Justine Bateman to testify in Senate


WASHINGTON -- Justine Bateman will testify before Senate Commerce Committee staffers Tuesday at the panel's "Future of the Internet" hearing.

Like many independent producers, the actress is concerned about the ways and means that people will be able to deliver content in the future, committee aides said. That Bateman has a recurring character in the ABC sitcom "Men in Trees" -- which is set in Alaska, the home state of senior GOP Sen. Ted Stevens -- is just a coincidence.

Bateman will be joined on the panel by WGA West president Patric Verrone, who has his own views about Internet distribution -- one of the key sticking points in the recent Hollywood writers' strike.

The hearing comes as Washington policymakers delve into concerns over network neutrality issues. Last week, the FCC conducted a hearing at Stanford University on the hot-button issues revolving around control of the Internet by the big network companies.

"There are going to be big decisions made by Congress over how the Internet is going to grow and thrive, and they have important views about that," a staffer said when asked about the witness list.

Also expected to testify are Internet legal guru and Stanford Law School professor Lawrence Lessig and National Cable and Telecommunications Association president and CEO Kyle McSlarrow.