A Horizontal Leap Forward: Formulating a New Communications Public Policy Framework Based on the Network Layers Model
86 Pages Posted: 30 Dec 2010 Last revised: 13 Jul 2014
Date Written: May 20, 2004
U.S. policymakers face a virtual conundrum: how best to incorporate the new Internet Protocol (“IP”)-centric services, applications, and facilities into the nation’s pre-existing legal and public policy construct. Over the next several years, legislators and regulators will find themselves increasingly challenged to make the Internet adapt itself to the already well-defined bricks-and-mortar, services-and-technologies environment that exists today under the Communications Act and other statutes.
Some argue that new IP services should be “shoe-horned” into the existing requirements of the legacy system, despite the poor fit. Others believe that new classifications and definitions can be created within the confines of legacy regulations. In this Author’s view, however, the optimal solution is to turn the conundrum around on itself, and to begin adapting our legal thinking and institutions to the reality of how the Internet is fundamentally changing the very nature of the business and social world.
In this Article, the Author will explain that trying to impose the current, outmoded legal system onto the Internet and all its IP progeny is a flawed, damaging, and ultimately doomed approach. Instead, policymakers should adopt a new public policy framework that regulates along horizontal network layers, rather than legacy vertical silos.
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