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Who Rules the Net?

About the Book

The rise of the World Wide Web is challenging traditional concepts of jurisdiction, governance, and sovereignty. Many observers have praised the Internet for its ubiquitous and “borderless” nature and argued that this global medium is revolutionizing the nature of modern communications. Indeed, in the universe of cyberspace there are no passports and geography is often treated as a meaningless concept.

But does that mean traditional concepts of jurisdiction and governance are obsolete? When legal disputes arise in cyberspace, or when governments attempt to apply their legal standards or cultural norms to the Internet, how are such matters to be adjudicated?

Cultural norms and regulatory approaches vary from country to country, as reflected in such policies as free speech and libel standards, privacy policies, intellectual property, antitrust law, domain name dispute resolution, and tax policy. In each of those areas, policymakers have for years enacted myriad laws and regulations for “realspace” that are now being directly challenged by the rise of the parallel electronic universe known as cyberspace.

Who is responsible for setting the standards in cyberspace? Is a “U.N. for the Internet“or a multinational treaty appropriate? If not, who’s standards should govern cross‐​border cyber disputes? Are different standards appropriate for cyberspace and “real” space? Those questions are being posed with increasing frequency in the emerging field of cyberspace law and constitute the guiding theme this book’s collection of essays.

Contributors include: Vinton Cerf, Clyde Wayne Crews Jr., Adam Thierer, Rep. Christopher Cox, Jack L. Goldsmith, David G. Post, Jonathan Zittrain, Michael Geist, Dan Burk, Bruce H. Kobayashi, Larry Ribstein, Robert Corn‐​Revere, Kurt Wimmer, Michael Greve, Fred Cate, Harold Feld, Eric P. Crampton, Donald J. Boudreaux.

Press Release: Who Rules the Net?

About the Editor

Adam Thierer is director of Telecommunications Studies and Wayne Crews director of Technology Studies at the Cato Institute.

What Others Have Said

“The issue of Internet governance—How should it be governed? Should it be governed at all?—is one of the most vexing yet importance areas of information technology policy. Is there something unique about the Internet that requires a new approach to issues like jurisdiction and taxation, or do conventional legal and tax frameworks apply? Who Rules the Net? which grapples with these and related questions, is a valuable compendium of some of the leading thinking on the issue.”
—Robert Atkinson, Director of the Technology and New Economy Project, Progressive Policy Institute

Who Rules the Net? examines the most important issue in Internet policy: What rules will govern in cross‐​border disputes? What was once considered a backwater issue will impact everyone. The future of free speech, consumer protection, intellectual property rights, and other issues will be determined by the decisions we make today on jurisdiction and the Internet. This book is a rich resource for people grappling with those questions.”
—James Love, Director, Consumer Project on Technology