IP Meets Communications

Susan Crawford explains why she, and other insightful scholars such as Larry Lessig, Yochai Benkler, and Tim Wu, see an important bridge between intellectual property and communications law:

“The copyright concerns that scholars have been focused on for the last ten and more years are proxies for the central problem facing the internet: private control of our internet experiences. We’re moving from the conceit of owning information (the problem of IP, the problem taken on by Jamie Boyle in his 1996 Shamans, Software, and Spleens) to the conceit of owning the public internet itself – or, in other words, the conceit of owning flows of information.”

As communications law person myself, I’m excited to see this development. Unintentionally, I believe, “cyberlaw” has largely been associated with IP, with communications seen as a narrow, technical offshoot of administrative law. In reality, the law governing the network is as important to what occurs on the network as the law governing creative works. We all have much to learn from each other’s expertise.