The Wasteland: Anticommons, White Spaces, and the Fallacy of Spectrum

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53 Ariz. L. Rev. 213 (2011). Kevin Werbach, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics.

“I urge you, I urge you to put the people’s airwaves to the service of the people and the cause of freedom. You must help prepare a generation for great decisions. You must help a great nation fulfill its future. Do this! I pledge you our help.”1 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Newton Minow’s 1961 address to the National Association of Broadcasters is legendary for its caustic dismissal of television as a “vast wasteland.”2 Yet Minow intended to emphasize a different two-word phrase: “public interest.”3 Television was the most prominent use of “the people’s airwaves” — the government-defined capacity for wireless communication — and it was failing to serve national interests.

 

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