Weeks Pages/Week2

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LAW and Cyberspace

What a weird pairing. I've chosen to ignore all pedagogical guidance and forge ahead on this question myself. I first encourage everyone to read Michel Foucault's essay, "What is an Author?", partially excerpted here.

Consider what authorship means on this wiki. Does it generate identity? Can law function without discrete identities?

Iraqi prisoner.jpg Pribars.jpg

Readings & Assignments for Week 2

Law School Students

  • Readings
    • Charles Fried, Modern Liberty, Chapter One [1]
    • Daniel Gilbert, He Who Cast the First Stone Probably Didn’t. New York Times, July 24, 2006 [2]
  • Assignments
    • Write a game or other animation of your choice in Scratch. Post your completed game on our course wiki in the Scratch Gallery. [Due date: 9/24 (note the early time, to give others a chance to try out your game!)]
    • Download and play at least two other students’ games. [Due date: 9/25]
    • In your journal write an entry about your experience programming and your experience playing other students’ games. Address the question of the relationship of code to law in your game. Were there laws that you felt constrained by in writing your code? Were there laws that you used code to enforce? How about in the other students’ games? Were there rules that you wished were enforced? Rules that you wished weren’t enforced? [Due date: 9/25]
    • Thomas Jefferson

Extension School Students

  • Readings
    • Charles Fried, Modern Liberty, Chapter One [3]
    • Yochai Benkler, Wealth of Networks, Chapter 6 (PDF) and Chapter 7 (PDF)
  • Assignments
    • Write a journal entry in your Moodle Journal responding to the lecture and readings for this week.
    • (Thursday, 9/21 21:00 GMT-5) Second Life scavenger hunt [4].
      • This is a synchronous participation assignment! Look in your email to find out which group you are in, or contact harvard.cyberone@gmail.com.

Summaries & Notes from Readings


In his introduction, Benkler refers to "social production." What is this phenomenon and what does it have to do with networks? What if anything (stupid qualifier) about it concerns The Law?

What is social capital? Will new networks such as the internet, and the emergence of viable open source alternatives, render this idea useless as a competitive advantage? Availability of internet access, by world region (a little out of date)

Link to GNU General Public License info

The SETI@Home Project. 3 million computer users contribute their computers to seeking extraplanetary life. If successful in its ultimate goal, this program could easily make its owners by far the wealthiest people who have ever lived. Who "owns" the possibility of discovering alien life? What would John Locke say? U.S. Copyright Law?

In his introduction, Benkler also discusses 'affordances' - the idea that "technology sets some parameters of individual and social action". It is worth considering the application of this idea to the influence of law on what is achieved in cyberspace. Examples and events that may be relevant to this include: