Who Owns the Internet? Ownership as a Legal Basis for American Control of the Internet
University of Tuebingen - Law School
Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 15, Book 2, Forthcoming
The U.S. government's ultimate control of the Domain Name System results in substantial power over the entire Internet. Other countries object to this American dominance and demand that control of the Internet be handed over to the UN or the ITU. The United States could have a legal claim for control based on ownership because the Internet is, or was at least originally, an American thing, invented and funded by the United States. The paper examines such an ownership idea by applying property and intellectual property law on both the American and the international level. An examination of ownership is crucial because other approaches that could provide a legal basis for special power, like sovereignty, face problems because U.S. sovereignty ends at its borders and conflicts with the sovereignty of other states that are affected by U.S. policy decisions about the Internet.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 35
Keywords: Internet, Internet Governance, Intellectual Property, ICANN, ITU, Domain Name System, Root, Ownership, United States, Sovereignty
JEL Classification: F02, K29, K33, K39, L50, O38
Date posted: October 25, 2004