September 28, 2006  ·  Lessig

I’m on a flight from Japan to New York for the Anderson event tonight. It is an ANA flight with wifi and ethernet jacks in at least the business/first class seats. There doesn’t seem to be any technical blocking (though I can’t get FTP to work very well). But interestingly, on the instruction sheet, it says:

ANA kindly requests that passengers refrain from using internet based voice applications and refrain from viewing objectionable material over the internet as it may disturb other passengers.

It is interesting (and refreshing) to see places where the authorities believe norms are a sufficient regulator. It is also interesting (and not surprising) to parse the “request.” Only the second restriction is explained — viewing porn, e.g., would disturb others. Fair enough. But the first restriction is not explained — until you flip the page to read about the telephone service the airplane offers (at about $10/minute).

(Note, the norm technique may also be what Google is doing on its fantastic new service giving free PDFs of works in the public domain. They too request the work not be used commercially.)

  • http://akira.arts.kuleuven.ac.be/andreas/blog/ Andreas

    Maybe the explanation for the first restriction is the same as the second one: people voip’ing for hours may disturb others – note that this is similar to the numerous requests on Japanese trains asking you to refrain from talking on the phone, and even turn off your cell in the vicinity of seats for the elderly.

  • http://www.geekswithblogs.com/gaijin42 Jason Coyne

    I concur, that the reason is not to annoy others. Your response : but what about their phone!

    At $10/min the calls are likely restricted to urgent calls, or the really rich people. Both are rare enough that the average pain a traveller has to go through are pretty low.

    Reduce the cost to free (or at least nothing additional over the net access) and usage will surely climb.

  • ACS

    Why should Google request that users not use works in the public domain for commercial use?? Surely public domain works do not have rights in them that may be infringed??

    It is odd, isn’t it?

    Perhaps the grundnorm for Google is referenced to users and not owners of the defiled substance Google purveys?

  • Lessig

    So the frequency of use response to the response to the phone eg is a good one. Maybe that’s it, and I hadn’t thought of that (very good) point. Re Google: I think it’s more “we’ve given the public this cool thing for free, and we don’t want it used against us”. But I dont know. They need to speak for themselves.

  • As

    Note, the norm technique may also be what Google is doing on its fantastic new service giving free PDFs of works in the public domain. They too request the work not be used commercially.

    How is a $100+ billion company not a commercial venture?