Who Rules the Net? Internet Governance and Jurisdiction

By Adam Thierer; Clyde Wayne Crews Jr. | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Against Cyberanarchy
Jack L. Goldsmith

The Supreme Court's partial invalidation of the Communications Decency Act on First Amendment grounds 1 raises the more fundamental question of whether the state can regulate cyberspace at all. 2 Several commentators, whom I shall call “regulation skeptics,” have argued that it cannot. 3 Some courts have also expressed skepticism. 4 The popular and technical press are full of similar claims. 5

The regulation skeptics make both descriptive and normative claims. On the descriptive side, they claim that the application of geographically based conceptions of legal regulation and choice of law to a-geographical cyberspace activity either makes no sense or leads to hopeless confusion. On the normative side, they argue that because cyberspace transactions occur “simultaneously and equally” in all national jurisdictions, regulation of the flow of this information by any particular national jurisdiction illegitimately produces significant negative spillover effects in other jurisdictions. They also claim that the architecture of cyberspace precludes notice of governing law that is crucial to the law's legitimacy. In contrast, they argue, cyberspace participants are much better positioned than national regulators to design comprehensive legal rules that would both internalize the costs of cyberspace activity and give proper notice to cyberspace participants. The regulation skeptics conclude from these arguments that national regulators should “defer to the self-regulatory efforts of Cyberspace participants.” 6

This chapter challenges the skeptics' arguments and their conclusion. The skeptics make three basic errors. First, they overstate the differences between cyberspace transactions and other transnational transactions. Both involve people in real space in one territorial jurisdiction transacting with people in real space in another territorial jurisdiction in a way that sometimes causes real-world harms. In both contexts, the state in which the harms are suffered has a legitimate interest in regulating the activity that produces the harms.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Who Rules the Net? Internet Governance and Jurisdiction


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 499

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?