7.28 Summary and SAQs

This section was largely about how established industries are using law and architecture to counteract threats created by innovations on the internet. Lessig sees this counter-revolution succeeding at the expense of innovation. He suggests compulsory licensing as a possible way of balancing the needs of existing businesses with those of internet innovators, allowing ‘compensation without control’.

As the internet increasingly migrates to broadband (high-speed) use, via cable networks for example, it is moving to networks with more controlled architectures – remember, on cable content flows faster upstream than downstream. Broadband cable owners have no obligation or incentive to operate open e2e architectures.

We have also looked at how these developments might affect an area of public policy like privacy. There are general incentives for commerce to support the development of a business-friendly architecture for the internet. Such an architecture leads to increased use and processing of personal data, which has a direct impact on privacy.

These changes may have a negative effect on the internet as an innovation commons.

7.28.1 Self-assessment Questions