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Ruling the Net - Technology, Policy and the Future of Governance > Syllabus

Ruling the Net - Technology, Policy and the Future of Governance Syllabus

Syllabus as of 9/15/04
09/15/04 - 12/13/04

Ruling the Net:
Technology, Policy and the Future of Governance
Syllabus – Fall 2004

September 13, 2004

Mondays and Wednesdays, 1.10 pm to 2.30 pm / L332

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger
Office Hours: by appointment
Rm. L242
Email: Viktor_MS@harvard.edu


The Dotcom and Telecom bubbles have burst, yet the Internet is still thriving. Ecommerce is growing substantially faster than the rest of the economy and the ‘net has reshaped entire sectors like book retailing, travel services, and the financial industry. At the same token, regulatory polices – such as intellectual property – may need much more than just an evolutionary adjustment. Overall, information (and control over it) has become a more visibly source of power. And unlike the speed of technological change, we have made little progress in debating the larger policy implications: from the ownership of content to the delivery of e-government services, to online democracy and the future of governance. Building on studies of recent cases and developments, this course examines strategic challenges and analyzes policy options for decision-makers in both the public and private sectors.


Course Materials will be available as Course Packs at the Course Materials Office (CMO).


The grade is based on four components of student activity: active class participation, discussion and response papers.

-        Students are expected to do the readings for each session and actively participate in class discussions. There will be "cold calling". Participation will have a weight of 30 percent of the final grade.

-        Finally each student is expected to write THREE discussant papers and THREE respondent papers, at least one for the second and third part of the course. A discussant paper is eight to ten pages in length, double-spaced, 12 point type, providing an analysis on a given discussion question for that session. The discussant paper is due at 6 pm two days before class and must be submitted in electronic form by email to the instructor/CA. A respondent paper is a response to a discussion paper, three pages in length and must be submitted electronically by 6 pm the day before class. Students will sign up for the sessions they write a discussant or respondent paper. The discussion and respondent papers have a combined weight of 70 percent of the final grade.

Please be advised that I will use the KSG recommended grade distribution. Please note that papers are products of an individual student’s efforts and not the result of teamwork among students. Plagiarism is a serious offense of the KSG code of conduct.


Session 1 (Wednesday, September 15):
Introduction: The Power of Information and the Age of Access

No readings for the first class! :)

Session 2 (Monday, September 20):
Access to Information Processing

-        Nicholas Negroponte, Being Digital, Knopf (1995), pp. 11-20
-        Gordon E. Moore, Moore’s Law, in Richard Rhodes (ed.), Visions of Technology, Simon & Schuster (1999), pp. 243-244
-        Castells, The Rise of the Network Society, Blackwell 1996, pp. 40-47
-        Edwards, The Closed World – Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America, MIT Press 1997, pp. 60-73

Session 3 (Wednesday, September 22):
Access to Information Acquisition

-        Vipin Gupta, New Satellite Images for Sale, International Security 20, Summer 1995, pp. 94-125
-        David Braunschvig / Richard L. Garwin / Jeremy C. Marwell, Space Diplomacy, Foreign Affairs July/August 2003, pp. 156-164

Session 4 (Monday, September 27):
Access to Information Dissemination

- Neuman/McKnight/Solomon, The Gordian Knot, MIT Press 1997, pp. 45-84

Session 5 (Wednesday, September 29):
The Power of Access: The Case of B92

-        Matic, Internet and Dictatorship, USIP speech, online at http://www.medienhilfe.ch/Projekte/FRY/Belgrade/B92/dictator.htm
-        Pantic, B92 of Belgrade, Media Studies Journal, New York, Fall 1999, Vol. 13, Issue 3, pp. 176-181
-        Matic/Pantic, War of Words: Then the bombs came, Serbia’s B92 hit the net, The Nation, November 29, 1999, issue 18, pp. 34-35


Session 6 (Monday, October 4):
Governance of Information: Intellectual Property Laws

-        Paul Goldstein, Copyright’s Highway (1994), pp. 3-36
-        Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, In Search of the Story (manuscript)

Session 7 (Wednesday, October 6):
Governance of Information: Coase’s Lighthouse and other Tales of Information Economics

-        Hal R. Varian, Markets for Information Goods, http://www.sims.berkeley.edu/~hal/Papers/japan/
-        William M. Landes / Richard A. Posner, The Economic Structure of Intellectual Property Law. Harvard UP 2003, pp. 37-70
-        Oz Shy, The Economics of Network Industries, Cambridge University Press (2001), pp. 1-8

Session 8 (Wednesday, October 13):
Governance of Information: Windows XP v. P2P and the Battle for Technical Control

-        Stan Liebowitz, Policing Pirates in the Networked Age, CATO Institute Policy Analysis No 438, May 2002, http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-438es.html
-        Lawrence Lessig, Code: and other Laws in Cyberspace (1999), pp. 122-141
-        Peter Biddle / Paul England / Marcus Peinado / Bryan Willman, The Darknet and the Future of Content Distribution, http://msl1.mit.edu/ESD10/docs/darknet5.pdf

Session 9 (Monday, October 18):
Governance of Information: Creative Commons v. Theft and the Battle for Political Control

-        Lawrence Lessig, Free Culture, Penguin 2004, pp. 257-271
-        Stephen Manes, Full Disclosure: Copyright Law – Ignore at Your Own Peril: If digital pirates win, we’ll all lose, PC World, September 2003
-        BSA/Harris, Tweens’ and Teens’ Internet Behavior and Attitudes About Copyrighted Materials, April 2004, http://www.bsa.org/usa/research/

Session 10 (Wednesday, October 20):
Governance of Information: Marketizing Privacy?

