Vonage Case

Vonage Case - UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA Vonage Holdings Corporation Plaintiff v MEMORANDUM AND ORDER Civil No

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA __________________________________________________________________ Vonage Holdings Corporation, Civil No. 03-5287 (MJD/JGL) Plaintiff, v. MEMORANDUM AND ORDER The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, and Leroy Koppendrayer, Gregory Scott, Phyllis Reha, and R. Marshall Johnson, in their official capacities as the commissioners of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and not as individuals, D e f e n d a n t s . __________________________________________________________________ Ky E. Kirby, Russell M. Blau (pro hac vice), Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman, LLP, Adam M. Nathe, Gray, Plant, Mooty, Mooty & Bennett, P.A., for Plaintiff. Steven H. Alpert, Assistant Minnesota Attorney General, for Defendant. __________________________________________________________________ I. SUMMARY This case illustrates the impact of emerging technologies evolving ahead of the regulatory scheme intended to address them. The issue before the Court is tied to the evolution of the Internet and the expansion of its capability to transmit voice communications. Despite its continued growth and development, the Internet remains in its infancy, and is an uncharted frontier with vast unknowns left to explore. Congress has expressed a clear intent to leave the Internet free from undue regulation so that this growth and exploration may continue. Congress also
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2 differentiated between “telecommunications services,” which may be regulated, and “information services,” which like the Internet, may not. Plaintiff Vonage Holdings Corporation (“Vonage”) provides a service that permits voice communications over the Internet. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (“MPUC”) issued an order requiring Vonage to comply with Minnesota laws that regulate telephone companies. Vonage has asked this Court to enjoin the MPUC, arguing that it provides information services, and not telecommunications services. The Court concludes that Vonage is an information service provider. In its role as an interpreter of legislative intent, the Court applies federal law demonstrating Congress’s desire that information services such as those provided by Vonage must not be regulated by state law enforced by the MPUC. State regulation would effectively decimate Congress’s mandate that the Internet remain unfettered by regulation. The Court therefore grants Vonage’s request for injunctive relief. II. INTRODUCTION This matter is before the Court on Vonage’s motion for a preliminary injunction seeking to prevent enforcement of the MPUC’s September 11, 2003 order. As detailed below, because the facts of this case are not in dispute, the Court will address Vonage’s motion as one for a permanent injunction.
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3 III. FACTUAL BACKGROUND Vonage markets and sells Vonage DigitalVoice, a service that permits voice communication via a high-speed (“broadband”) Internet connection. 1
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This note was uploaded on 03/21/2012 for the course BLAW 1000 taught by Professor Stuff during the Spring '12 term at LSU.

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Vonage Case - UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA Vonage Holdings Corporation Plaintiff v MEMORANDUM AND ORDER Civil No

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