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Cyberlaw Will Die and We Will Kill It

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Document pages: 35 pages

Abstract: Cyberlaw is not Computers and the Law or Intellectual Property on the Internet. It is something far richer and more important. But cyberlaw is also ephemeral, a temporary mode of analyzing technological disruption in real time, until the day when intermediated networks become ubiquitous and cyberlaw will simply become “law.” At that time, cyberlaw will disappear, for the same reason that we no longer study “automobile law.” But for now, cyberlaw remains an important waystation, a central hub, in the study of emergent and powerful networks. This chapter uses teachings from major philosophers of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries — namely Hume, Nietzsche, and Heidegger — to reconcile and build upon the writings of some of today s leading cyber-scholars. Synthesizing these teachings, the chapter argues that cyberlaw should be understood as the study of how code, including intermediated networks, fosters disruptive feedback loops between power structures and prescriptive norms. Thus, although cyberlaw will someday merge into the general structure of the law, cyberlaw’s lasting legacy will be a methodology for studying the disruptive interplay of prescriptive norms and power structures, and how they create, destroy, and create again.

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