You are cordially invited to a special Information Society Project lunch speaker series featuring Nicholas Bramble discussing “Should the FCC Let AT&T Be? Standing on the Shoulders of Weary Giants of Flesh and Steel” on Friday, April 2 at noon in Room 128 of Yale Law School.
Should the FCC Let AT&T Be? Standing on the Shoulders of Weary Giants of Flesh and Steel
The Federal Communications Commission is in the midst of two rulemakings that will shape the future of the Internet. The National Broadband Plan rulemaking, recently completed, includes a series of recommendations for building out fast, competitive, and nation-wide broadband access. The Open Internet rulemaking, currently underway, has more to do with the "neutrality" of that infrastructure and whether or not it will continue to be open to the construction of reliable application and content platforms by innovators unaffiliated with the owners of the underlying infrastructure.
Skeptics of these rulemakings—and skeptics of governmental regulation of the Internet more broadly—have raised institutional, constitutional, and jurisdictional objections to the FCC's authority. This talk has three parts. First, I will offer a rough map of the political economies of Internet regulation (and deregulation), and discuss whether regulation is an appropriate metaphor for what's going on here. Second, focusing on a case study in broadband and education, I'll examine some ways in which the two rulemakings might promote the progress of science and useful arts more effectively than full deregulation or other statutory mechanisms. Finally, we'll talk about the First Amendment objections to proposed Internet nondiscrimination and transparency rules, with an eye on how common carrier status might ground the FCC's rulemaking authority and balance competing assertions of free speech rights by network providers and by users.
Nicholas Bramble is a Postdoctoral Associate in Law and Kauffman Fellow in Law at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, where he conducts research on the problems of collective action and the promises of civic engagement relating to open access in the university setting. Prior to his appointment at Yale, Mr. Bramble was a judicial clerk for the Honorable Charles F. Lettow of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. He is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School, where he was the online managing editor of the Journal of Law & Technology.