Tech at Night

Tech at Night took Christmas off (in fact I even decided not to bother to put up a post saying I was taking Christmas off), so I have some catch up to do. Looks like nine links tonight, so let’s start.

Jack Shafer at Slate of all places has made fun of Net Neutrality by detailing what might have happened had the FCC regulated information services back in 1993 instead of starting it now in 2010. Poor Marc Andreessen really does take the brunt of it, but it’s funny and enlightening at the same time.

Meanwhile George Ou points out a hidden danger of Net Neutrality: if we start regulating the Internet aggressively, other countries just might treat it as open season, to the detriment of the same openness we’re supposed to be trying to protect. Oops.

Further, debate rages on the left to determine just how sold out they were by the FCC’s unwillingness to ignore the law completely instead of just breaking the law as they did.

It turns out the fraud behind the Net Neutrality movement runs ever deeper than we knew: The ALA has been astroturfing for Free Press and its front group Save the Internet, over on Wikipedia. Can we please just make Wikipedia run ads already, forcing the site to bend to the will of market forces instead of its army of astroturfers and shills?

Over at Barron’s, Thomas G. Donlan doesn’t pull his punches: he draws the cl ear line between Net Neutrality and respect for property rights, and comes down on the side of property instead of regulation. It’s refreshing. Earlier in the same link you’ll also see him make an unflinching defense of free trade as good for Americans, which is off our topic here but also interesting.

So let’s move on to other property rights, those of the “intellectual” variety. The courts are implicitly targeting the NFL’s property rights by allowing a lawsuit to proceed accusing Electronic Arts, exclusive video game licensee of the NFL, of “price fixing” because it raised prices on its Madden video game series after buying (with money, mind you) that exclusive license. If the NFL can’t sell exclusive licenses without those licensees being targeted in the courts, then it is in fact the NFL’s rights that are diminished, I maintain.

James Delong seems to defend a mild criminalization of copyright law, which I disagree with, but I link in order to cover both sides of what is going to be a long and spirited debate on the right, I believe.

Two more quick links to close the night: The Comcast/NBC Universal merger marches on with support from the FCC. The deal is shameful (or should I say shameless?) in the amount of government dictates it’s loaded with, but I suppose the shareholders would rather proceed than not. So half a cheer for this.

A city government is going to try an experimental light-based Internet service. I think this is a bad idea. It sounds easier to sniff than even wireless Internet. This is a privacy disaster waiting to happen, in my estimation.

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Nima Jooyandeh facts.