Spectrum? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Spectrum

Techdirt friend and former FCC policy wonk Kevin Werbach is still talking up the idea of open spectrum. In something of a followup to an article he wrote last year giving a good explanation of the idea of “open spectrum”, he’s now taken those ideas a bit further. As he says, we don’t need spectrum rules, because there is no spectrum. He’s basically picking up on the work of David Reed (who we’ve also talked about before many times over) on why the idea of making spectrum artificially scarce no longer makes sense. It’s actually a bit surprising how many such articles have been written, and how little attention they generally receive. The one new point in this article seems to be Werbach’s assertion that tort law can solve any problems that arise from transmissions that cause harm to other communications systems. I’m not yet convinced that’s such a good idea. While I agree that it’s impossible to predict how wireless technologies will be used – and thus difficult to regulate all such uses ahead of time, relying entirely on tort law seems to be begging for people to take each other to court on a fairly regular basis.

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