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Law as Intermediary

26 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2005 Last revised: 6 Oct 2009

Robert A. Heverly

Albany Law School

Date Written: 2006


When we think of intermediaries, we are often drawn to images of publishers, broadcasters and librarians, among others. These are the people who determine what we see, what we hear, what we read, and at some level, who shape what we know and who we are. Some help us find goods, while others provide us with goods. While not necessarily self-evident, this article makes the primarily descriptive claim that law is also an intermediary, a real intermediary, and an important one at that. Law has a number of effects on content, which this article categorizes as follows: the stopping effect; the forcing effect; the anti-silencing effect; and, the silencing effect. After making the argument that law is an intermediary, the article looks at the way this role has changed and is likely to change in an age of technological challenges to intermediaries.

Keywords: intermediaries, law, technology, media, communications

JEL Classification: K00, K30, O33

Suggested Citation

Heverly, Robert A., Law as Intermediary (2006). Michigan State Law Review, 2006. Available at SSRN:

Robert Heverly (Contact Author)

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States
518 445-2379 (Phone)

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