Law in the Internet Society

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ZachMWFirstPaper 4 - 20 Nov 2011 - Main.EbenMoglen
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Bit Players

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 The upshot, then, is that the bottleneck has been replaced by several straws. Further, AT&T and Verizon may prove susceptible to the lean and hungry wholesaler who finds it in her interest to offer unlimited data to retail customers at wholesale prices. And if you believe what you see on TV, Sprint may be auditioning for this very role.
This essay presents some useful facts, gotten by Googling from the jumping-off point of the NYT story. It doesn't do much thinking, in the sense that all the ideas presented are the ideas contained in the material from which it builds. There's less critical analysis than there's slightly sarcastic wit. Do customers actually need data plans, for example? It depends, primarily, on two questions: how we develop our societal wi-fi etiquette, and how much computing people want to do in their cars. If people learn to share wi-fi, safely but "promiscuously," almost all terrestrial digital communications can be resolved by free sharing at no cost. If people insist on texting and reading email while driving, the tax they pay is paid in both blood and treasure.

You might consider the relationship between where the telecomms oligopolists are now and where the postal services have been. That might shed some light on a number of political economy questions at which the present essay casts a knowing wink, but to which it doesn't add anything to the reader's grasp.

You are entitled to restrict access to your paper if you want to. But we all derive immense benefit from reading one another's work, and I hope you won't feel the need unless the subject matter is personal and its disclosure would be harmful or undesirable.

Revision 4r4 - 20 Nov 2011 - 15:10:02 - EbenMoglen
Revision 3r3 - 09 Nov 2011 - 05:33:28 - ZachMW
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