Fun_People Archive
14 May
Internet Economics -

Date: Sat, 14 May 94 13:12:35 PDT
To: Fun_People-
Subject: Internet Economics -

Forwarded-by: bostic@vangogh.CS.Berkeley.EDU (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: Wendell Craig Baker <wbaker@ic.EECS.Berkeley.EDU>


Date: Thu, 1 Jul 93 12:22:12 EDT
Subject: EFF TNR article

Taxpayer Assets Project
Information Policy Note
June 29, 1993

I have been asked by several persons to post a copy of a letter
to the editor which was sent to the New Republic, following their
May 24, 1993 cover story on Mitch Kapor.  An edited version of
the letter was printed in the New Republic on June 21.
jamie love

May 18, 1993

The New Republic

Dear Editor,

I read with interest May 24, 1993 TNR cover story on Mitch Kapor,
the "new democrat from cyberspace," by Robert Wright.  Since I am
described as a critic of Mr. Kapor's Electronic Frontiers
Foundation (EFF), allow me to clarify our views on EFF and the
regulatory issues facing the emerging telecommunications

First of all, like many others, I have mixed feelings about EFF.
Many people are supportive of EFF's contributions to discussions
regarding certain privacy and first amendment issues, but wary of
EFF's positions on common carrier regulation.  As you note, this
wariness due in part to the hefty funding of EFF by the
telephone, cable, and electronic publishing industries.  The
argument by EFF that these groups have conflicting interests and
therefore cancel each other out is at best naive.

If you look at broadcast television and radio, cable television,
telephone service, wireless communications including cellular
telephones, and the Internet, one is confronted with vastly
different regulatory and funding issues.  The convergence of
these technologies raise difficult questions concerning
competition, common carrier regulation, and a variety of public
interest objectives.

If video programming is transmitted over local fiber networks,
should there be a new "fiber" versions of the equal time or
fairness doctrines for network providers?  Should these networks
be required to carry discounted political advertisements for
political candidates who volunteer to participate in limitations
on campaign contributions, as has been proposed for broadcasters?
Should network providers be allowed to own programming content,
as is the current case for broadcast and cable?  Should network
providers be allowed to reserve space for non-profit
organizations or non-commercial programming, as the FCC has
reserved broadcast spectrum for non-commercial radio and
television?  Should network providers be required to promote or
support educational or public service programming?  How will
"leased access" channels be priced?  How many local network
providers constitute effective competition?  To my knowledge, EFF
hasn't begun to address these issues in any detail, despite the
impressive resources they have devoted to the infrastructure

The nation's telecommunications infrastructure will be largely
owned and operated by private firms.  Competition is something
that few oppose rhetorically, but in practice, video and data
markets will only be competitive if regulatory issues concerning
market entry, cross-ownership, and vertical integration are
resolved properly.

No one speaks out against the "fast and free" flow of data.  The
but real issue is who will own and control access to the emerging
telecommunications infrastructure, and what will be the new
regulatory framework.  I do not share the belief that a totally
deregulated market will solve all our problems, nor do I believe
that we will see a completely deregulated market.  We are likely
to continue to see regulatory barriers to entry in some markets,
highly concentrated ownership of full motion video transmissions,
anti-competitive practices, and effective or ineffective efforts
to resolve common carrier and pricing problems.

Many persons ("new" and "old" democrats, as well as republicans)
are alarmed at the increasing pace of concentration in the
ownership of the telecommunications infrastructure.  We hope that
EFF will make valuable contributions to the debates over these
issues, but it will never do so unless it is willing to take
positions that alienate many of the firms and trade associations
that provide its funding.

James Love
Center for Study of Responsive Law
P.O. Box 19367
Washington, DC  20036

     Note on EFF funding

Partial lists of organizations funding EFF appeared on the
com-priv internet discussion group on April 15, 1993.  Jerry
Berman recently told Jeff Chester from the Center for Media
Education that EFF had raised more than $2 million for this
year's operating budget.

abcd - The Microcomputer Industry Association
Adobe Systems, Inc.
Advanced Network & Services, Inc.
Agson, Inc.
American Civil Liberties Union
Apple Writers Grant
Apple Computers
Bauman Foundation
Bell Atlantic
Benton Foundation
Capital Cities ABC
Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association
Computer and Communications Industry Association
Computer and Business Equipment Manufacturers Association
Digital Equipment Corporation
Dun & Bradstreet
Eastman Kodak
Ed Venture Holdings
Electronic Mail Association
Gilmore, John
Government Technology
Graphics Technologies, Inc.
Hertzfeld, Andrew
Information Technology Association of America
Information Industry Association
Interval Research
Iris Associates
Kapor, Mitchell D.
Kapor Family Foundation
Logistics Management, Inc.
Lotus Development Corporation
MCI Telecommunications
Merisel, Inc.
Micro Computer Centers Inc.
Microsoft Corporation
National Cable Television Association
Newspaper Association of America
P C Parts Express
Prodigy Services Company
RSA Data Security
Seneca Data Distributors, Inc.
Software Publishers Association
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Telecommunications Industry Association
Tides Foundation
United States Telephone Association
Westbrook Technologies
Winer, David
Ziff Davis

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[=] © 1994 Peter Langston []