Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Future of the Borderless Net?

various commentators have pointed me towards the rather fabulous latest issue of LegalAffairs - which features inter alia Julian Dibbell on the taxation of virtual property, a novel topic if ever there was one in these our days of endles novelty,and an excellent summary of where we are in relation to the "repatriation" of the once "borderless" Net by Wu and Goldsmith, the latter one of earliest cynics, sorry, pragmatists from the days when "the law of cyberspace" libertarian wave was at its height.

Discussing the French Yahoo! case, they highlight the often overlooked point that the French court principally decided to place Yahoo! US under their jurisidiction, not out of a sense of obstinate and blind assertion of sovereignty, but because they had discovered that Yahoo! pages referred to French users were coming, not from the US site where Yahoo! were claiming the protection of the US First Amendment, but from a Stockholm mirror site. Wu and Goldsmith go on to reject the aphorism that "information wants to be free" in favour of the declarator that information wants to be organised and categorised, and point out that "geography turns out to be one of the most important ways to organize information on this medium that was supposed to destroy geography". Fascinating stuff.

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