Contract Versus Statute in Internet Governance
Edward Elgar, RESEARCH HANDBOOK ON GOVERNANCE OF THE INTERNET, Ian Brown, ed., Cheltenham, 2012
25 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2011
Date Written: October 24, 2011
The chapter examines the respective role of contract and statute in governance of the Internet along with the reasons for each role. In doing so, it charts the interaction of each type of instrument, particularly the ways in which each is used in the other’s service and the ways in which they are in conflict. The chapter shows that contract is often preferred over statute because it enables flexible micro-management of the digital environment more easily than statute does. However, the chapter also shows that the relative roles played by each instrument are fluid and that in particular contexts statute is assuming an increasingly salient position. Nonetheless, it is argued that the prospects of any new statutory overlay being introduced which dramatically overshadows or reduces the role of contract in the field are generally slim, especially at the international level.
Keywords: Internet governance
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