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Content, Platform Strain Best Handled By Business

Publication Date: 
May 13, 2008
Investor's Business Daily
Sheila Riley

Professor Mark Lemley is quoted in an Investor's Business Daily article about how Internet news content should be handled and to what extent the government should be involved when it comes to copyright:

Private companies setting standards also are a risk, according to Mark Lemley, who heads Stanford University Law School's law, science and technology program.

There's danger in either government or private enterprise with significant market power determining rules for how the Internet should operate, Lemley says.

"That's a hard question of regulatory design," he said.

Total regulation of cyberspace — a "Mother, may I?" model — isn't a good idea, but neither is a Wild West approach with no regulation, he says.

"We can have a happy medium," Lemley said.

Under the current Internet, everyone has an incentive to innovate and there's no monopoly on new ideas, Lemley says.

But too much power in the hands of government or a couple of big companies would decrease innovation, he says.


Lemley also took direct aim at telecom companies. "If everything is under the control of the people who own the wires, then those companies have an incentive to innovate, but no one else does," he said.

Preserving an environment that allows for an industrywide level of creativity — not favoring networks as opposed to application and service providers — has to be the most important regulatory goal, he says.

"The innovation that has made the Internet great has come from application and service providers," Lemley said.