Leviathan Spam

by on September 23, 2009 · 18 comments

Leviathan Spam

Send the bits with lasers and chips
See the bytes with LED lights

Wireless, optical, bandwidth boom
A flood of info, a global zoom

Now comes Lessig
Now comes Wu
To tell us what we cannot do

The Net, they say,
Is under attack
Stop!
Before we can’t turn back

They know best
These coder kings
So they prohibit a billion things

What is on their list of don’ts?
Most everything we need the most

To make the Web work
We parse and label
We tag the bits to keep the Net stable

The cloud is not magic
It’s routers and switches
It takes a machine to move exadigits

Now Lessig tells us to route is illegal
To manage Net traffic, Wu’s ultimate evil

The FCC in Oh Eight bought into the theory
And Comcast, the Chairman determined to bury

Then on Nine Twenty One
Genachowski declareth
Thou shalt not give primacy
Networks, you must shareth

The Net’s great virtue was decentralization
But Julius from on high decreed concentration
of power and decisions over all peers
Substitute bureaucrats for Net engineers

You may not
Shall not
Cannot cap
It’s discrimination!
Don’t you know that?

You may not give
the bits a weighting
No matter importance, voice or data

You may not
Shall not
Cannot charge
Even though
the bytes are large

In what other sector
is pricing illegal?
All for nothing as business model
is laughably feeble

Silicon, wires, software glue
It takes tens of billions to make bits move

You cannot charge
You cannot price
You cannot cap
It won’t suffice

No, no, they say, to bit analysis
Though it may lead to Net paralysis

We will not tolerate Q. O. S.
Not Weighted Round Robin
Nor flow-based service

Not Q-in-Q
Not PBT
Nor SLAs
at Layer Three

Storewidth and caching to speed the bits through
Akamai, Limelight cut latency to you
Though the result is customer speed
Don’t you get it? You may not give priority

Content, conduit, Googleplex
This neutrality thing may lead to bit wrecks

We thought all was well
3G, 4G, then WiMax!
But the once free Net
suffered bureaucratic attacks

When zetta visual bits
and mobile nets collide
Will the Chairman answer his phone?
. . . Or run and hide?

Out: speed, gadgets, quantum innovation
In: lobbyists, lawyers, mass litigation

Come to Washington
Ask us permission
Don’t they know it’s abundance they’re missin’?

But abundance is over
Scarcity is cool
We thought the Web was different
Now who’s the fool?

Moore’s law transcends
the cramped, dire fears
of misnamed Free Press
They’re no high tech seers

Mr. Chairman, please
might you cut us a break?
Should D.C. micromanage
the guts of cyberspace?

If you ban the codes that make the Net work
DiffServ, IPsec, and Dual Leaky Bucket
Net investors may revolt
and with fury say ————!

Who knows what the Web will bring
Which business models or networks will reign
With Net traffic growing at 60 percent
Shouldn’t techies experiment?

With fiber and cable
to bandwidth enable
Googleplex servers
a giant content stable

We do useful things like
BRED and Draft Martini
But once Neutrality is loosed,
might we never bottle this genie?

What about MPLS
and Inter Frame Gap?
Utopians now rule
Get used to that fact

Traffic, apps, digital value exploding
So tell me, FCC
What the heck is the problem?

The Net keeps on giving
Like water to wine
No artificial limits
Abundance sublime

But D.C. takes this great bounty for granted
Reap others’ rewards, assume innovation planted

Tera, peta, exa, zetta
So long free Net, see ya later

Miracle though the Net may be
The global telecosm is not free

— Bret Swanson

  • http://techliberation.com/author/berinszoka/ Berin Szoka

    Double plus brilliant, Bret! Your poetry really hits the key points, including the point Adam and I tried to make in our The Day Internet Freedom Died in Forbes: Neutrality regulation for the infrastructure layer of the Internet will lead to neutrality regulation for applications, devices, API, search, cloud apps, etc. because the basic principle is the same: only government can discipline the “gatekeepers” who control access to a platform.

    The bucket / —— rhyme is particularly clever.

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  • MichelangeloF536

    Awesome. Simply awesome.

  • http://www.techliberation.com Adam Thierer

    Absolutely brilliant, Bret! Your fable might be destined to become for the neutrality wars what R.W. Grant's classic story “Tom Smith and His Incredible Bread Machine” is to antitrust.

  • dm

    No comment on the buzzword doggerel, but a hearty thank you to Berin for stating his thesis so clearly: “Neutrality regulation for the infrastructure layer of the Internet will lead to neutrality regulation for applications, devices, API, search, cloud apps, etc.”

    Stated like that, its absurdity is pretty clear. We have standards in a lot of areas (the names of many of them bubble up in the poem above), they do chafe a bit sometimes, but they make innovation possible, and they make possible one company's routers to talk to another's.

  • dm

    PS, I'm interested in the take of your “privacy regulations hurt consumers” faction on Netflix's proposal to improve their service by releasing their customers' data: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/09

  • Brett Glas

    Blurgh…. Blorgh…. Ptoo…. Wiping coffee off of my shirt. Dang, there's too much on it; I'm going to have to CHANGE my shirt. Witty and brilliant. And right on the mark.

    The sad thing is that, as a small, independent broadband provider, upon whom community members depend, I can't just run away from the problem of inappropriate regulation as investors can. My life is in my company. If this regulation is defeated, Google won't be out of business, and their puppets in DC — such as Free Press, Public Knowledge and the New America Foundation — will simply lick their wounds and move on. But I'll be out of business.

  • Brett Glas

    Blurgh…. Blorgh…. Ptoo…. Wiping coffee off of my shirt. Dang, there's too much on it; I'm going to have to CHANGE my shirt. Witty and brilliant. And right on the mark.

    The sad thing is that, as a small, independent broadband provider, upon whom community members depend, I can't just run away from the problem of inappropriate regulation as investors can. My life is in my company. If this regulation is defeated, Google won't be out of business, and their puppets in DC — such as Free Press, Public Knowledge and the New America Foundation — will simply lick their wounds and move on. But I'll be out of business.

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