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[ | 3 Jan 2011 | 4 Comments | ]
Hey FP: It’s Industrial Organization, Not Politics

The Free Press’ view of Net Neutrality, as expressed on its website, is:
We need to keep the Internet free, open and neutral. Network Neutrality is vital to ensuring that everyone can connect and share content freely, that we can access the information, visit the Web sites and say what we want online, free from discrimination or interference.
The phone and cable companies that control access to the Internet for most Americans want to get rid of Net Neutrality, the rule that prevents them from discriminating against online content. They want to …

Internet »

[ | 27 Dec 2010 | Comments Off on The Non-Uses of History | ]
The Non-Uses of History

Harold Leventhal, a D.C. Circuit judge of the 1960s &  70s who was renowned for his administrative law wisdom, once expressed impatience over extended legal regulatory disputation with the comment: “[This] is the kind of issue where a month of experience will be worth a year of hearings” (359 F.2d 624 at 633).
The FCC brags about the endless hearings it has conducted on the Net Neutrality issue, but the 194 pages of last week’s Report and Order contain no reference to the experience with the FCC’s 1992-1995 Video Dialtone initiative. …

Internet »

[ | 22 Dec 2010 | 4 Comments | ]
Breaking the Piñata

By announcing that it is outlawing paid prioritization, the FCC is declaring that equal treatment is discriminatory.
Even if a service is available to all at the same price, which some might think is the essence of NON-discrimination, anyone who does not want to pay for the extra can protest, and apparently have the service destroyed.  The Internet equivalent of Express Mail is illegal, and so is the Internet equivalent of the Fourth Class book rate, because the existence of such as a lower-priority service would mean that other services were …

CurrentHeader, Intellectual Property »

[ | 21 Dec 2010 | 3 Comments | ]
Piracy, Counterfeiting, Web Domains & the Evolution of Property Rights

Destruction of property rights, or rejection of all methods of effectively defending them, is not the road to less government power and control. Quite the reverse. If creators cannot use property rights and markets to monetize their work, they will be forced to beg for government subsidies, and the system would rapidly evolve into total government control of expression.

Internet »

[ | 20 Dec 2010 | One Comment | ]
A Market Working! What Will They Think of Next!

At Alley Insider, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings discusses why he thinks those who short his stock are making a mistake. It is an interesting discussion generally, for its insight into how a shrewd executive views the development of content delivery via the Internet, but for purposes of Digital Society’s focus on Net Neutrality, the most interesting comment is Hastings’ view of his big source of competitive advantage — happy customers:
The core competitive barrier for direct competitors is brand/subscriber-evangelism. Our large subscriber base is very happy …

Digital Economy »

[ | 17 Dec 2010 | 3 Comments | ]
Net Neutrality, the Internet & Electronic Funds Transfer Networks

Public policy issues tend to get siloed, which means that net neutrality geeks and financial services geeks dwell in separate worlds.
Still, I have an interest in payment networks because of work outside of Digital Society, and in viewing the webcast of yesterday’s Federal Reserve Board meeting on its proposed rule to implement the Durbin Amendment section of the recent Financial Reform Bill, some core similarities between that issue and the ongoing debates over the FCC and net neutrality were striking. (The session is now off-line, but the proposed FRB rule …

Internet »

[ | 14 Dec 2010 | 5 Comments | ]
Danger! Kibitzers at Work

The Free Press recently took the lead in drafting a letter to the FCC expressing concern that whatever Net Neutrality rule the agency issues next week will not be enough, and laying out its demands for true openness: Paid prioritization must be outlawed; wireless included; definitions made “loophole-free”;  any specialized services segregated from the bulk of the Internet; and FCC broadband policy placed on a sound legal footing.
The letter collected endorsements from 82 organizations, including, besides Free Press, such names as Acorn Active Media Foundation, Center for Digital Democracy, Mobile …

Internet »

[ | 13 Dec 2010 | Comments Off on Network Nation | ]
Network Nation

A colleague who sifts through a lot of political/historical/economic material on telecom and networks was impressed by a recent presentation by Columbia Professor Richard R. John at the New America Foundation.
John wrote Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications, published last May and described by Amazon as “plac[ing] the history of telecommunications within the broader context of American politics, business, and discourse. This engrossing and provocative book persuades us of the critical role of political economy in the development of new technologies and their implementation.”
The NAF presentation is …

Intellectual Property »

[ | 11 Dec 2010 | Comments Off on Self-Help Copy Protection (Oh, the Inhumanity!) | ]
Self-Help Copy Protection (Oh, the Inhumanity!)

Tom Goldman at The Escapist reports:
According to a video released on YouTube, anybody not playing a legitimate copy of the DS version of The Experience will hear Michael Jackson’s music with no lyrics, and a vuvuzela playing over the beat instead. Believe it or not, a vuvuzela can even destroy a classic like Jackson’s “Billie Jean.”
Goldman’s reaction:
The fact that a vuvuzela is even programmed into The Experience‘s code is enough for me to know that I’ll never go near it. Game piracy is …

Intellectual Property »

[ | 10 Dec 2010 | 4 Comments | ]
Intellectual Property: More on S.3804

In my recent article about S.3804, I referred to Technology Liberation Front as an example for my statement that “The hidden factor is that many of those ginning up the outrage [about S.3804] are hostile to intellectual property as an institution.”
CEI’s Ryan Radia calls “foul,” noting that the only TLF post explicitly on the bill is his Five Ways Congress can Fix COICA Copyright Bill, and, far from representing hostility to IP – “These ‘rogue websites’ are a real problem, as the website Fight Online Theft explains, so it’s a …