The Song Remains the Same: What Cyberlaw Might Teach the Next Internet Economy

42 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2015 Last revised: 15 Aug 2015

See all articles by Kevin Werbach

Kevin Werbach

University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School, Legal Studies & Business Ethics Department

Date Written: August 14, 2015

Abstract

Legal and regulatory questions for the next phase of the digital economy parallel those of the early days of the commercial internet, nearly twenty years ago. Contemporary debates about the On-demand Economy, the Internet of Things, and Big Data recapitulate a familiar error: the artificial division of virtual and real-space activity. Now as in the past, this “digital dichotomy” feeds both excessive skepticism about the need for legal protections, as well as excessive concern about the threats from technology-based innovations. The early history and evolution of cyberlaw show the importance of overcoming such perspectives and recognizing the role of government as an enabler rather than just a restraint on innovation. Companies such as Uber and AirBnB didn’t exist when the legal environment for first-generation Internet-based services was defined in the late 1990s, but they face strikingly similar questions today.

Keywords: Internet of Things, Sharing Economy, Big Data, Regulation of Emerging Technologies

Suggested Citation

Werbach, Kevin, The Song Remains the Same: What Cyberlaw Might Teach the Next Internet Economy (August 14, 2015). TPRC 43: The 43rd Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2587867

Kevin Werbach (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School, Legal Studies & Business Ethics Department ( email )

3730 Walnut Street
Suite 600
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States
215-898-1222 (Phone)

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