November 21, 2007

Confused Billionaire Urges Blocking of Internet P2P Content

Greetings. I don't get to call billionaires "confused" every day -- after all, unless they were born to wealth, they obviously were better able to focus on the big bucks than I ever have.

But money doesn't buy understanding of complicated technical and policy issues -- or clarity of thought -- so rather than simply assert that Mark Cuban is shortsighted, silly, or perhaps just plain out of touch with the reality down in the trenches where most of us dwell, I'll simply call him confused.

When Comcast was caught with their pants down recently tampering with P2P traffic (and denying it until there was indisputable external proof), most observers understood the ramifications immediately. Comcast did more in one fell swoop to push the key issues of Network Neutrality back into the news than any other single event in the recent past.

So to see Mark spouting off with an open letter where he practically awards Comcast the Nobel Peace Prize and urges a total ban on P2P traffic (or a premium price surcharge), well again, there are many terms I could use to describe him, but I'll continue to stick with "confused" for now.

Admittedly, perhaps it's a mistake to pay much attention to Mark on this score. After all, even the more rabid P2P haters (that I've come across personally, anyway) haven't taken such a simplistic and I dare say so counterproductive a view of what's really a very complex topic.

But the risk is real that policymakers and telecom bigwigs might incorrectly assume that Mark actually knows what he's talking about regarding this matter, and that could potentially be disastrous for the Internet and its users.

So Mark, I'm sorry that your Internet connection has apparently been sluggish lately, but rather than attempting to make the entire Net march to your restrictive drummer via broad, oversimplified, and in some cases just plainly inaccurate statements, you might try working with the community toward keeping the Internet fair and equitable for everyone.

Cooperation can even work for billionaires.


Posted by Lauren at November 21, 2007 10:23 PM | Permalink
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