Internet Infrastructure and IP Censorship

IP Justice Journal - Internet Governance and Online Freedom Publication Series, No. 1, 2015

17 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2015

Date Written: August 1, 2015


This paper analyzes an unusual and important phenomenon that has become more widespread in recent years: Using control over access to critical portions of the Internet's technical infrastructure – the system comprising the underlying protocols for routing, naming, and addressing, along with related technical standards and the agreements, formal and informal, through which they are implemented across the Internet, what Laura DeNardis calls "Critical Internet Resources" (CIRs) – to enforce private and public law. I give three examples that illustrate the nature of this new phenomenon: The global Uniform Dispute Resolution Procedure for domain name/trademark conflicts, the scheme to target "foreign infringing websites" in the SOPA/PIPA copyright bills, and ICANN's recent imposition of "public interest commitments" on all parties seeking to operate top-level Internet domain registries. The article concludes by summarizing a number of reasons why this is generally speaking, a bad idea, articulating a set of core concerns that implementation of such regimes inevitably raise, organized into five categories: concerns about Internet neutrality, legitimacy and institutional competence, due process, free expression, and harm to third parties.

Keywords: Internet governance, Internet infrastructure, intellectual property enforcement

JEL Classification: K10, K40, K42, L30, L33

Suggested Citation

Post, David G., Internet Infrastructure and IP Censorship (August 1, 2015). IP Justice Journal - Internet Governance and Online Freedom Publication Series, No. 1, 2015, Available at SSRN:

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