Genuine competition requires that firms have the ability to exclude rivals. Government seizure of existing networks and technologies on behalf of rivals means that next-generation technologies will not be created by those rivals or the incumbents. The recent decision by the FCC to continue such micro-management of local telecom markets illustrates this principle; regulators have opted to continue to require sharing of local telephone lines and switches despite the fact that those rules have decimated innovation and investment in the U.S. telecom market. The key message for policymakers hoping for a high-tech renaissance: Competition in the creation of networks is as important as competition in the goods and services that get sold across those networks. Competition, innovation, and consumers will suffer if forced sharing policies are not abandoned. In today's world of increasing global communications and digital technologies, What's Yours Is Mine makes an urgently needed pro-consumer case for laissez-faire in the evolution of technology industries.
Cultural norms and regulatory approaches vary from country to country, as reflected in such policies as free speech and libel standards, privacy policies, intellectual property, antitrust law, domain name dispute resolution, and tax policy. In each of those areas, policymakers have for years enacted myriad laws and regulations for "realspace" that are now being directly challenged by the rise of the parallel electronic universe known as cyberspace. Who is responsible for setting the standards in cyberspace? Is a "U.N. for the Internet"or a multinational treaty appropriate? If not, who's standards should govern cross-border cyber disputes? Are different standards appropriate for cyberspace and "real" space? Those questions are being posed with increasing frequency in the emerging field of cyberspace law and constitute the guiding theme this book's collection of essays.