Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Paper: Shaping Code

It's a strange experience to see massive papers erupt on the subject of the research project your working on, while your own publication is still pending. On the one hand rejoice (more info, more insight), on the other hand anguish (got to hurry, our research gets outrun). The Code project I'm working on is near its end and publication will come somewhere in the following months. But in the meantime Jay P. Kesan and Rajiv C. Shah of the Institute of Communications Research of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign first published this paper on code, and now it's like the Empire Strikes Back: Shaping Code has been made available on SSRN. Again, not specifically our point of research, which will have a European twist to it anyway, but still on the regulative powers of code, and how governments may regulate code itself.
Here's the abstract:
As our initial awe over the Internet diminishes, policymakers are recognizing the need to consider regulating Internet technologies. Legislation has been passed on a number of issues from security, filtering software in schools, spam, cell phone portability, and perhaps, spyware. This approach has been ad hoc because of the lack of a comprehensive analysis of the various approaches to regulating Internet based technologies.

This paper fills this gap by providing a systematic analysis of the government's ability to shape these technologies through the use of its regulatory power, its fiscal power, and through the definition of intellectual property rights. This paper draws from Justice Breyer's seminal work on regulation and applies it to Internet technologies. This article stands apart from other work in this area because it does not focus on just one mechanism to shape code. It considers these issues from a broader perspective that examines the complete panoply of government powers to regulate and shape code. In the process, it bridges work in regulation to that within cyberspace law and communication technologies.

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