David Post will discuss "Can We Defend Free Speech on the Net?" on Friday, April 9 at 12:10 p.m. in Room 128 of Yale Law School. This event is part of the Liberty Tree First Amendment Online Colloquium, sponsored by the Liberty Tree Initiative, the McCormick Foundation, and the First Amendment Center.
Can We Defend Free Speech on the Net?
If it is true, as John Gilmore reportedly said several decades ago, that "the First Amendment is just a local ordinance on the Net,"should we defend the principle of free speech across the Internet, and, if so, how do we do that? Is that merely an exercise in cultural imperialism, exporting U.S. law and U.S.-centric principles outside of our borders? Is the "bordered Internet" -- an Internet carved up into separate domains within which the law of each of the 180 or so
sovereign states around the globe prevails -- the best that we can hope for? I will argue that it is not, and that the freedom of speech is worth defending across the globe-spanning Internet, not because it is enshrined in the US Constitution but because it is a higher-order principle applicable to all. As to the "how," I will sketch out an argument about a new politics for the Internet, and the new conception of "civic virtue" and citizenship that I believe are called for if we are to collectively realize the freedom-enhancing potential of this new place.
About David Post
David Post is the I. Herman Stern Professor of Law at the Beasley School of Law at Temple University, where he teaches intellectual property law and the law of cyberspace. Professor Post is also a Fellow at the Center for Democracy and Technology, Senior Fellow of the Institute for Information Law & Policy at New York Law School, an Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute, and a contributor to the influential Volokh Conspiracy blog.
Professor Post is the author of Cyberlaw: Problems of Policy and Jurisprudence in the Information Age (3d Edition, West, 2007) (co-authored with Paul Schiff Berman and Patricia Bellia), and In Search of Jefferson's Moose: Notes on the State of Cyberspace (Oxford
U. Press 2008)