I had a cathartic experience last week courtesy of Lawrence Lessig, legendary open source champion and Harvard law professor. Though the choice of Lessig as keynote speaker at Storage Networking World in Orlando was odd -- he wasn't going to be talking about storage, after all -- he delivered an electrifying speech on broadband, Net neutrality, God, the universe, and everything. Suffice it to say, I was fired up.
After the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision last week to overturn the FCC's authority to enforce Net neutrality, I was peppered with requests for a response, probably because I've taken a hard line defending Net neutrality before. I should have had something to say, but a thousand obligatory words decrying the court's decision seemed pointless. I figured a response would come to me eventually, and it did -- about 60 seconds into Lessig's talk.
There's no way to do justice to his presentation in print. Fortunately, you can watch the whole thing for yourself, and I encourage you to do so right now. It's nearly an hour long, but worth every minute -- seriously.
At times, it has seemed like there was no point in assailing the enemies of Net neutrality. Even the FCC itself seemed to believe that Washington wasn't ready for a coordinated effort to free us from the shackles of the carriers. No matter the logic, the proof, or the reality of the situation, the companies who pour buckets of money into Washington seem to have it all locked down so tight there's no room even for discussion.
As Lessig points out, that's true inside the Beltway -- but those of us on the outside can keep pushing the issue. In fact, that may be the only way to turn this tide. And oh, but does that need to happen.