Fourth Brown Bag of the Semester – February 27, 2015

Julien Mailland, Department of Telecommunications, Media School

From two-sided pricing to gated communities: Welcome back to the eighties

In recent years, a number of internet service providers around the world have attempted to implement two-sided pricing models within the networks.  Under such models, ISPs would charge both the end-users for access to content of their choice, but also the content providers at stake for access to the end-users.  Content providers who would not pay would see their content either blocked by the last-mile ISP, or relegated to a slow lane called a “dirt road.”

So far, the economic and legal literature have focused on the negative implications of such models from the standpoint of innovation.  This talk takes a different perspective and argues that implementation of two-sided pricing models by retail, last-mile ISPs would lead to fragmentation of the Internet and the creation of gated communities at the level of each last-mile ISP implementing such model.  That situation would be reminiscent of the online landscape of the eighties, where users got on AOL, Compuserve, Prestel or Minitel, rather than on an interconnected network of networks.  I further argue that this is an undesirable outcome for two reasons.  First, such balkanization of the Internet would prevent users from reaping the benefits of network externalities that emerged when the Web drew people to the Internet.  Second, it would reduce the amount of information available to each user, which is a negative from the standpoint of the American political and international-relations theories of the marketplace of ideas and the free flow of information, both of which historically underpinned the development of the open, interconnected internet.

The key ingredient to winter biking: Layers, confidence and a touch of crazy

By: Niki Fritz

The reason Julien Mailland decided to bike through were fairly rational.

“I walked last winter and I was very very cold. I figured if I was going to be very very cold I would rather be very cold for 5 minutes (biking) instead of 25 minutes (walking),” Julien explained.

A rational thought but during an Indiana winter, rationality has a way of slipping away and splattering into a million nonsensical pieces on the icy Bloomington roads.

When I probed Julien a bit more about his possible motivations for taking on something as possibly treacherous as biking on black-iced glazed roads filled with clueless students on their phones haphazardly crossing the street, his tone got a bit more serious.

Julien ready to take on the winter roads with his new mountain bike

Julien, ready to take on the winter roads, with his new mountain bike.

“You have to be a little crazy,” Julien admits. “[Biking in the winter] is a little bit of a challenge. You are competing against the elements. You see a hill and you think okay am I going to take that hill or a spill. There is only one way to find out.”

Julien is speaking from experience on that. He took several spills on his road bike this fall before he decided to invest in a quite massive and impressive mountain bike, which so far, as allowed him to make it to work unscathed.

Of course Julien, a native of France, isn’t new to this whole biking thing. He vividly remembers watching the Tour de France every year on T.V., an event he calls the “world’s greatest free sporting event.” After his childhood days of watching biking, he became a daily bike commuter to his job in Paris, an activity that was considered normal by Parisian standards. After moving to Bloomington it seemed natural to bike, especially considering the walk from the parking lot would take him longer than simply biking from home.

While Julien finds Bloomington a fairly friendly bike town, he hasn’t gotten totally swept away in the biking culture … except for Little 500 which he went to last year and loved.

“You’re a participant observer [at Little 500.] It is really intense. 200 laps on fixed bikes. Dirt in the eyes.  It was very fun. It’s a good race,” Julien said, half trying to convince me that Little 500 was more than just an excuse for the undergrads to binge drink.” [Little 500] is a great IU tradition where the community comes together to celebrate the alma mater. I’m a French dude who felt like part of the community that day.”

Although competitive biking like the Tour de France or Little 500 isn’t really in Julien’s future, he is determined to continue to bike all winter. He insists that more of his collegues should try it. According to Julien all you need is a good bike, layers and of course confidence.

“If you are afraid, you spill. If you lack confidence that is where you fail,” Julien said matter-of-factly. “That is true of everything.”


Julien’s Top 6 Winter Biking Tips

  • Get a bike with wide tires for better grip. Keep them a little deflated to maximize surface area of the tire on the road.
  • Skate helmets make you look cool.
  • Wear many many layers. “Obviously you need gloves otherwise your hands will freeze. You need a scarf to cover your face, otherwise you will die.”
  • Try to avoid Atwater or 10th and try to avoid hitting students.
  • Always have a front and back light otherwise you will die.
  • Don’t be an idiot and be safe always!


