• http://mediafrenzy.blogspot.com Russ Taylor

    Declan’s piece demonstrates that government agencies are capable of making significant regulatory ‘errors’.

    I’m studying media and communications regulation in the U.K. this year, and I definitely perceive a heightened sense among regulators here that they “know what’s best” for the average person. Scary.

  • greglas

    Lawmeme has a good comment on this.

    And JG over there has a very interesting bit about Trackback and RsOR…

  • http://www.jzip.org/ adamsj

    I particularly disliked Declan’s gratutitous bashing of the Fairness Doctrine on the grounds it discouraged the presentation of controversial ideas–I mean, I haven’t seen any great uptick in the presentation of controversial ideas since the Fairness Doctrine was shot down. The Fairness Doctrine is why, in high school, I was able to get on radio to rebut a Ronald Reagan commentary (this was between the failed run in ’76 and the successful run in ’80) on a two-tier minimum wage system. Controversial points of view aren’t what need rebuttal, after all, but conventional points of view.

  • http://www.newmediatwins.net/ Tanguy Rademakers

    I don’t agree with Declan. In my opinion this �right to reply� does more for the individual against the corporation and the small against the large. The large and the corporation have always had a de facto right to reply because they have the means and they own the medium (inasmuch as a corporation is more likely to have a bigger or more trafficed web site than an individual’s blog) whereas the individual’s right has been the right to get up on his soap box and be ignored. I find it strange that all the hubbub i’ve come across on this issue has been American – people here in Europe don’t seem too fussed about this. Granted this might have to do with the fact that the Council of Europe (not to be confused with the EU) doesn’t exactly shake the round when it walks. Finally, i’ll be a cheeky bugger and steal a quote about the article’s author: “[Declan]‘s a smart, if young, libertarian whose first reaction to any suggestion that involves government is scorn….There is one unifying theme to Declan’s posts: let the Net alone. And with a sometimes self-righteous sneer, he ridicules those who question this simple, if powerful, idea.”


  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    As Donald Weightman once put it:

    “Declan is [the] poster boy for auto-pilot libertarianism as a response to any given Net-related socio-political issue.”

    (Hmm, the original reference seems to have rolled off archives, but I cited it in a still-existing message)

  • http://www.padawan.info/ Fran�ois Nonnenmacher

    Seth has a very good point: this is not free speech vs. bad administration regulation, it’s the right of every citizen to defend themselves without having to shell out a dime to a lawyer.

    Pr. Lessig, could you tell us why you find this article great? I personnaly wonder.

  • Josh

    “It is the right of the viewers and listeners, not the right of the broadcasters, which is paramount. It is the purpose of the First Amendment to preserve an uninhibited marketplace of ideas in which truth will ultimately prevail, rather than to countenance monopolization of that market, whether it be by the Government itself or a private licensee.” – Red Lion v. FCC

    Let me start by saying I’m a huge fan of the Fairness Doctrine. As much as one can be a fan of a doctrine, anyway. Maintaining fairness over a public communications channel given away freely to corporations seems to be the right way to go when it comes to protecting the long forgotten public interest.

    However, as Declan noted in the article, there’s a difference between content regulation of broadcast and regulation of print. Specifically, that difference lies in whether or not the communications channel is privately or publicly owned. Red Lion was a broadcaster given a monopoly over a portion of the public spectrum. In return they had to play the Public Interest Convenience and Necessity game. Sounds fair to me. The Miami Herald was a privately owned newspaper that didn’t rely on anything belonging to the public to operate. Thus, the government had no right to tell it what it could and could not print. Again, sounds fair to me. One justifies regulation, the other doesn’t. Internet content falls into the Miami Herald category. The fact that a vast majority of Internet content resides on privately owned servers should keep it free from the burden of government regulation.

    One more thing in defense of Declan (shocking considering I’ve never really been a big fan of his) – It’s hardly fair to label his mention of the “possible ‘chilling effect’” as “gratuitous bashing of the Fairness Doctrine”. He clearly stated that this was Reagan’s opinion and even mentioned that it was only a possibility.

    Freedom, baby. Freedom.

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/anthonybailey/ Anthony Bailey

    AlexanderS: “Unfortunately, the links to the working drafts of the Council of Europe documents in Declan�s article are not working for me at the moment, so it�s impossible to tell whether this is another recommendation on factual correction or something different.”

    Looks like the intent was somewhat ambiguous in the wording of the original draft, but the right of reply would indeed only apply to statements of fact, and not opinions. (If so, I find Declan’s article rather misleading in this regard.)

    From a summary of the February hearing in Strasbourg on the draft:
    “Whether to grant a right of reply against opinions

    11. Several experts made the point that most European States except France and Belgium granted a right of reply only against factual statements and not against opinions. Some countries, such as Germany, would have constitutional problems with going beyond that. Furthermore, Resolution (74) 26 did not in its appendix go further than recommending that as a minimum any person or body should have a right of reply in respect of factual statements. This matter needed to be clarified in the draft Recommendation which defined “information” as including statements of opinion or ideas. “