Just weeks before the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, Lawrence Lessig has taken to the pages of Newsweek to call for the demolition of the FCC. His reasoning is that the FCC curries favor for monopolies which keeps big business and big beaurocracies in power.
Lessig wants the FCC replaced by a government regulation agency he dubs the iEPA, the Innovation Environment Protection Agency. The agency would be established by Congress and would keep a check on monopolies and the government in order to spur and protect innovation.
While Lessig makes some good points about the use of patents and copyrights, trading one government agency for another doesn’t seem like a plausible solution.
Lessig’s primary goal is the desire of many Americans – to rid government of corruption in order to create a level playing field for innovation, technology and business. His idea with the iEPA is that no one in the agency would have ties to the industry. But how do you find qualified individuals without ties?
Furthermore, the current FCC is already enabling some of the goals that Lessig desires, such as open spectrum. This year’s spectrum auction was won by Verizon but requires, due to a big enough bid by Google, to keep the spectrum open.
If Lessig truly wanted to create change, he could have probably had the job of FCC chairman. He’s been friends with the President-elect since they taught together at the University of Chicago.
Whatever the reality behind Lessig’s piece, the man is a curiosity indeed. His keynote speech at SES Chicago was appropriately academic, demonstrating the obvious need for archaic federal regulations to be updated for the YouTube hybrid generation.