Monday, March 14, 2005
Connectivity Days in Washington DC
Bob Frankston, writing to the DewayneNet Technology List, and at SATN, says:
Later this month (March 2005 for visitors from the future) we
will see two important cases presented to the Supreme Court (of
the US) [on March 29] followed by David Isenberg's
Freedom to Connect [March 30 & 31].
Of the two cases the better known is MGM vs Grokster.
Is file sharing a criminal act?
It would be tragic if the special interests of a
relatively small industry (even if very loud) were to be used to
thwart basic technologies even as the same kinds of technology
are being used by NASA to share the bounty of its expeditions.
Also on the same day, March 29, 2005, the court will hear the
"Brand X" case. At issue is the question of the degree to which
Cable TV companies can limit our choices. They have become
communications carriers essentially no different from phone
companies. It's not just about choosing your ISP
(Internet Service Provider) -- Comcast vs AOL. The services,
such as Email, are not really part of the Internet itself --
they are built on top of it. What you need is an access
provider -- you can build they services yourself.
It's if you had to buy an expensive flavoring in order
to get water delivered to your house.
The question is whether the Internet is just another television
station. Connectivity, as in the opportunity to communicate, is a
fundamental right. Any unnecessary limitations are in direct
violation of the US Constitution's guarantee of free speech.
Unnecessary is not the same as inconvenient -- if there is a way
to avoid compromising free speech then one must take that course.
David Isenberg's "Freedom to Connect" starts the very next day,
March 30th. There is already enough to talk about but the timing
of these cases will add to what already promises to be a very
exciting event but I hesitate to suggest you attend since I'm
overwhelmed just looking at the program and the list of
participants. I hope David doesn't learn from the CableCos and
Telcos because he could stretch the conference out for a whole
month and charge a high "value" price obfuscated by the
complexity a myriad of tiny twisted charges.
See you there.
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