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Friday, September 04, 2009

Book blurb

Here's the new speil for the book - which I think sums it up nicely:

This book about net neutrality is intended to be read by the non-technical as well as the technical reader, by non-economists and by non-lawyers also. It does not accept the neo-classical price-oriented competition-based analysis prevalent in telecoms policy, discovering net neutrality to be a problem of consumer and media policy. Net neutrality is about the rules of the road for Internet users, and about the relationship between the owners of those roads and the users. It is not a debate with any easy non-controversial answers. Any solution needs to be holistic, considering ISPs’ roles in the round, including their legal liabilities for content filtering. Co-regulation is a prevalent but awkward compromise between state and private regulation, with constitutionally uncertain protection for end-users and a worryingly large latitude for private censorship, which has been increasing throughout the last decade even as the law declares ISPs to be ‘Three Wise Monkeys’. ISPs may have a free lunch: the appearance of a solution without even a partial remedy for end-users. Marsden’s argument is a ‘Middle Way’ that strikes a balance between intervention and innovation. Net neutrality is an issue with potentially profound consequences, and cannot be entirely left to market actors, however neutral or benign their motives.

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