December 12, 2005

Crawford and Post on “The Moose of Cyberspace”

Filed under: DMCA — Wendy @ 10:31 am

Cyberprof Susan Crawford has a nice preview of David Post’s forthcoming work, Mr. Jefferson’s Moose: Notes on the State of Cyberspace.

Jefferson’s moose was a specimen brought to England and assembled there to disprove the notion that America was a land of “degeneracy.” Post and Crawford ask: What would you exhibit from cyberspace to prove its worth to a foreign observer?

I started my cyberlaw class with an exploration of analogy in Reno v. ACLU: What is cyberspace like (a telephone network with dial-a-porn, a radio broadcast, a magazine shop, a city block)? and ended by noting the limitations of any analogy to capture the Internet’s communicative potential. It’s not just “a phone network, with pictures” or “a magazine shop where anyone can publish a zine,” but a new beast with the potential to be those and much more — and that frightens regulators and incumbents who know the old and face competition from the new. So along with analogies to older technologies, we need specimens of what’s possible with the new. Happily, the Net provides us new ones daily — and we don’t even need to pack them for shipment across the Atlantic.

Blogging will be light here while my students take their exams. Wouldn’t want anyone to think there were secret answers hidden in blog entries. But how could I pass up the excuse to post moose photos from Jackson Hole?


  1. Nice picture!!
    And nice point about the analogy/metaphor problem for cyberspace — (other things cyberspace is “like”: a library; a bookstore …] The thing about the moose story that I like most is that the point Jefferson is making is simultaneously that things in the New World are like, and unlike, things in the Old. All of the interesting action, as it were, is in figuring out how it’s like, and how it’s unlike, what we’ve known before.

    Comment by David Post — December 13, 2005 @ 9:14 am

  2. /me jots down “moose” as potential answer to exam question.

    Comment by scott — December 15, 2005 @ 12:16 pm

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