First Brown Bag of the Semester – January 17, 2014

Julien Mailland, Department of Telecommunications, Indiana University

The Blues Brothers and the American Constitutional Protection of Hate Speech: Teaching the Meaning of the First Amendment to Foreign Audiences

“Skokie, Illinois, 1978. A retired black and white police car is stuck in traffic before a bridge where a political rally is being held by Nazis of the American Socialist White People’s Party. In the car, two men, wearing black suits, black hats, and black sunglasses, stand idle. The Nazis’ venomous leader delivers a racist and violence-mongering speech, which infuriates the onlookers. The Nazis are protected from the angry crowd of hecklers by a line of police. One of the men in black calmly states: ‘I hate Illinois Nazis,’ as the other slams the gas pedal, charges the ranks of the brownshirts and stampedes them off the bridge into the water, to the cheers of the crowd. As they drive off, the soaked Nazi commander vows revenge.” (THE BLUES BROTHERS (Universal Studios 1980). Long Synopsis).

This scene from the 1980 blockbuster comedy The Blues Brothers is a popular cultural expression of a uniquely-American legal provision: the constitutional protection of hate speech by virtue of the free speech clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The legal regime for hate speech in the United States has no equivalent anywhere in the world and is baffling to non-Americans. Europeans, in particular, whose countries served as the locus of Nazism’s horrors, tend to hold the U.S. constitutional protection of hate speech in disbelief, before shaking their heads in contempt and concluding something along the lines of “those crazy Americans.” This protection of hate speech, however, makes a lot of sense in the American context. In this paper, I argue that the aforementioned scene from The Blues Brothers has great potential to elucidate the meaning of the constitutional protection of hate speech, and, more broadly, of the First Amendment, for a non-American audience. I propose that the scene be used by comparative jurists teaching the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. I focus the comparison between the United States and France, for “France and the United States start from such different assumptions regarding freedom of speech and the relationship between speech and other rights that it is virtually impossible to reconcile their competing approaches,” a situation that creates deep cultural misunderstandings, which in turn can be reconciled using this case study. France is also relevant because it is one of the countries that has taken the most aggressive stance against American companies in the context of Nazi speech distributed globally over the Internet, which has resulted, in particular, in Yahoo!, Inc. and its executives being criminally prosecuted in France for violation of anti-hate speech laws. Fostering mutual understanding between the U.S. and France is therefore particularly important in this age of global digital information distribution. More broadly, this talk enables a discussion of the U.S. First Amendment, intercultural communication in the digital age, and the use of film in education.

Introducing Julien Mailland

By Edo Steinberg

One of the first things you notice on entering new faculty member Julien Mailland’s office, other than the lack of furniture, is the old Atari console near the entrance. He also has an old Minitel, a French computer with an alphabetically-arranged keyboard, rather than the usual “QWERTY” keyboard.

Julien Mailland with a Minitel and California Golden Bears t-shirt.

Julien Mailland with a Minitel and California Golden Bears t-shirt.

“I’ve been interested in old computers for a very long time,” Julien says. “I’ve been playing with computers since the 80’s. When I was a kid, in 1981, the French government gave every household in France a free computer that would go online. I was online before a lot of Americans went online.”

Growing up with networked computers sparked an interest in Julien. “I think we can learn a lot in terms of today’s online system, and how computers shape societies and how we can shape them in turn, by looking at the history of computers and computer networks. If you look at debates about internet regulation, like net neutrality, some people seem to think it is a new topic that should be approached from scratch, but these debates have been going on for 20 years, or in the case of the Minitel, 30 years. I think it’s interesting to put current debates in a historical context to gain insight.”

Julien has compared policymaking in the United States and France, and has been on teams that looked into policymaking in other countries, as well. “I try to do comparative work as much as I can,” he says. “We can learn a great deal about ourselves by doing that.”

Old computers aren’t just a research interest of Julien’s. They are also one of his hobbies. “I have a lot of gaming consoles,” he says. “I also have Atari computers that I used to program. I played around a lot with Minitels. Work and fun are nice when they go together.”

Julien showed his students 3.5-inch floppy discs containing games from his Atari. Surprisingly, today’s young undergraduate students are familiar with floppy discs, despite the fact that these storage devices became obsolete at least a decade ago.

Closer look at Minitel (Photo courtesy of Julien Mailland, taken from

If you think all Julien does all day is sit around and play on computers, you are very mistaken. “I am way too interested in college sports. I’m a longtime supporter of UC Berkeley’s California Golden Bears,” the school where he was an exchange student in 1997. His office is decorated with bobble-heads of the team’s coach and mascot. Julien also played racquetball while pursuing his doctoral studies at the University of Southern California.

Although he lived in the second largest city in the United States for the last five years, Julien doesn’t feel that moving to Bloomington has been much of an adjustment. “Los Angeles is very much a collection of tiny suburbs, so even though you’re in a big city, because it is so spread out, certain areas are like small towns.” Bloomington also reminds Julien of Berkeley.

One difference, though, is people’s friendliness. “I come from Los Angeles, where people aren’t known for being nice, so it’s a nice change.”

Good luck, Julien, and welcome to the department!