Pooling Intellecutal Capital: Thoughts on Anonymity, Pseudonymity, and Limited Liability in Cyberspace

University of Chicago Legal Forum, p. 139, 1996

32 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2006  

David G. Post

Independent

Abstract

The distinction between anonymous and pseudonymous communications is a subtle one, depending both on message context, traceability, and the state of both the law and the relevant technology regarding identification. They serve very different purposes within the matrix of social communication. Regulation of anonymity may have effects on the ability of individuals to pool their efforts together. The regulation of anonymous communication is inextricably linked to the regulation of pseudonymous communication; the latter, in turn, is inextricably linked to the regulation of the kind of 'legal persons' the law will recognize, the kinds of collective entities that can speak 'with one name.' Pseudonymity is a way of achieving a kind of limited liability for individuals engaged in collective communications activities. Pseudonymity involves its own unique set of benefits, including the potential to allow for the accumulation of reputational capital. Our understanding of the costs and benefits of regulation of anonymous communications must take these into account.

Keywords: anonymity, pseudonymity, internet regulation, limited liability

JEL Classification: K10, K22

Suggested Citation

Post, David G., Pooling Intellecutal Capital: Thoughts on Anonymity, Pseudonymity, and Limited Liability in Cyberspace. University of Chicago Legal Forum, p. 139, 1996. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=943435

David G. Post (Contact Author)

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

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