Law 897: The Law in Cyberspace
Overview of the Seminar

From 1930 to 1941, New York University published the Air Law Review, devoted to the proposition that there was something distinctive about regulation of aircraft, flight and radio broadcasting that defined a legal subspeciality, because all of them took place in the air. In 1941, the Review ceased publication.

Today, there are multiple law journals devoted to Internet law, and lawyers debate whether Internet law comprises a coherent legal field. Some commentators have suggested that the Internet poses unprecedented challenges to conventional law, which assumes that both regulatory and adjudicatory jurisdiction derive from geographic boundaries. Legal scholars have gone so far as to suggest that we treat the Internet as its own distinct jurisdiction, and adopt Internet-specifc laws, rules, and adjudicatory mechanisms. Others insist that talking about the law in cyberspace is as silly as talking about the law in the air. The Internet, they insist, is made up of computers and networks that, like the air, exist in extant jurisdictions and are subject to their laws. Both characterizations have a lot of truth to them.

In a very short time, the Internet has reshaped our lives. According to the Pew Internet and Life Project, 73% of Americans are Internet users, and and 42% have broadband Internet access at home. Nonetheless, we are only beginning to formulate the laws that govern cyberspace. A variety of efforts to apply current law to the Internet have yielded a variety of different results. Attempts to draw new laws to address the distinct problems of the networked digital environment have run into logistical and political problems as well as legal ones. The seminar will examine the law in cyberspace as it develops. Most of the assigned texts will be material available online.


Your grades will consist of three, equally weighted components:

Assignments and class discussion:


This document, the revised syllabus, the list of topics and a hypertext-enhanced bibliography will be available at   In addition, because servers sometimes go down, I will post copies of the assignments and files for the current week only at



Go to the list of paper topics

Go to the seminar Syllabus

Go to the list of Sources

Go to the New Developments page

Send e-mail to me at jdlitman -at-