The Laboratorium (3d ser.)

A blog by James Grimmelmann

Soyez réglé dans votre vie et ordinaire afin
d'être violent et original dans vos oeuvres.

Internet Law: Cases and Problems (8th ed.)

I have released a new edition of my Internet law casebook. While I revise and update the book every summer, this is an unusually big revision. I had had the feeling that the subject was slipping through my fingers and maybe no longer made sense, so I did a lot of soul-searching in thinking about what the previous edition no longer got right. Many, many hours later, I think I’ve managed to climb back on the tiger.

The most obvious, and therefore least interesting, feature of the new 8th edition is that it catches up with some major developments over the last year, including Carpenter, Wayfair, the GDPR, and the repeal of the network neutrality rules. In some cases, these induced substantial knock-on changes: half of my old network neutrality chapter became obsolete overnight. There are also a lot of smaller updates as newer cases and questions replaced older ones that had fallen behind the times.

In the middle of the scale, I reworked substantial swaths of the jurisdiction and free speech chapters. The jurisdiction chapter now hits unconventional but illuminating topics like choice of law and the scope of Congress’s Commerce Clause authority online. And the speech chapter now deals with much more of the troll playbook, including stalking and impersonation. I also added a section on copyrightability to the copyright chapter, with my usual irascible thoughts on the subject.

And most excitingly, I realized that Internet law has increasingly become the study of what happens on and around platforms, and rebuilt what had been the “private power” chapter around that theme. That led me to craft a new pair of sections: one on how governments can use platforms as chokepoints, and the other on platforms’ rights against governments and users. They lead naturally into the antitrust and network neutrality sections. That chapter finally makes sense, I think.

As usual, there are small corrections and typographical tweaks throughout, plus jokes, snark, and obscure cultural references. I thoroughly enjoyed working on this revision, even as it dragged on and on. I hope that you enjoy reading it, but that it won’t drag for even minute.

As usual, the book is available as a DRM-free PDF download on a pay-what-you-want basis with a suggested price of $30. It’s also available in a perfect-bound paperback version from Amazon for $65.25. Thanks as always to my editors at Semaphore Press for their fairer business model. In true Internet style, we cut out the middleman and pass the savings on to you.