A Tangled Web We Weave: Enforcing International Speech Restrictions in an Online World

Gregory S. Cooper

Abstract


It is no secret that the Internet has transforemd the way we communicate with each other in the modern world.  No longer "a unique and wholly new medium of worldwide human communication,"2 the Internet has seen a dramatic increase in the number of users across the glove, from about 40 million at a time of trial in Reno v. ACLU,3 to more than 1.1 billion today.4  As is becoming ever more clear as the technology contrinues to develpo, in merely a decade, this "explosion" of the Internet has led to a host of legal complications, challenging some of our most fundamental legal assumptions and doctrines.  Basic notions of jurisdiction and enforcement are turned on their head, as "content on the Internet does not exist in one particular place; rather, it exists in several places at once."5  But these complications are not just a matter for scholars, lawyers, and judges.  Underlying this legal chaso is a cultural battleground, as different nations find themselves confronted with the question of how to preserve national values in the face of a medium that is quite adept at transcending territorial borders.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5195/tlp.2008.41

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