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Monday, October 20, 2003

Today's New Blawg

Andrew McLaughlin, Harvard law professor and senior Berkman fellow [via Donna and Dave], provides a detailed analysis of the recent Minnesota VoIP decision:

So how can Judge Davis conclude that Vonage is not an phone-to-phone IP telephony provider?  His opinion is less than crystal clear, but the answer appears to center on the fact that the Vonage system provides computer-to-computer or computer-to-phone service (keeping in mind that the Cisco box that sits between the customer's broadband connection and her telephone is a computer), but never phone-to-phone. ...

Stressing that information services can legitimately be deployed on top of telecommunications infrastructure without being pulled into the orbit of telecommunications regulations, Judge Davis finds that Vonage uses telecommunications services, but does not provide them. ...

In my judgment, this a fantastic victory for the Internet, and a hugely significant precedent.

Also weighing in on the Minnesota decision is Doug Simpson, who wonders whether c | net was correct in suggesting a conflict between the case and the 9th Circuit's recent Brand X decision. JD Lasica offers an enthusiastic response concerning his experiences with Vonage competitor Packet 8. (See also Cringely's Inc. column.)

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