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[ NNSquad ] Re: The First Amendment and the FRC

This is the old George Gilder argument that bandwidth would someday become so abundant there would be no need to sell it, meter it, or regulate it, as modified by Larry Lessig to remove the "regulate it" part. It hasn't happened, of course, and never will because packet switching can turn any amount of abundance into scarcity; that's the point. Provide me with any amount of bandwidth, and I can figure out a way to consume. If you're sharing a link with me - and you must in order for the two of us to communicate - I can degrade your network experience.

Communications policy needs to uncover and develop reasonable guidelines for the sharing of common facilities. The myth of eternal abundance is no more helpful toward that end than the myth of the omnipotent First Amendment.


On 7/26/2010 4:01 PM, Bob Frankston wrote:
We've been over this.

There is a First Amendment issue -- it goes back to the formation of the FRC
(Federal Radio Commission) when congress reluctantly agreed to compromise
the First Amendment in order to issue radio licenses and decide who was most
worthy. The FCC was grandfathered.

We wouldn't have to ask for neutrality as a patch if we didn't maintain
scarcity by handing over our very means of communicating to companies whose
business models can't survive abundance.

This is why it's so important to understand the underlying technology and
business models rather than coming in after-the-fact and trying to solve a
symptom rather than addressing the fundamental problem -- being forced by
networking as a service.

Today value chains (silos) are the new trusts. How long till a new Teddy
Roosevelt goes after them? Any good capitalist should abhor government
managed markets and companies that thwart free markets.

-----Original Message-----
From: nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org
[mailto:nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org] On Behalf Of
Edward Almasy
Sent: Monday, July 26, 2010 18:06
To: Richard Bennett
Cc: nnsquad@nnsquad.org
Subject: [ NNSquad ] Re: Sen. Franken to the Netroots: Only You Can Stop the
Corporate Takeover of Free Speech

On Jul 26, 2010, at 3:33pm, Richard Bennett wrote:
Franken's remarks stand the First Amendment on its head. The First
Amendment protects the citizens from violations of our speech rights by the
government, while net neutrality laws are attempts to have the government
limit the services and business models of a group of companies.

This is only true if network connectivity is purely a matter of private
commerce.  If (as I and many others believe) the Internet has become a de
facto part of our public infrastructure, then we have to consider the
services and business models controlling that infrastructure in a different
light, on par with those operated by the government.

Franken's speech is just one more facet of the push to remold the old legal
model to allow it to function as intended within the new 21st century


   Edward Almasy                                     ealmasy@scout.wisc.edu
   Co-Director                                         1210 W Dayton Street
   Internet Scout                                          Madison WI 53706
   Computer Sciences Department                        608-262-6606 (voice)
   University of Wisconsin - Madison                     608-265-9296 (fax)

Richard Bennett
Senior Research Fellow
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
Washington, DC