Lessig: Ditch The FCC, Replace It With Innovation Agency

from the stuff-to-think-about... dept

Larry Lessig has a piece in Newsweek suggesting that the new administration abolish the FCC and replace it with something he calls the Innovation Environment Protection Agency (iEPA) -- whose purpose is less about control, and more about getting government out of the way when not necessary. The purpose of such an agency would be: "minimal intervention to maximize innovation," with a core focus on keeping the government away from handing out favors and, more importantly, carefully reviewing any government monopolies to see if they cause net benefit or net harm. He starts off by talking about monopolies on things like spectrum, but says the agency can and should expand to cover monopolies such as copyright and patents.

There's a lot to like in the proposal, in theory. One of my big problems with pretty much any government program is how little effort there is to actually look at the basic question of: is this doing what it's supposed to do? And, if not, how do we change that? The GAO does a little bit in this area, but seems mostly powerless to actually effect change. Can you imagine if there were anyone in the government who was actually looking at some of the studies showing how much harm certain government-backed monopolies do to the economy -- and had the power to do something about it? However, it seems quite likely that, in practice, the iEPA would simply get co-opted by industry types, just as the FCC has, and the end result would be pretty ineffectual, if not downright backwards looking. A government agency designed to get the government out of the way? Not sure it's really possible...
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Filed Under: fcc, innovation, larry lessig, monopolies


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  1. identicon
    eleete, 26 Dec 2008 @ 8:29am

    Re: Response to Eleete

    " The FCC doesn't regulate the entertainment business. "
    Really ? I think someone better tell them that.

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent United States government agency. The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. The FCC's jurisdiction covers the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. possessions.

    Exactly what gets broadcast over those mediums ? How can you fine Fox based on the content of a broadcast if you simply regulate frequencies?

    From there your argument rambles on about republicans bad, democrats good ! But the classic statement is that very last sentence. Who needs free tv when that kool aid is just so damn good. If you think he will bring "change" by introducing the same ole names in Washington, then keep doing what you are doing and expect something different.

    It is plain to see that BOTH parties are out for their own interests. They BOTH have failed us over the last 8 years and they pit us against one another to create the illusion of a right and wrong side of each argument. Your disdain for myself and my thoughts are proof that you're feeding right off the teet that is destroying our nation. Rather than wasting time on my comment, you should be challenging Pelosi and Hilldog to do the right things, or are they doing a perfect job?

    Now go on and ramble about how the republicans are holding them back and they can't do what is right for their constituents because Bush is an awful human being. Before you get too far, rest assured, I did not vote republican/McCain. You are sadly mislead if you believe one party over the other on any issue. They are polluticians and what they do best is lie, and take money for their own gain. Anyone who evangelizes them (on either side) does not have the sense to deal with reality.

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