The Archives

Everything written by Ben Sperry on law, economics, and more

ICLE’s Amicus Briefs on the Future of Online Speech

Over the past few months, we at the International Center for Law & Economics (ICLE) have endeavored to bring the law & economics methodology to the forefront of several major public controversies surrounding online speech. To date, ICLE has engaged these issues by filing two amicus briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court, and another in ... ICLE’s Amicus Briefs on the Future of Online Speech

ICLE Files Amicus in NetChoice Social-Media Regulation Cases

Through our excellent counsel at Yetter Coleman LLP, the International Center for Law & Economics (ICLE ) filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the Moody v. NetChoice and NetChoice v. Paxton cases. In it, we argue that the First Amendment’s protection of the “marketplace of ideas” requires allowing private actors—like social-media ... ICLE Files Amicus in NetChoice Social-Media Regulation Cases

Health Care and Health Insurance Merger Retrospective: A Personal Law & Economics Experience

My colleagues at the International Center for Law & Economics (ICLE) often engage not only in excellent analysis of proposed mergers and acquisitions, but also have been known to offer retrospectives on past mergers. Today, I want to offer a very personal version of this.  A little background: on June 3, 2022, I was diagnosed ... Health Care and Health Insurance Merger Retrospective: A Personal Law & Economics Experience

What Does NetChoice v. Bonta Mean for KOSA and Other Attempts to Protect Children Online?

With yet another win for NetChoice in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California—this time a preliminary injunction granted against California’s Age Appropriate Design Code (AADC)—it is worth asking what this means for the federally proposed Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) and other laws of similar import that have been considered in ... What Does NetChoice v. Bonta Mean for KOSA and Other Attempts to Protect Children Online?

The Marketplace of Ideas: Government Failure Is Worse Than Market Failure When It Comes to Social-Media Misinformation

Today marks the release of a white paper I have been working on for a long time, titled “Knowledge and Decisions in the Information Age: The Law & Economics of Regulating Misinformation on Social-Media Platforms.” In it, I attempt to outline an Austrian law & economics theory of state action under the First Amendment, and ... The Marketplace of Ideas: Government Failure Is Worse Than Market Failure When It Comes to Social-Media Misinformation

Right to Anonymous Speech, Part 3: Anonymous Speech and Age-Verification Laws

An issue that came up during a terrific panel that I participated in last Thursday—organized by the Federalist Society’s Regulatory Transparency Project—was whether age-verification laws for social-media use infringed on a First Amendment right of either adults or minors to receive speech anonymously. My co-panelist Clare Morell of the Ethics and Public Policy Center put ... Right to Anonymous Speech, Part 3: Anonymous Speech and Age-Verification Laws

Minor Matters in Cyberspace: Examining Internet Age-Verification Regulations

I participated yesterday in a webinar panel hosted by the Federalist Society’s Regulatory Transparency Project. The video was livestreamed at YouTube. Below, I offer my opening remarks, with some links. Thank you for having me. As mentioned, I’m a senior scholar in innovation policy at the International Center for Law & Economics (ICLE). This means ... Minor Matters in Cyberspace: Examining Internet Age-Verification Regulations

Right to Anonymous Speech, Part 2: A Law & Economics Approach

We at the International Center for Law & Economics (ICLE) have written extensively on the intersection of the First Amendment, the regulation of online platforms, and the immunity from liability for user-generated content granted to platforms under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. One of the proposals we put forward was that ... Right to Anonymous Speech, Part 2: A Law & Economics Approach

Right to Anonymous Speech, Part 1: An Introduction from First Principles

What is anonymity? Do we have a right to it? And against what other values should this right be balanced when it comes to government regulation? This blog post will be the first in a series that looks at what anonymity is, why it is important, and what tradeoffs should be considered when applying a ... Right to Anonymous Speech, Part 1: An Introduction from First Principles

Broadband Deployment, Pole Attachments, & the Competition Economics of Rural-Electric Co-ops

In our recent issue brief, Geoffrey Manne, Kristian Stout, and I considered the antitrust economics of state-owned enterprises—specifically the local power companies (LPCs) that are government-owned under the authority of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). While we noted that electricity cooperatives (co-ops) do not receive antitrust immunities and could therefore be subject to antitrust enforcement, we ... Broadband Deployment, Pole Attachments, & the Competition Economics of Rural-Electric Co-ops

Antitrust and FCC Oversight Are Needed to Promote Broadband Deployment in the Tennessee Valley

In late June, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) sent a letter to Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter arguing that the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) needs to investigate the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and its local power companies (LPCs) on grounds that abuses of the pole-attachment process appear to be slowing broadband deployment. Given that Congress has prioritized subsidizing broadband access ... Antitrust and FCC Oversight Are Needed to Promote Broadband Deployment in the Tennessee Valley

Dynamic Competition Proves There Is No Captive Audience: 10 Years, 10G, and YouTube TV

In Susan Crawford’s 2013 book “Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age,” the Harvard Law School professor argued that the U.S. telecommunications industry had become dominated by a few powerful companies, leading to limited competition and negative consequences for consumers, especially for broadband internet. Crawford’s ire was focused particularly ... Dynamic Competition Proves There Is No Captive Audience: 10 Years, 10G, and YouTube TV