Internet Architecture and Innovation

Publication Type: 
Publication Date: 
September 14, 2012

Book Website
MIT Press / 14 September 2012 (Paperback)
MIT Press / 17 August 2010 (Hardcover)

Today—following housing bubbles, bank collapses, and high unemployment—the Internet remains the most reliable mechanism for fostering innovation and creating new wealth. But this engine of innovation is under threat.
The Internet’s remarkable growth has been fueled by innovation. In Internet Architecture and Innovation, now available in paperback, Barbara van Schewick argues that this explosion of innovation is not an accident, but a consequence of the Internet’s architecture—a consequence of technical choices regarding the Internet’s inner structure that were made early in its history.
Today, the Internet’s architecture is changing in ways that deviate from the Internet’s original design principles. These changes remove the features that have fostered innovation in the past and threaten the Internet’s ability to spur economic growth, to improve democratic discourse, and to provide a decentralized environment for social and cultural interaction in which anyone can participate. If no one intervenes, network providers’ interests will drive networks further away from the original design principles. If the Internet’s value for society is to be preserved, van Schewick argues, policymakers will have to intervene and protect the features that were at the core of the Internet’s success.
Selected Reviews
“As much as anything else, the economic success of the Internet comes from its architecture. The architecture, and the competitive forces it assures, is the only interesting thing at stake in this battle over “network neutrality.” … Barbara van Schewick’s extraordinary new book, “Internet Architecture and Innovation,” is perhaps the best explication of this point so far for those who should be studying these hard, new policy questions.”
Lawrence Lessig, Professor, Harvard Law School
“This book is the most comprehensive study of the issues surrounding Internet Innovation, Net Neutrality, and related issues. It lays the intellectual foundation for Internet policy over the next decade. …
Highly recommended.”
Tim Wu, Professor, Columbia Law School
“Barbara van Schewick’s book, Internet Architecture and Innovation, is out and everyone who cares about the future of the Internet should click here and buy a copy. It is not an easy read, but the architecture of the Internet and the ways in which that architecture is directly responsible for the explosion of innovation over the last 15 years is not an easy topic. … Barbara makes a compelling case. I hope everyone involved in this noisy debate reads this book.”
Brad Burnham, Partner, Union Square Ventures
“This is an important book, one which for the first time ties together the many emerging threads that link the economic, technical, architectural, legal, and social frameworks of the birth and evolution of the Internet.”
—David P. Reed, SAP Labs
“There’s a new book out on Internet policy that is essential reading for anyone interested in Internet policy—and probably for anyone interested in the law, economics, technology, or start-ups. … Barbara van Schewick’s new book, “Internet Architecture and Innovation,” is one of the very few books in my field in the same league as Larry Lessig’s Code, in 2000, and Yochai Benkler’s Wealth of Networks, in 2006, in terms of its originality, depth, and importance to Internet policy and other disciplines. I expect the book to affect how people think about the Internet; about the interactions between law and technical architectures in all areas of law; about entrepreneurship in general. I also think her insights on innovation economics, which strike me as far more persuasive than lawyers’ usual assumptions, should influence “law and economics” thinking for the better." 
Marvin Ammori, Fellow, New America Foundation
About Barbara van Schewick
Barbara van Schewick is an Associate Professor of Law and Helen L. Crocker Faculty Scholar at Stanford Law School, an Associate Professor (by courtesy) of Electrical Engineering in Stanford University’s Department of Electrical Engineering, Director of Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, and a leading expert on network neutrality.
Her research on the economic, regulatory, and strategic implications of communication networks bridges law, networking and economics. Her book Internet Architecture and Innovation (MIT Press 2010, now available in paperback) has come to be recognized as the leading work on the science, economics and policy of network neutrality. Her papers on network neutrality have influenced regulatory debates in the United States, Canada and Europe. Van Schewick has testified before the FCC in en banc hearings and official workshops. In October 2010, van Schewick received the Research Prize Technical Communication 2010 from the Alcatel-Lucent Stiftung for Communications Research for her pioneering work in the area of Internet architecture, innovation and regulation.