Beyond Our Control?: Confronting the Limits of Our Legal System in the Age of Cyberspace

Front Cover
MIT Press, 2003 M08 11 - 472 pages
An examination of current and emerging issues in cyberlaw.

This book provides a framework for thinking about the law and cyberspace, examining the extent to which the Internet is currently under control and the extent to which it can or should be controlled. It focuses in part on the proliferation of MP3 file sharing, a practice made possible by the development of a file format that enables users to store large audio files with near-CD sound quality on a computer. By 1998, software available for free on the Web enabled users to copy existing digital files from CDs. Later technologies such as Napster and Gnutella allowed users to exchange MP3 files in cyberspace without having to post anything online. This ability of online users to download free music caused an uproar among music executives and many musicians, as well as a range of much-discussed legal action.

Regulation strategies identified and discussed include legislation, policy changes, administrative agency activity, international cooperation, architectural changes, private ordering, and self-regulation. The book also applies major regulatory models to some of the most volatile Internet issues, including cyber-security, consumer fraud, free speech rights, intellectual property rights, and file-sharing programs.

From inside the book

Selected pages


Controlling the Internet Is Anyone in Charge?
Just How Different Is Cyberspace?
Is There Really a Problem Here? Sorting Out Categories of Allegedly Problematic Conduct
The Inherent Limits of Our Legal System
Part II
The Traditional Regulation Model Applying Existing Rules and Developing New Legal Frameworks at the Individual Country Level
International Models of Agreement and Cooperation
Changing the Architecture of the Internet CodeBased Regulation and Its Implications
Combating Dangerous Conduct in Cyberspace A Focus on Cyberterrorism
Combating Fraudulent Conduct in Cyberspace A Focus on Consumer Rights
Coming to Terms with Unlawful Anarchic Conduct in Cyberspace A Focus on Private Digital Copying by the Average Netizen
Confronting Inappropriate Conduct in Cyberspace Online Hate and the Inherent Limits of the Law
Subject Index
Index of Cases and Statutes

Part III
Charting a Roadmap for Prospective Regulation

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About the author (2003)

Stuart Biegel is a member of the faculty at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and the School of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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