Cyberspace Law: Edited Book by Professor Travis Adopted for Teaching Law at FIU and Howard University

Cyberspace Law: Edited Book by Professor Travis Adopted for Teaching Law at FIU and Howard University

A new book edited by Hannibal Travis of the FIU College of Law faculty offers in-depth commentary on the transition of the Internet from a freewheeling space to a more restricted medium.  The American Civil Liberties Union calls the filtered Internet the third age of cyberspace.  Filtering involves the flagging and taking down of material alleged to violate the law or policies of an Internet intermediary such as Google.  It is an increasingly automated process that may be insensitive to distinctions drawn by the Constitution or other laws.

Internet companies often define their missions as making the world’s knowledge available to everyone with access to the World Wide Web, and organizing content for easier accessibility.  Internet filters threaten to censor expressive commentaries, slow the growth of innovative companies, and change the nature of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other popular Internet services. While limiting indecent, offensive, or illegal content, filters will sweep more broadly.

Professor Travis, working with a variety of leading theorists of Internet regulation and a practitioner of cyberspace law from Silicon Valley, has released a book analyzing leading Internet law cases, entitled Cyberspace Law: Censorship and Regulation of the Internet. The book is being published by Routledge, a global publisher of academic books and journals.

Chapters by Professor Travis provide an overview of key points in the regulation of cyberspace, including the ongoing struggle between the Federal Communications Commission and Internet infrastructure owners over net neutrality, the failed effort by the federal government to force “indecent” content behind credit-card filters that verified users’ ages, and initiatives by the Federal Trade Commission and private parties to improve privacy on Facebook.  Contributions by Margreth Barrett of the University of California, Johanna K.P. Dennis of the University of Vermont, and Jasmine Abdel-Malik of the University of Missouri describe threats to cyberspace freedom posed by new forms of patent and trademark enforcement.  Claims that search engines, e-commerce sites, and basic Web services encourage users to violate intellectual property rights could reshape the way that Internet users are allowed to exercise their digital freedoms.  Methods of accessing knowledge on Google and YouTube, for example, may trigger harsh copyright liability, and confront courts with new questions about whether to impose filters on how videos may be shared, or how books are made searchable.  Lateef Mtima of Howard University and Amir Hassanabadi of Fenwick & West share insights from their deep research into the courts’ resolution of lawsuits seeking to impose billions of dollars’ worth of copyright liability on digital libraries and video sites.  Finally, the culpability of Internet service providers for offensive material that their services make available online is an issue that illuminates a potential conflict between U.S. and European approaches to Internet content, a conflict that is particularly acute in cases of implicit threats by means of incitement or celebration of mass violence.  Ann Bartow and Raphael Cohen-Almagor provide rich accounts of cyberlaw’s responsibility problem.

Plans are underway to assign chapters of the book in the copyright law curriculum at FIU, and the cyberspace law curriculum at Howard University.

Table of Contents

1. Claiming web addresses as property / Margreth Barrett

2. The promise of information justice / Lateef Mtima

3. Owning methods of conducting business in cyberspace / Johanna K.P. Dennis

4. Red flags of “piracy” online / Amir Hassanabadi

5. Who controls the Internet? : The second circuit on YouTube / Hannibal Travis

6. Is eBay counterfeiting? / Jasmine Abdel-Khalik

7. Bad samaritanism: Barnes v. Yahoo and Section 230 ISP immunity / Ann Bartow

8. Internet responsibility, geographic boundaries, and business ethics / Raphael Cohen-Almagor

9. Neutralizing the open Internet / Hannibal Travis

10. The “monster” that ate social networking? / Hannibal Travis

11. Conclusion: taking it down / Hannibal Travis


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