Re: [registrars] RE: WLS comments from Registration Technologies, Inc.
> As we understand it, it is inappropriate for a monopoly to enter an
> existing market segment in which they currently do not participate if
> monopoly advantage can be leveraged to gain advantage. Accrediting new
> registrars who are not all monopolies (and could not be by definition) is
> an unrelated issue and therefore your argument is specious.
You touch on an important point here. Timely as well. I've just finished
reading an interesting interview with Lawrence Lessig, one of the better
contemporary thinkers (and do'ers) on the subject of the Internet,
technology and law. He made some very intriguing statements that I will pass
on to you here because of their relevance to our discussions concerning the
WLS. The entire interview can be read here: http://slashdot.org/article.pl?
Lawrence Lessig: Innovation always and only happens when the new is
protected from the power of the old. The internet could take off only
because the telecoms were not allowed to kill the competition; cable TV
could thrive independent of the networks because copyright law was narrowed
to mean that broadcasters couldn't leverage their power in broadcasting into
control of cable.
PW: So it's not about monopolies or cartels as much as as the past and the
LL: Yes, these examples are not so much about "trustbusting" legislation.
They are all about limitations on the power of the past to control the
PW: But surely the people who worked so hard in the past must be given
something, if only to encourage new developers who want to have something
when today and tomorrow becomes the past?
LL: I'm all for making sure that the "people" who "worked so hard in the
past" be given "something." That's different from giving the companies of
"the past" the power to stifle new innovation. We didn't give the
horse-and-buggy industry the power to stop cars; or the railroads the power
to crush commercial trucking. Why should we give (through government granted
monopolies called "copyright") the labels the power to stop a new way to
produce and distribute content? Or cable television the power to tilt the
internet against new forms of video competition?
LL: Yes. What we have got to learn again is that ours is a system that
favors competition, not monopoly. The free market is all about inducing
competition, not about granting protections from competition. Sometimes,
small exceptions to this principle are needed. But they must be kept small
if they are to remain exceptions.
PW: Ah, sovietism. That's an excellent word. There really is that
committee-made feeling about the packaged quality of modern music. The music
industry likes to borrow many words and metaphors from the free market
people. They talk about efficiencies of scale, synergy and distribution
mechanisms, but in the end there's just a small committee deciding what we
hear. It 's not really a marketplace anymore.
LL: It is control by a relatively few, in a world which could allow much
greater freedom to the many. What possible justification could there be for
protecting the power of this few, when the technology could allow so much
more for the many?
I hope that *everyone* involved in this issue hears and understands what
Larry is attempting to get across with these statements. We have a lot to
lose and a lot to gain - lets make sure that we make the right choice for
the right reasons.