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The Supreme Court Strikes Out

For those who care about technology, freedom, and competition, this was perhaps the worst week in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court this week handed down two

For those who care about technology, freedom, and competition, this was perhaps the worst week in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Court this week handed down two rulings which will stifle broadband competition, infringe on intellectual freedom, and slow or halt the development of new technologies.

Even for a court that has been on the wrong side of just about every issue involving democracy, the decisions were stunning.

First the court ruled that cable companies can stop their competitors from using their lines, cutting off cable competitors at their knees. Then it followed up with a decision that file-sharing services can be held liable if their customers primarily use the software for copyright-infringing purposes.

Both decisions were flat-out wrongheaded. Years ago cable companies, by law, were given local monopolies in towns and cities across the country. So they may have laid the cable lines, but the did so only because the law wouldn't allow any competitors to lay cable lines, or compete against them. It's time that stopped. Competition should be allowed to thrive, to drive down prices, and force companies to offer new services. And while DSL offers cable competition, that by itself isn't enough. Cable lines should be open to all competitors.

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