Negotiating With a Protocol

This, imho, is pretty much the portrait of a corporate “solution” to the “problem” of P2P
Comcast and BitTorrent: Why You Can’t Negotiate with a Protocol

The problem is that you can’t negotiate with a protocol, for the same reason that you can’t negotiate with (say) the English language. You can use the language to negotiate with someone, but you can’t have a negotiation where the other party is the language. You can negotiate with the Queen of England, or English Department at Princeton, or the people who publish the most popular dictionary. But the language itself just isn’t the kind of entity that can make an agreement or have an intention.
This property of protocols — that you can’t get a meeting with them, convince them to change their behavior, or make a deal with them — seems especially challenging to some Washington policymakers. If, as they do, you live in a world driven by meetings and deal-making, a world where problem-solving means convincing someone to change something, then it’s natural to think that every protocol, and every piece of technology, must be owned and managed by some entity.

I think we’re at the threshold of one of those eras where the old guard simply doesn’t understand the rules any more and is reflexively dealing with the new reality using all the power of its impotent tools. Sure, a frustrated Lizard – a HUGE frustrated lizard, mind you – is pretty terrifying to be on the wrong end of. However, the poor system simply can’t comprehend what’s happening to it. All it can do is lash out, find someone to take to lunch and negotiate a contract with.
Sad, really.

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