One of our first commenters (hooray!) picks up on a statement in Derek’s introductory post: Derek prefers (as do I) the term “information law” to “cyberlaw” because it focuses on the content itself, not only the mechanism of delivery. I would expand that to suggest that “information law” includes both medium and message. As terminology, it self-consciously opposes the traditional divide between legal fields — intellectual property, media law, telecommunications regulatory law, First Amendment law, and now cyberlaw or computer law.
To be sure, there is ever-increasing porosity between those different areas, and there are distinctive aspects of each. But I would maintain that serious thought about the future of our information society must encompass all of them, plus some familiarity with the relevant technology, business models, and geek culture. Quite a tall order…
Plus, as technology changes, what we now know as the internet and the web may well transform into new structures — perhaps, for example, edging toward what some call the “metaverse,” where technology and content are more closely integrated with everyday life through a variety of appliances. (And no one wants to study something called “metalaw” — that’s way too scary!)
By the way, an independent reason to shun the term “cyberlaw” is that I suspect the “cyber” prefix is beginning to gather a layer of dust. In the past, words like “atomic” and “supersonic” had a cool futuristic sound, but now they sound campy. “Cyber” may be headed that way.
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