March 10, 2008
More On Network Neutrality
Viktoria Kocsis and Paul de Bijl, CPB Netherlands Bureau of Economic Policy Analysis, have published "Network Neutrality and the Nature of Competition Between Network Operators," in volume 4 of International Economics and Economic Policy (2007). Here is the abstract.
The neutral architecture of the Internet is being challenged by various parties, such as network operators providing the connections to end-users, who are interested in gaining control of the information exchanged over the Internet. What are the effects on competition and welfare of such practices? Currently, there exists very little economic theory on network neutrality. This paper provides a preliminary analysis of the type of economic modeling that can address network neutrality, as well as of the type of results that can be expected.
Download the article from SSRN here.
A Paper on U. S. Broadband Regulation
Thomas W. Hazlett, George Mason University, and Anil Caliskan, George Mason University School of Law, have published "Natural Experiments in U. S. Broadband Regulation," as George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper 08-04. Here is the abstract.
Network neutrality (NN) regulations governing how broadband Internet Service Providers (ISPs) package and price high-speed last mile access are being considered. Advocates say such rules are necessary to separate transport and application layers of the Internet, protecting innovation at the edge. Opponents argue that such rules are unnecessary and could block efficient forms of vertical integration. Either side points to future developments - NN advocates to anti-competitive foreclosure by ISPs, opponents to a deterrence of investment due to regulatory disincentives - as primary arguments. Such predictions are sharply contested.
A natural experiment, however, may yield market evidence. U.S. residential broadband markets have been subject to open access rules, analogous to NN regulation, that have varied across time and technologies. These policy switches allow empirical measurement of consumer reactions. Using the simple metric of market penetration, which incorporates both demand and supply effects, the relative effectiveness of rival policy regimes can be appraised.
This paper considers three distinct regimes governing the two leading technologies for residential broadband, cable modems (CM) and digital subscriber line (DSL) service. Prior to 1Q2003, CM service was unregulated (and has remained so), while DSL was subject to network unbundling mandates that included line sharing rules enabling rival Internet Service Providers to access last-mile loops at incremental cost. CM service enjoyed nearly a two-to-one market share advantage during this period. Following 1Q2003, when line-sharing rules were eliminated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), effectively raising wholesale access prices, DSL subscribership sharply increased relative to trend and to DSL trend and to contemporaneous CM subscriber growth. This pattern continued unabated following further deregulation in 3Q2005, when the FCC classified DSL as an information service. By year-end 2006, DSL subscribership was about 65% above the linear growth trend established in the regulated pre-1Q2003 era, some eight to ten million more households than predicted. This evidence, in sum, suggests open access broadband regulation deters subscriber growth, potentially important empirical input into the ongoing regulatory debate.
Download the paper from SSRN here.
Bloggers Strike at the Honolulu Advertiser
From a sister blog [brother blog?] comes the news that bloggers at the Honolulu Advertiser have apparently pulled off the first ever bloggers' strike. Backed by Newspaper Guild-CWA Local 39117, these writers at the paper managed to get new talks out of management by refusing to post. See more in Mitchell Rubenstein's post from the Adjunct Law Prof Blog here, in a post from the AFL-CIO blog here, and in a story from the New York Times here.
When the Media Becomes the Story
The New York Times's Adam Cohen discusses the sad story of ADA Louis William Conradt, caught by NBC's "To Catch a Predator" and local law enforcement. Mr. Conradt killed himself, and his family sued NBC. A federal judge is allowing the suit to go forward. When are journalists reporting, and when are they enhancing, the story?
Network Neutrality in the EU
Filomena Chirico, Ilse M. Van Der Haar, and Pierre Larouche, all of the Tilburg Law and Economics Center, have published "Network Neutrality in the EU" as TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2007-030. Here is the abstract.
This paper seeks to assess exactly where and how the network neutrality discussion taking place in the United States is relevant in the EU context, and thus where Europeans should be concerned. Secondly, where there is a concern, it looks to EC law to ascertain whether it already provides a response or whether further action at the legislative or regulatory level would be needed. The paper tackles three contentious issues of the net neutrality debate: discrimination, blocking user access to content and access-tiering. It does so by first singling out the markets affected by such practices, then analysing the competitive situation therein and finally discussing EC law response to the concerns thus identifies. Moreover, the analysis is put in the perspective of the more general discussions surrounding the appropriate infrastructure policy in the EU.
Download the entire paper from SSRN here.
Regulation of Advertising in Online Games
Thomas Steiner, NCCR Trade Regulation - Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research, has published "Advertising in Online Games and EC Audiovisual Media Regulation" as NCCR Trade Regulation Working Paper No. 2008/3. Here is the abstract.
Advertising in Online Games (AOG) has received much attention in recent reports on the future of advertising. Consulting firms, market research institutes, leading e-marketing magazines, influential bloggers, and mass media assess and comment on the potential of these new models of advertising. The present article looks at AOG from the viewpoint of European audiovisual media law and policy. It suggests a typology of both online games and AOG. Based on that typology, the author introduces AOG as an object of regulation; evaluates motives, technical justifications and objectives in favor of regulating AOG; and analyzes critically the new EC Audiovisual Media Services Directive as a prospective regulatory tool to accomplish these objectives.
Download the entire paper from SSRN here.
Australian Mag Says It's Sorry For "Prince Harry" Story
An Australian magazine which "outed" Prince Harry earlier this year now says it did not know about an agreement between the British press and the Ministry of Defence to keep his deployment in Afganistan a secret. The magazine, New Idea, apologizes for any part it had in bringing him home early.
The Ethics of Publishing
Here's more from Roy Greenslade, this time on whether The Scotsman should have published that interview with Samantha Power, then advisor with Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama.
What's Ahead For the New York Times
From across the pond, Roy Greenslade shares a view of the woes besetting the New York Times.
March 9, 2008
It's Baby Weight, You Meanies!
Lisa Marie Presley, now Mrs. Michael Lockwood, is suing the Daily Mail over reports that she had gained weight. She says that once journalists began speculating that she was putting on the pounds, just like her late father Elvis had, "`they have been like a pack of coyotes circling their prey whilst eerily howling with delight.' " She claims that in essence, she has been forced into disclosing the news about her pregnancy before she would have. She also alleges that some articles have suggested that she and her mother Priscilla have argued over her weight when that is not the case. "It's like, 'she's gonna die like her father', 'her and her mom are in a fight because of her weight' - that's not true at all. It's just awful stuff.'" Read more here in a BBC story.
Judge Rules Former Reporter In Contempt, Imposes Fine
U. S. District Judge Reggie Walton has found former reporter Toni Lacy in contempt for failing to disclose the identify of sources who leaked information to her about Dr. Steven Hatfill. Dr. Hatfill is suing the Department of Justice for invasion of privacy and defamation. Judge Walton refused to stay the order against Ms. Locy, ruling that she failed to show that she would be likely to prevail on the merits on appeal and that Dr. Hatfill would be irreparably injured by a delay. Judge Walton imposed a substantial daily fine which Ms. Locy is to pay personally, until she either complies with the order or until April 3, 2008, when she is to appear in court before Judge Walton. Ms. Locy seems likely to appeal. Here's more from the New York Times.