Document Type


Publication Date



In this essay, the point of view I wish to take is that of authors who create or disseminate works over digital networks. I believe that their situation reflects both perspectives. Like the Avignon popes and the fifth century Roman emperors, authors might be considered displaced persons, because others might cast their works into the digital Empyrean, disconnected from physical points of attachment to any particular jurisdiction. But, like the Germanic tribes that crossed the Rhine River late in December 406, at least some authors might also be considered the displacers, because they choose to exploit the newly-found technological irrelevance of national borders. For example, in the analog world, selecting the country of first publication was a momentous choice, because it grounded the work in that country's legal system. By contrast, however, today's authors can disseminate works through websites, or mount their own websites on servers whose nationality they may neither know nor care about. Today's authors may choose to use the Net to publish their works instantaneously in every country where users have Internet access.


Law | Science and Technology Law