Re: PFF Agenda [cr-95/9/4]


Sender: •••@••.••• (Kurt Guntheroth)

There are people on this list who are so afraid that a monopoly might
dominate cyberspace that they are unwilling even to consider market
pricing of content or service.  I don't know what these people propose
instead, or even if they have a plan.  If their plan involves running
into the arms (jaws?) of government, I cannot recommend it as an

I want to see the following principles in whatever system keeps my net
feed alive.

 1  Common carriage; all data of a given class moves for the same price
    and service cannot be denied on the basis of content
 2  Symmetrical connection; any node may be the source of any data stream
 3  Privacy; choice of encryption left up to endpoint nodes
 4  Authors (and other owners) deserve compensation for their works
 5  Authors (not carrier, not viewer) are liable for illegal content

>Sender: "Craig A. Johnson" <•••@••.•••>

>[I]ncreasingly, it will be the
"market" that makes decisions about "load" and "content" on the Net.
>That's what AT&T/BBN, MSN, MCI/Delphi, etc. are all about.  So, we
>will have entities not only controlling content, but "making central
>decisions about price" as well.

Guess what, much valuable content is owned by the people who created
it.  Much other valuable content is purchased so that a revenue stream
can be derived from it.  I will presume Mr Johnson believes that people
who create valuable content ought to be compensated for their labors.
So it is inevitable that if we are to have much valuable content, we'll
have people including big corporations, making decisions about pricing.
I cannot look on this as inherently evil, even if it means I have to
pay for certain bits that I in my greed wish would be given me for free.

>Internet founding father and MCI Net wizard Vint Cert is talking
>about "differential charges for...different classes of service,"
>while still trying to hang on to a "best efforts" model which is
>"rather flat while showing more sensitivity for the high resource

>While Cerf opposes pricing by the packet, there is no question,
>according to Cook and others that an Internet world where charging
>for resources consumed, the type of process used, and the size of the
>pipe is in the offing.

And guess what, transmission of usenet groups costs differently than
transmission of live video feeds (if you want high fidelity).  If we
are not to charge different rates for different classes of service,
then we will have usenet readers subsidizing the cable company, or vice
versa.  I want to hear Mr Johnson or other readers explain in what way
this is fair.

What we can't have is a situation where the 500 channels of Lucy reruns
we've been promised are transmitted for one fee structure, and my home
video feed is transmitted for another, higher fee structure.  All bits
of a given class must be alike.

>Gee Kurt, have you read any of the proposed telecom deregulation
>legislation lately?  I think Exon, Coats, Dole, Grassley, Hyde, and
>a host of others would heartily agree with you on your free market
>riff but they don't seem to apply that to content.  Hmm, wonder why.

I an not so naive as to believe that a free market is likely to exist
without maintenance.  I'll challenge you to answer these questions:

 1  What principles do *you* think ought to control the way bits are priced
    on the net?  Can you outline means to achieve them in the real world
    you think is so hard on free markets.  Can you make your principles
    paletable to authors, viewers, and service providers?  Otherwise they
    will not come to the party and your dream net will never exist.

 2  What safeguards could be put in place that would make market pricing
    in cyberspace paletable?  Limits on ownership of information or
    transmission?  Limits on cross-ownership of both?  Enforcement of
    anti-trust law?  Definition in law of anticompetitive actions or
    situations?  (I hate the telecom bill too.  How do we deal with the
    reality of capitalism without succumbing to its more obvious dangers?)

Kurt Guntheroth


Sender: •••@••.••• (Glen Raphael)

"Dorothy K. Dean" <•••@••.•••> writes:
> Have you ever heard of monopolies?  Like THE PHONE COMPANY before
>the government required that it decentralize.

The phone company was a perfect example of a regulated, government-created
monopoly. This is basically the worst of both worlds; in such a situation
you get lousy service and high prices and it's ILLEGAL to start a competing
service! Free market advocates think that the government should never
prevent people from entering an industry, whether that industry be the
national phone company, a local phone company, a local taxi franchise, a
local cable franchise, or first-class mail delivery. The country started
out with multiple competing phone services, but the biggest player was able
to convince the government to lock out competition in that market. That was
the first mistake. Breaking it up was an attempt to rectify the mistake.

Most of the monopolies that really are abusive have been
government-protected monopolies, not the result of free competition. This
is exactly what we don't want to have happen in telecommunications, and
that is why I want to remove the current governmental barriers to entry in
that market. We need to let anybody who wants to start a phone or cable
company, do so. Yes, this will allow big players to compete. It will also
allow small players to compete. Either is better than the status quo in
which NOBODY is allowed to compete!

Glen Raphael, •••@••.•••
President, Stanford/Palo Alto Macintosh User's Group
<A HREF="">Home Page</A><BR>

 Posted by --  Andrew Oram  --  •••@••.••• --  Cambridge, Mass., USA
                 Moderator:  CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)

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