to, the warranty disclaimers and liability limitations set forth above, then the invalid or unenforceable provision will be deemed superseded by a valid, enforceable provision that most closely matches the intent of the original provision and the remainder of the agreement shall continue in effect. Unless otherwise specified herein, this agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the user and Internet Innovation Alliance with respect to the Internet Innovation Alliance Web Site and it supersedes all prior or contemporaneous communications and proposals, whether electronic, oral or written, between the user and Internet Innovation Alliance with respect to the Internet Innovation Alliance Web Site. A printed version of this agreement and of any notice given in electronic form shall be admissible in judicial or administrative proceedings based upon or relating to this agreement to the same extent an d subject to the same conditions as other business documents and records originally generated and maintained in printed form. It is the express wish to the parties that this agreement and all related documents be drawn up in English.
COPYRIGHT AND TRADEMARK NOTICES:
All contents of the Internet Innovation Alliance Web Site are: and/or its suppliers. All rights reserved.
The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
The example companies, organizations, products, people and events depicted herein are fictitious. No association with any real company, organization, product, person, or event is intended or should be inferred.
Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved.
NOTICES AND PROCEDURE FOR MAKING CLAIMS OF COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT
Pursuant to Title 17, United States Code, Section 512(c)(2), notifications of claimed copyright infringement under United States copyright law should be sent to Service Provider’s Designated Agent. ALL INQUIRIES NOT RELEVANT TO THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURE WILL RECEIVE NO RESPONSE. See Notice and Procedure for Making Claims of Copyright Infringement.