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How do you solve a problem like the Internet? Not with net neutrality.

Regulators, politicians, and policy wonks have struggled to develop a regulatory framework for the Internet for 20 years, and for the most recent decade the solution seemed to be the principle of net neutrality. Neutrality promises a continuation of the Internet’s quirky sense of normal, a state of affairs where new applications emerge out of nowhere and become central fixtures in a matter of weeks. The Internet was once all about eccentric little blogs and web sites. Then it shifted to Google, only to pivot to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; or maybe it’s really all about Netflix and a new home for HBO. The only constant in this environment is that the flavor of the month will be replaced by something tastier as soon as we get comfortable with it.
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Telecom law primer: Program access and program carriage rules

Last week, President Obama endorsed the reclassification of broadband Internet access as a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act. The president’s concern, and the concern of other net neutrality supporters, is that broadband providers may misuse their position in the Internet ecosystem to affect upstream markets for Internet-based content. Of course, this is not the first time the FCC has considered the potential for anticompetitive foreclosure by a network provider. For nearly a quarter-century, the commission has administered the program access and program carriage rules, which guard against the risk that a cable company will abuse its position as a bottleneck in the video distribution market.
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Resisting Internet abuse with private policing

The Internet can be a rough place. In the last few months, a number of women in technology, particularly those involved in the ongoing “Gamergate” debate, have been victim to extraordinarily vicious attacks. In my social circles, "never read the comments" has become a common catchphrase, used to remind people that website comment threads tend to be not just shallow, but alarming. The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project has recently released a study on the topic of online abuse. They found that the problem is pervasive: according to their research, 18% of American Internet users have suffered serious harassment, including physical threats, stalking, or sexual harassment. The problem is especially serious for young users. Of Internet users between the ages of 18 and 24, roughly a quarter – of both sexes – have been physically threatened.
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This web boom must end!

In his Monday endorsement of public utility regulation of the Internet, President Obama said we need new rules to make sure ISPs don’t “limit your access to a website.” We need to overturn two decades of existing policy and replace it with the old telephone laws, the President argued, so that “companies can’t decide which online stores you should shop at or which streaming services you can use.” Isn’t it possible, however, that the bounty of content and commerce we enjoy on the Internet today is a direct result of not treating it like a government utility? In 2001, as former FCC Chief Economist Tom Hazlett just reminded us, Larry Lessig, an early advocate of more regulation, said that if we didn’t impose open access rules, the Internet would die. When open access, or unbundling, a cousin of today’s Title II proposal, was dropped in favor of a more hands-off approach, Lessig lamented that “the Internet revolution has ended just as surprisingly as it began.” What does the evidence since then tell us?