Law in the Internet Society

Law in the Internet Society

Professor Eben Moglen
Columbia Law School
Fall 2023

All revisions will be due by 5pm on Friday 19 January. If you need more time, email an extension request and your deadline is automatically extended to February 1. If you have completed your revisions and you want your grade immediately, please email me.

Now that the term has concluded, my office has been returned to me and we can meet in it. I will hold office hours Tuesday 12 December and Thursday 14 December, 12:30-4pm. I will also be in my office, likely busy with technical work but at least botherable, Wednesday 13 December. Otherwise, please email

On the Radar

Noam Chomsky, Ian Roberts and Jeffrey Watumull, The False Promise of ChatGPT, New York Times, March 8, 2023


Kashmir Hill, The Technology Facebook and Google Didn't Dare Release, New York Times, September 9, 2023

Johann Hari, Your attention didn't collapse. It was stolen, The Guardian, January 2, 2022

Timnit Gebru, For truly ethical AI, its research must be independent from big tech, The Guardian, December 6, 2021

Rebecca Ratcliffe, Social media creating virus of lies, says Nobel winner Maria Ressa, The Guardian, November 18, 2021

Shoshana Zuboff, You Are the Object of a Secret Extraction Operation, New York Times, Nov. 12, 2021

Ayad Akhtar, The Singularity Is Here, The Atlantic, November 5, 2021

Ethan Zuckerman, Hey Facebook, I Made a Metaverse 27 Years Ago, The Atlantic, October 29, 2021

Jim Dwyer, Volkswagen's Diesel Fraud Makes Critic of Secret Code a Prophet, September 22, 2015

Eben Moglen, Transcript: When Software is in Everything: Future Liability Nightmares Free Software Helps Avoid, June 30, 2010

People Love Spying On One Another: A Q & A With Facebook Critic Eben Moglen, Washington Post, November 19, 2014

Watch: IASC & the Elinor Ostrom Award, Commons In Action (2014)

Primary Readings

The most important book to read this term is Shoshana Zuboff, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power (2019). Because it is 700 pages long, you will try not to, but you must.

The second most important is Sherry Turkle, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other (2012).

For access, see ReadingList.


Introduction, Political Economy:
The Way We Live Now

Sociology, Economics, Legal Theory:
Grasping the Net

Copyright and Other Intellectual Improperty:
Anarchists, Authors, and Owners

Carriage Regulation:
Controlling the Switches

Privacy in Private and Public Law:
The State, The Spook, The Cop, Her Wife, and His Lover

Eyes Wide Shut:
Taboo Enforcement and Free Expression

Making Broadcasters Unconstitutional:
Rethinking Media Law

Electronic Democracy:
Restructuring Politics

A Word on Technology Old and New About the Word

This seminar is an attempt to learn about, understand and predict the development of law in a rapidly changing area. We must assemble the field of knowledge relevant to our questions even as we begin trying to answer them. Wiki technology is an ideal match for the work we have in hand. Below you will find an introduction to this particular wiki, or TWiki, where you can learn as much or as little about how this technology works as you want.

For now, the most important thing is just that any page of the wiki has an edit button, and your work in the course consists of writings that we will collaboratively produce here. You can make new pages, edit existing pages, attach files to any page, add links, leave comments in the comment boxes--whatever in your opinion adds to a richer dialog. During the semester I will assign writing exercises, which will also be posted here. All of everyone's work contributes to a larger and more informative whole, which is what our conversation is informed by, and helps us to understand.

Please begin by registering. I look forward to seeing you at our first meeting on the 6th.

Introduction to the LawNetSoc Web

The LawNetSoc site is a collaborative class space built on Twiki [], a free software wiki system. If this is your first time using a wiki for a long term project, or first time using a wiki at all, you might want to take a minute and look around this site. If you see something on the page that you don't know how to create in a wiki, take a look at the text that produced it using the "Edit" button at the top of each page, and feel free to try anything out in the Sandbox.

All of the Twiki documentation is also right at hand. Follow the TWiki link in the sidebar. There are a number of good tutorials and helpful FAQs there explaining the basics of what a wiki does, how to use Twiki, and how to format text.

From TWiki's point of view, this course, Law in the Internet Society, is one "web." There are other webs here: the sandbox for trying wiki experiments, for example, and my other courses, etc. You're welcome to look around in those webs too, of course. Below are some useful tools for dealing with this particular web of ours. You can see the list of recent changes, and you can arrange to be notified of changes, either by email or by RSS feed. I would strongly recommend that you sign up for one or another form of notification; if not, it is your responsibility to keep abreast of the changes yourself.

LawNetSoc Web Utilities


Webs Webs

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r350 - 17 Jan 2024 - 04:40:42 - MarinaFratt
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