Saturday, January 22, 2011
"The Offensive Internet: Speech, Privacy, and Reputation"
Stanley Fish actually has a pretty good overview of this new volume edited by my colleagues Saul Levmore and Martha Nussbaum, and to which I am one of the contributors. One caveat: Fish overplays the anonymity issue relative to its centrality in the volume (though it is central to Levmore's excellent paper, which I highly recommend, and which I blogged about awhile back). If there's a general theme, it isn't that anonymity should be eliminated (that isn't my view, for example) but that ordinary tort law, whose constitutional status isn't in doubt, should apply in cyberspace. Current law, remarkably, exempts cyberspace from large parts of tort law (but not from copyright law, oddly). My essay and John Deigh's also take up philosophical questions about the value of free speech, and whether and how free speech values are implicated in the regulation of cyberspace (and, in my case, the possible liability of Google for its role in disseminating tortious material). Martha Nussbaum's essay is the other very philosophical piece in the volume, taking up the cyber-harassment of women and issues of objectification (and even ressentiment). In any case, some readers might find the volume of interest.
The Boston Globe has an even better account of the book's main themes.