Against ISP Liability
The Cato Institute
Regulation, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 30-33, Spring 2005
In "Holding Internet Service Providers Accountable" (Regulation, Winter 2004), Douglas Lichtman argues for making Internet Service Providers (ISPs) liable for the propagation of Internet pathologies like worms, viruses, and other malicious computer code. His hope is that placing liability on ISPs will give them the incentive to protect Internet users. Protecting users is a noble goal and Lichtman has given this problem a good deal of thought. But his argument for ISP liability has a fundamental flaw: it places efficiency ahead of justice. The Internet is a medium, not a thing, and the supply of access to it is peculiarly unsuited to a liability rule like Lichtman proposes.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 4
Keywords: ISP, ISPs, liability, Internet, Internet pathologies, Lichtman, Internet Service Providers
JEL Classification: O31, O32, O33
Date posted: September 27, 2005