Don’t Stifle Progress
A number of states are trying to do what the federal government couldn’t: Kill innovation on the broadband Internet.
By John Battelle, August 2003 Issue
What if it were illegal to connect your computer to the Internet without asking permission? It seems unthinkable, but an ongoing legislative imbroglio has brought that very question to the fore.
The fight pits the cable industry and (surprise!) the Motion Picture Association of America against a battery of consumer and civil liberties groups. It revolves around a set of bills that opponents have labeled “Super DMCAs” — state-level legislation modeled on the much-reviled federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.
During the past 36 months, these bills have been passed in the legislatures of seven states, including Michigan and Pennsylvania, with nine more waiting in the wings. In each case, the legislation is cloaked in the seemingly benign language of preventing cable signal theft and has been quietly fed to a somnambulating legislative body. But all of these bills also contain extraordinary language that gives the access industry (cable, satellite, and phone) complete control over what devices you can connect to their broadband networks. They also make many things we take for granted — such as anonymity, firewalls, even instant messaging — potentially illegal.
In other words, these bills could create “early lockdown” of the broadband Internet, meaning that every aspect of how the network is used could be dictated by the access provider. And when the rules governing a robust system prevent innovation and favor one set of players above all others, the system withers. Even the Internet.
(more via link below)
]]> Read More