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Friday, August 13, 2010

Net NeutraWHAT? More comments.

I found a good comment on the subject on reddit. Have a look.

What I think angers Tea Partiers and Libertarians about Net Neutrality is that it IS a modification of property rights. I'm still for it, and here's why.

In the beginning of Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig, he talks about the Supreme Court fundamentally changing property rights in 1945. It used to be that you owned your piece of land on up to "an indefinite extent upwards." Long story short, a farmer sued a pilot for trespassing when the low flying plane spooked the farmer's chickens and they freaked out in the pen and killed themselves. Given what property rights were at the time, the farmer should have won. I urge you to read the book, but ultimately the Supreme Court decided to change property rights, because this particular aspect "had no place in the modern world."

If the farmer had won, then airplanes would have to ask permission to fly above every single piece of property. It would ruin air travel. The judges decided that sucked, essentially.

Not having net neutrality can ruin the internet. While not inevitable, a strong potential is there. And that just sucks. The internet is too precious of a resource to give up just so Verison, Comcast, or whoever can make more money than they already are. There's a societal pro and con list here, and quite frankly, Net Neutrality is more important than these corporations' property rights.

To me, Net Neutrality is similar to eminent domain being able to give everyone roads which is in the interest of a greater good, and the definition of owning property being changed by the government in order to let air travel exist. In my opinion, Net Neutrality IS a challenge of property rights. Even as an ardent proponent for Net Neutrality, I must admit that it (in the technical sense) weakens property rights.

And I'm ok with that, because of what the guarantee of Net Neutrality can provide to our society. I'm sure that to a tried and true Libertarian, who would traditionally place high value on property rights, this might sound abhorrent.

And I don't mean to pick on Libertarians specifically. I'm addressing anyone who thinks that Net Neutrality is an assault on their freedom. I am someone who uses the internet, knows it, lives it, and has it ingrained in my culture. If you think that Net Neutrality limits your freedoms, with all due respect, I say your notions of property rights have "no place in the modern world."

Via ViennettaLurker on reddit.

This was a comment on an article that mentions the tea party has come out against Net Neutrality. So, if you needed another reason to support Net Neutrality, there's a damn fine one.

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