Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Internet and the Project of Communications Law

Susan Crawford on The Internet and the Project of Communications Law Recommended.


"The Internet offers the potential for economic growth stemming from online human communications. But recent industry and government actions have disfavored these possibilities by treating the Internet like a content-delivery supply chain. This Article recommends that the Internet be at the center of communications policy. It criticizes the nearly exclusive focus of communications policy on the private economic success of infrastructure and application providers, and suggests that communications policy be focused on facilitating communications themselves."


"The key organizing principle for communications law must be to support the emergence of diverse new ideas online as this is where economic growth for society as a whole will come from. This form of diversity support is not the same as the kind of quota-driven, artificial diversity that has been used to force broadcast content regulation to reflect minority viewpoints. Rather, this kind of online diversity stems from allowing the end-to-end, content-neutral, layer-independent functions of the Internet to flourish, and allowing groups and human attention to pick and choose from among the ideas presented online, enabling good ideas to persist and replicate...

We need to reframe communications law to support what matters. What matters are communications themselves, and the increasingly diverse and valuable ideas they produce."

Professor Crawford has long been an advocate of net neutrality and welcomed the recent FCC decision limiting Comcast's throttling of peer to peer network flows. As a Comcast customer with no TV she has a personal stake in the operations of that particular communications provider.

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