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PFF's Sydnor brilliantly exposes Lessig's "quasi-socialist Utopianism" advancing net neutrality

Tom Sydnor of the Progress and Freedom Foundation has done a brilliant analysis of Professor Larry Lessig's book "Free Culture" in the important context of Professor Lessig's other works. 

  • This analysis is outstanding foundational-thinking and a must read for anyone who cares about preserving a free market Internet.  

Let me highlight some gems:

First, his conclusion:

  • "The preceding analysis shows that FREE CULTURE does demonize copyright owners and does urge the government to eliminate copyrights and impose "quasi-socialist utopianism." Nor does this pattern stop with copyrights. Indeed, the preceding analysis shows Lessig has already claimed that to Save the Net, the government must nationalize or heavily regulate:

      • The providers of Internet-access services that own the physical network infrastructure, (e.g., net neutrality);

       

      • The providers of commercial internet applications and services, like eBay, Amazon, and Google (e.g., CODE); and

       

Buzz is Chairman Markey is planning a House hearing on Net Neutrality next week

The buzz is that House Subcommittee Chairman Markey is planning a hearing on net neutrality for Tuesday May 6th (probably AM) -- if they can line up their witnesses, which are still TBD.

I wouldn't be surprised if Professor Lessig is asked to testify yet again, after testifying before the Senate last week and the FCC the week before.

Google backpedaling on Privacy committments... no surprise...

I had meant to comment earlier on the FT's front page story last week on: "Google resolve crumbles on 'cookies' pledge."

The intro sentence says it all:

  • "Google has failed to make any headway in dealing with one of the most controversial issues of online privacy, despite promising a year ago that it would take the lead in tackling the problem."

I can't say I am surprised -- as the old adage goes, a leopard doesn't change its spots.

  • We now know more about two things concerning Google:
    • That Privacy International, a leading privacy watchdog in the world, was very much on the mark in ranking Google worst in the world on Privacy in its privacy rankings and also describing Google as having an "entrenched hostility to privacy."
    • Google's public committments/word (albeit non-binding) during a governmental proceeding aren't worth much.
      • Google is unwisely backtracking on something very important to users and government officials.
      • They thumb their noses at everyone else's privacy at their own peril... 

Read Cato's Timothy Lee's "Changing the Internet's architecture isn't so easy"

Kudos to Timothy Lee of Cato, for his post in Techdirt: "Changing the Internet's architecture isn't so easy." 

Mr. Lee challenged Professor Lessig's assertion at the Stanford FCC hearing that network owners have the power to change the Internet's architecture.

Why his insightful analysis is so devastating to Professor Lessig's core assertion underlying the need for net neutrality legislation is that it exposes some "inconvenient truths" about the reality of trying to change the Internet's architecture:

  • First, Mr. Lee brilliantly points out that to control which devices got what content like Professor Lessig posits, would require instituting some type of handshake protocol that would be extremely difficult to get adopted by device manufacturers.
  • Second, he points out how difficult it has been to change the Internet's architecture to IPv6, something there is a lot of consensus around to do.
  • Third, he explains that these changes in architecture Lessig posits would be extremely expensive and take a long time.

I recommend you read his full post, it's brief, well-reasoned and fresh.  

Red State documents disturbing LessiGoogle "discrimination/bias" against Christians

Anyone who considers themselves religious should read Red State's illuminating and shocking post, which documents an anti-Christian discriminatory bias by Stanford Law Professor Larry Lessig and his extremely close ally -- Google.

WARNING: Christians will find the one-minute-fifty-second video that Mr. Lessig shows to a laughing Google audience, sacrilegious, offensive, and disturbing.  

More evidence undermining Google's claim that net neutrality should not apply to Google

Only Google, which never met a self-serving, double-standard that it did not embrace, could overtly enter the business of selling network capacity and bandwidth to the public like broadband providers do, and still oppose net neutrality for themselves. (See my previous post where Google's Board recently recommended that shareholders vote against applying net neutrality to Google.)

On April 7th, Google had a press announcement: "Previewing Google App engine: run your apps on Google's infrastructure" (which was also picked up in a story by the Wall Street Journal). In that Google press annoucement, Google it made clear that it was going to sell network bandwidth to developers:

  • "The preview release of Google App Engine is limited to the first 10,000 developers that sign up, all of whom will be restricted to the free quota of 500MB of storage and enough CPU and network bandwidth to sustain around 5 million page views per month for a typical app. The preview phase is intended to gather feedback from developers. Eventually, developers will be able to purchase additional storage and bandwidth." [bold added]

Can any of the Google-defenders that regularly read this blog, and there are lots, please explain to me in a comment, how Google selling network capacity and network bandwidth to developers does not put Google clearly in the network or broadband business --competing directly with all the network providers, which Google has been lobbying furiously to apply network neutrality regulations to?

NPR on public libraries' concern over Google's aspiration for one world library of books

National Public Radio's All Things Considered" did a great 5 minute segment on: "Some Libraries Shun Google in Book Battle."

The story is set up as who should control the world's future virtual libraries as libraries and Google rush to digitize the world's books?

  • Several public libraries object to Google digitizing all their books and are doing it themselves.
  • They worry about a "single corporate entity" having so much power over the world's information.
  • If the old adage is true, that information is power, there is reason to worry.

I note this story because these libraries are a spontaneous and very real grass roots response to Google's megalomaniacal mission: to organize the world's information and make it universally available and useful."

  • These public library advocates worried out loud about how much more effective censorship could be if "a single corporate entity" controlled the world's main library and how would they respond to political pressure to ban a book or an author?

Google should take note. Here is a grass roots rebellion brewing from their left flank, which looks un-willing to be bought off by Google to go away. 

Takeaways from Senate net neutrality hearing; & proposed FCC framework on network management

The big surprise of the hearing was that Chairman Martin was a last minute witness. The Committee created a new first panel for just Chairman Martin, which ended up consuming about 60% of the allotted time for the whole hearing, and which was also the prime time when most of the Senators and press were in attendance. This surprise testimony practically relegated the other panel, which was expected to be the main event, to more of sideshow status.

Overall, this hearing was slightly more balanced than its House counterparts. Chairman Innouye continued his very measured and balanced approach, in that he said things that each side wanted to hear.

  • Given that the Senate Commerce Committee is historically quite bipartisan, and that this committee remains split largely down the middle, I doubt if we will see much real movement on Dorgan-Snowe's net neutrality bill this session.
  • If Chairman Inouye actually thought net neutrality legislation should make progress, he wouldn't have waited fifteen months since the introduction of the Dorgan-Snowe bill to hold the first hearing on it.
  • It appears the real purpose of this hearing was basically to let off steam and throw the net neutrality activists a bone. 

The real import of the hearing was two-fold: 

Dick Armey's clarity of thought and perspective on net neutrality

Be sure to read Dick Armey's succinct analysis and perspective on net neutrality in his op ed: "Spare the Net."

  • I am a big fan of Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey -- he is one of the true free-marketeer giants of our era.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths