Opinion: Supremes' Rulings Leave Geeks Singing The Blues - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Infrastructure
Commentary
6/27/2005
10:37 PM
Commentary
Commentary
Commentary
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
Moving UEBA Beyond the Ground Floor
Sep 20, 2017
This webinar will provide the details you need about UEBA so you can make the decisions on how bes ...Read More>>

Opinion: Supremes' Rulings Leave Geeks Singing The Blues

A pair of Supreme Court rulings this week -- one condemning file-sharing technology, the other killing cable Internet competition -- deliver a vicious one-two punch to innovation and intelectual freedom.

For those who care about technology, freedom, and competition, this was perhaps the worst week in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Court this week handed down two rulings which will stifle broadband competition, infringe on intellectual freedom, and slow or halt the development of new technologies.

Even for a court that has been on the wrong side of just about every issue involving democracy, the decisions were stunning.

First the court ruled that cable companies can stop their competitors from using their lines, cutting off cable competitors at their knees. Then it followed up with a decision that file-sharing services can be held liable if their customers primarily use the software for copyright-infringing purposes.

Both decisions were flat-out wrongheaded. Years ago cable companies, by law, were given local monopolies in towns and cities across the country. So they may have laid the cable lines, but the did so only because the law wouldn't allow any competitors to lay cable lines, or compete against them. It's time that stopped. Competition should be allowed to thrive, to drive down prices, and force companies to offer new services. And while DSL offers cable competition, that by itself isn't enough. Cable lines should be open to all competitors.

On the file-sharing case, the justices were wrong as well. It's true that file-sharing is used to infringe on copyrighted content, but the same holds true for VCRs. The Supreme Court years ago ruled that because VCRs could be used for legitimate purposes, VCR makers could not be sued. Should we expect the justices to go after Tivos next? Entrepreneurs from now on are going to be justifiably worried if they develop some new technology that could conceivably be used to infringe on someone's copyright content --- and they may well simply stop development on it.

The only good news from the Supreme Court this week is that this year's session is over. With the judges off on vacation, at least they can't be doing anyone harm.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
IT Strategies to Conquer the Cloud
Chances are your organization is adopting cloud computing in one way or another -- or in multiple ways. Understanding the skills you need and how cloud affects IT operations and networking will help you adapt.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll