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Sunday, May 11, 2014

My origins in net neutrality

Well of course I also start with Noam and Lemley/Lesssig - in fact you could argue a chance meeting with Mark in Austin in 1997, or with Eli at ITS'98 Stockholm. Whatever the reasons, I got all three to Warwick in May 1999 and that made me write about net neutrality in my Council of Europe report in June 1999. But it was then reinforced by my own dip into corporate life, both with start-up ShortMedia (an anti-net neutrality play) and with huge mega-bust ISP competitor WorldCom in 2001-2002. The book explains a bit in the preface but I will extend in the second edition:
"I had spent 2003 on self-reinforced sabbatical in Barcelona following the dot-com meltdown (specifically my video-on-demand start-up ShortMedia, with inspirational co-founders Doug Laughlen and Ivan Croxford) and more particularly the grotesque fraud at MCI WorldCom, following which I had resigned on principle in July 2002. The lack of consumer broadband in the period 2000-2 ended the hopes of many for a rich multimedia Internet at that point – there was capital, but no users to consume or help create mash-ups from licit or illicitly distributed content.... my contacts with David Clark and Bill Lehr, to whom I had presented local video-on-demand strategies in 2000 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, their home base."

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