The Internet and the Persistence of Law

30 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2003 Last revised: 10 Nov 2007

Justin Hughes

Loyola Law School Los Angeles


This Article first describes three distinct visions of the relationship between the Internet and law that appeared in the 1990s: what the author calls the no-law Internet, the Internet as separate jurisdiction, and Internet law as translation. It is the third which now effectively dominates practical discussions of Internet law and policy issues. The project of translation involves more than importing traditional legal concepts into the Internet environment; it is often an attempt to transpose into cyberspace balances of social, political, and economic interests drawn for, and accepted in, the physical world. The Article critiques American legal scholars for failing to appreciate the transnational problem of legal norms for cyberspace and how the Internet is forcing a certain amount of convergence of legal norms among disparate national systems. The Article then proposes a preliminary taxonomy of how convergent legal norms are being created for the Internet.

Suggested Citation

Hughes, Justin, The Internet and the Persistence of Law. Boston College Law Review, Vol. 43, p. 359, 2003 ; Cardozo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 61. Available at SSRN: or

Justin Hughes (Contact Author)

Loyola Law School Los Angeles ( email )

919 Albany Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015-1211
United States
213-736-8108 (Phone)


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