amy alexander on 26 Nov 2000 09:16:15 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Yahoo, the regulator

On Wed, 22 Nov 2000, geert lovink wrote:

> According to zdnet "Vinton Cerf of the United States, said at the time that he
> believed the move was contrary to the very idea of a World Wide Web, an
> electronic galaxy where information and ideas were exchanged with no physical
> borders." 

that's interesting. then i wonder why mr. cerf thinks the MPAA started
lawsuits in california courts against
so many non-californians who were distributing DeCSS from their
non-california servers? their reasoning, as i recall, was that the
information spewing from the non-california servers was damaging
california corporations.
when they managed to get jon johansen arrested in norway - where hacking/distributing
CSS wasn't even a crime - it was really an impressive feat.

oh i get it - arrest warrants and subpoenas can now be exchanged with
no physical borders too. :-)

> I really wonder if Cerf is that naive. He should know better that all
> Internet servers, in the end, have a locality. Data can move around, servers
> can't. 

it seems to me there's generally more concern over where the clients are than
the servers. which probably proves the same point anyway in the end.

> Even if they could they remain to have a physical location and are
> thereby subject to the law of the place they are at that particular moment.
> Why is the WWW constantly mixed up with the specific US-American juridiction of
> free speech? Well, there is a historical explanation for that (the Internet is
> an American invention etc.). 

well, it was invented by the US military actually. but when we 
talk about the US-American jurisdiction/definition of free speech, don't
we really mean the US *corporate* definition?  (to the extent that we think of
a military/industrial complex of course it may not matter between
the two. :-) )

anyway, the thing to keep in mind is that it tends to be the US corporations
who propose to make the free speech rules, and it doesn't really depend
on something written in a US statute much - those things will always be
interpreted by the lawyers, and the US corps have more money for lawyers than
just about anyone. therefore, they propose to define free speech for the
rest of the WWW, whether that means people in other countries or people in
the US. think of how many times US corps have taken to court or threatened
US individuals in order to *stop* their free speech on the web (plenty :-) ). 
so it's not really a US vs. Other Countries issue, as i see it, it's more a
US Corps. vs. Everyone Else issue. the problem is, the US Corps. have so
many legal funds, they get used to winning, and they get used to making
the rules.

the irony here of course is that this time the US corp is the one crying because
it's been censored; usually it's the other way around. 

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