-        Kenneth C. Laudon, Markets and Privacy, Communications of the ACM September 1996, pp. 92-104
-        Pamela Samuelson, Privacy as Intellectual Property?, 52 Stanford Law Review 1125 (2000)

Session 11 (Monday, October 25):
Governance of Enforcement: Whose rules for virtual space?

-        Wallace/Mangan, Sex, Laws, and Cyberspace (1996), 1-40
-        Joel Reidenberg, The Yahoo! Case and the International Democratization of the Internet, Fordham Law and Economics Research Paper No. 11, April 2001, http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=267148

Session 12 (Wednesday, October 27):
Governance of Enforcement: Efficiency and Justice?

-        Michael Geist, Fair.Com?: An Examination of the Allegations of Systemic Unfairness in the ICANN UDRP, 27 Brooklyn Journal of International Law, pp. 903-938
-        Annette Kur, UDRP, http://www.intellecprop.mpg.de/Online-Publikationen/2002/UDRP-study-final-02.pdf

Session 13 (Monday, November 1):
Governance of Enforcement: Of Courts, Communities, and Markets of Information

-        Clayton Gillette, Reputation and Intermediaries in Electronic Commerce, 62 Louisiana Law Review 1165 (2002)
-        Julian Dibbell, A Rape in Cyberspace; or, How an Evil Clown, a Haitian Trickster Spirit, Two Wizards, and a Cast of Dozens Turned a Database into a Society, in Mark Dery (ed), Flame Wars (1994), pp. 237-261

Session 14 (Wednesday, November 3):
Governance of Rule-Making: Cyberspace and the Plurality of Authority

-        Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, The Shape of Governance, 43 Virginia Journal of International Law (2003), pp. 605-673

Session 15 (Monday, November 8):
Governance of Rule-Making: Code is Law

-        Lawrence Lessig, Code: and other laws of Cyberspace, Basic Books 1999, pp.  24-42 and 83-99
-        William J. Mitchell, City of Bits, MIT Press 1995, p. 111-121

Session 16 (Wednesday, November 10):
Governance of Rule-Making: Against Techno-Determinism

-        Claude Fischer, America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1950 Berkeley University of California Press (1992), pp. 1-21
-        Wiebe Bijker / Trevor Pinch, The Social Construction of Facts and Artifacts, in Bijker et al, The Social Construction of Technological Systems: New Directions in the Sociology and History o Technology, MIT Press 1987, pp. 17-50


Session 17 (Monday, November 15):
…commerce: Blown to Bits?

-        Peter F. Drucker, Beyond the Information Revolution, The Atlantic Monthly, October 1999, pp. 47-57
-        Philip Evans / Thomas Wuerster, Getting Real About Virtual Commerce, Harvard Business Review 11-12/1999, pp. 85-94
-        B. Joseph Pine, Mass Customization – The New Frontier in Business Competition, HBS Press (1993), pp. 44-52

Session 18 (Wednesday, November 17):
…government services: The Holy Grail of Egov

-        James SL Yong / Lim Hiap Koon, e-Government: Enabling Public Sector Reform, in Yong, E-Government in Asia, Times Editions 2003, pp. 7-21
-        Jane E. Fountain, Building the Virtual State, Brookings 2001, pp. 193-206 and 241

Session 19 (Monday, November 22):
…activism: Borderless Empowerment?

-        Cleaver: The Zapatista effect: The Internet and the rise of an alternative political fabric, Journal of International Affairs, Spring 1998, Vol. 51, Issue 2, pp. 621-41
-        Ronfeldt/Arquilla/Fuller/Fuller, The Zapatista Social Netwar in Mexico, RAND 1998, pp. 113-127
-        Sandor Vegh, Classifying Forms of Online Activism, in McCaughey & Ayers, Cyberactivism, Routledge 2003, pp. 71-95

Session 20 (Wednesday, November 24):
…participation: Bridging the Digital Divide

-        NTIA, A Nation Online: How Americans Are Expanding Their Use of the Internet, February 2002, http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/dn/
-        Bringing a Nation Online: The Importance of Federal Leadership, July 2002, pp. 1-19

Session 21 (Monday, November 29):
…democracy: From John McCain to Howard Dean

-        Anthong G. Wilhelm, Democracy in the Digital Age, Routledge (2000), pp. 32-47
-        Richard Davis, The Web of Politics, Oxford University Press (1999), pp. 168-186
-        Gary Wolf, How the Internet Invented Howard Dean, Wired 12.01, January 2004, pp. 138-143

Session 22 (Wednesday, December 1):  
…security: Confronting the Dark Side

-        Committee on Science and Technology for Countering Terrorism, National Research Council, Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism, 2002, pp. 135-176 also at http://www.nap.edu/html/stct/index.html

Session 23 (Monday, December 6):
…state: The Global Village and the Nation State

-        Robert O. Keohane / Joseph S. Nye, Jr, Power and Interdependence in the Information Age, Foreign Affairs 1998, vol. 77(5), pp. 81-94
-        Richard Rosecrance, The Rise of the Virtual State, Foreign Affairs July/August 1996, pp. 45-61

Session 24 (Wednesday, December 8):
…society: Our ‘Second Life’?

-        Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media – The Extensions of Man (this edition 1994), pp. 3-6
-        Edward Castronova, Virtual Worlds: A First-Hand Account of Market and Society on the Cyberian Frontier, CESInfo Working Paper No 618, Dec. 2001, http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=294828
-        Cory Ondrejka, Escaping the Gilded Cage: User Created Content and Building the Metaverse, http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=538362

Session 25 (Monday, December 13):
…us: Making Sense of All

-        Bill Joy, Why the future doesn’t need us, Wired April 2000, pp. 238-262
-        Friedrich Dürrenmatt, The Physicists, in Four Plays (1967), pp. 288-292, 323, 334-349

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