Do our metaphors for debating net neutrality leave enough room to discuss the original Web, which was glorified as a venue in which anyone could create, develop, and publish? Will concerns related to the management of an Internet of high-bandwidth video, applications, and data-driven services crowd out the ecosystem that sustains the still-vibrant “old” Internet and its “killer app,” the traditional World Wide Web of sites and “pages”?
Are the Internet and the Web a super-television, a super-telephone… or perhaps more of a super-printing-plant combined with a super-post-office? These questions of metaphor lie behind so many of the disconnects in the “net neutrality” argument, including those over whether FCC action under the Communications Act would be regulation or deregulation of the Internet.
In a press statement today, President Obama urged the Federal Communications Commission to endorse a relatively strict form of network neutrality regulation. His statement specifically endorsed classifying consumer broadband provders as telecommunications providers subject (under the 1996 Telecommunications Act, Pub. L. 104-104) to regulation as “common carriers” under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act.
The New York Times reports the story here. The Presidential statement is online here.
The FCC is scheduled to vote today on a proposal from its Chairman to revise the FCC rules governing the network management practices of “last mile” wired broadband Internet providers — those (primarily cable) companies that provide broadband Internet connections to mainstream end users. The scheduled vote is to approve issuance of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which, via the Federal Register, will be made formally available for public comment. Continue reading →
The English-language Wikipedia is ‘dark’ today, in protest against a set of bills (nick-named SOPA in the House and PIPA in the Senate). These bills are intended to create new tools to address both the online commerce in copyright-infringing works and of counterfeit goods (i.e. both Copyright Act and Lanham Act violations). In particular, they aim to target the use of foreign-registered websites for “piracy,” although opponents point to several ways in which domestic websites can also be affected.
This post originally appeared in a very similar form on lawlibrary.case.edu. This version has received additional editing, mostly related to format and presentation more than to content itself.
ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has begun to accept applications to operate new “generic Top-Level Domains.” A “top-level” domain amounts to the right-most portion of a domain name, after the final dot. Venerable examples of “generic” top-level domains include .com, .edu, .net, and .org. Applicants are to propose new TLDs while applying to be the entity that will maintain a registry of that nominated domain. Unlike previous additions of new TLDs, the new policy does not merely envision a specific one-time expansion of the namespace, but instead creates a policy mechanism for continued, possibly rapid, expansion of the number of TLDs in use.
This post is a minor update and revision (I fixed a few more typos!) of one that appeared on lawlibrary.case.edu in August 2010.
Google and Verizon made a joint announcement today of general policy principles that they billed (in a joint blog post) as a “joint policy proposal for an open Internet.” Such an announcement can be very significant in setting the parameters of debate within Congress and the FCC for the appropriate “neutrality” standard in regulating Internet service providers — regulation in which major Internet content companies and major Internet network/bandwidth providers are two of the major stakeholders (though query whether Google doesn’t now wear both hats).