Rights of Access and the Shape of the Internet

76 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2002

See all articles by Michael J. Madison

Michael J. Madison

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law


This Article reviews recent developments in the law of access to information, that is, cases involving click-through agreements, the doctrine of trespass to chattels, the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and civil claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Though the objects of these different doctrines substantially overlap, the different doctrines yield different presumptions regarding the respective rights of information owners and information consumers. The Article reviews those presumptions in light of different metaphorical premises on which courts rely: Internet-as-place, in the trespass, DMCA, and CFAA contexts, and contract-as-assent, in the click-through context. It argues that the different doctrines should be applied consistently with one another and consistent with an understanding of the relevant metaphor that is based on consumer and user experiences of the Internet, rather than on formal property-based constructs.

Keywords: click-through, trespass, DMCA, CFAA, copyright, information, access

JEL Classification: K11, K12, K20

Suggested Citation

Madison, Michael J., Rights of Access and the Shape of the Internet. Boston College Law Review, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=346860 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.346860

Michael J. Madison (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law ( email )

3900 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States
412-648-7855 (Phone)
412-648-2648 (Fax)

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