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Standardizing Government Standard-Setting Policy for Electronic Commerce

MARK A. LEMLEY Stanford Law School


    The U.S. government's policy towards open standards in electronic commerce is inconsistent. On the one hand, the Magaziner Report endorses the idea of interoperable standards and open standard-setting processes for electronic commerce. It also suggests that governments should not be involved in setting technical standards. Unfortunately, the Report also endorses government intervention in the standard-setting process in the case of encryption. Further, it recommends expanding intellectual property rights, without acknowledging the difficulties this can cause for open standards. Professor Lemley's article draws attention to this inconsistency, and suggests ways that the government could help promote open standards if it truly wished to do so.
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