April 26, 2003  ·  Lessig

On June 2, the FCC is scheduled to release new rules governing media ownership. The expectation is that the revised rules will remove limits on media concentration. The consequence of that change will be an extraordinary increase concentration, in an already concentrated industry.

These issues are hard. Big is not necessarily bad. Change in media structure is not necessarily corruption of media content. But the more I have read about creators worried about this increase in concentration, the more I have looked at this issue.

Surprisingly or not, the issue of media concentration is not being covered adequately by the media — that same media that will be affected by the changes in these rules. So that makes this ripe for the media in this space.

I’ve got a bunch of stories and statistics to report, and will. But this is something we need many many voices to report. Where else will the news not fit to print get printed — except in weblog space?

  • http://radio.weblogs.com/0110648/ steve

    The only real television coverage of this is Bill Moyers’ show NOW on PBS.

  • MikeH

    Given the pace at which the current Administration is destroying our civil liberties with the apparent indifference, if not active connivance, of the media, further concentration of the media is an ominous prospect indeed.

    Etan, you are right to be curious. “Big is not necessarily bad” is logically true, but so is “A dictator is not necessarily a tyrant”; I suggest that both statements are empirically false.

  • http://radio.weblogs.com/0108026 Gary Santoro

    I love Peter Drucker but I disagree with him on that issue. It seems he takes that position because history shows the government has not been very effective at preventing damage from a monopoly. I like to think that EVENTUALLY we will get the hang of enforcing the law and preventing the damage.

    The webpage from MoveOn.org about the FCC topic at:


  • loujosephs


    Todays Washington Post has most of the gory details.

  • http://mowabb.com/ai ambimb

    Professor Lessig, reading your books leads me to believe that you often use a measured, moderate tone to make your points in an effort to prevent your most reactionary readers from dismissing your ideas out of hand. It’s a smart strategy; however, the case of big media is no place for half-measures and moderation. You’re right: We all need to be linking to coverage of these new FCC rules and talking about them, but we need to take action against them, as well. The MoveOn.org petition is one place to start, and you can also take action at MediaReform.net.

    While petitions can be effective, isn’t there anything more the legal community could do about this? You have a large readership that respects your opinion — could you put out a more specific call for action? My understanding of the legal questions is not great, but could we mount a legal challenge against these FCC changes as an abrogation of the First Amendment? The airwaves belong to the people, not the networks or other media conglomerates. How can we call speech “free” when it goes only to the highest bidder?