Wednesday, January 18, 2012

We Should Err on the Side of Internet Freedom

Today many internet sites, my daily tools and haunts, are protesting proposed legislation. The intent of the legislation - to prevent stealing intellectual property - is noble. The proposed method of control, though, seems so burdensome on internet content transmitters that it could really cripple this wonderful tool.

I am not expert enough on the details of the legislation to say more than that about this law or that. And I am confident that our legislative process will work out to a compromise that is not as bad as the proposed law. The political forces are divided and the economic forces are divided. This is the circumstance that makes for compromise.

The internet needs regulation. Every human institution needs rules and regulation. The question is whether our presumption is to err on the side of freedom or on the side of tight control. To take two extreme examples: we need very little regulation of how the rules of children's games work; we need strict regulation of how nuclear power plants operate.

The flow of content on the internet is, I submit, more like the rules of kids' games than it is like nuclear power. Light regulation is appropriate.

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