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?
Readings & Assignments for Week 2
Law School Students
"If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of everyone, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.
âThat ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property." - Thomas Jefferson
- 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 studentsâ games. [Due date: 9/25]
- In your journal write an entry about your experience programming and your experience playing other studentsâ 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 studentsâ games? Were there rules that you wished were enforced? Rules that you wished werenât enforced? [Due date: 9/25]
Extension School Students
- 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 .
- This is a synchronous participation assignment! Look in your email to find out which group you are in, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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)
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: