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99 Law Libr. J. 139 (2007)
Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World

handle is hein.journals/llj99 and id is 139 raw text is: Keeping Up with New Legal Titles

Goldsmith, Jack L., and Tim Wu. Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a
Borderless World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 226p. $28.
Reviewed by Dawn L. Smith
18 Twenty-five years old, fresh-faced, right out of library school, and in my very
first professional library position, I guess you might say that I am defiantly a card-
carrying member of the Internet user generation. I first ventured into the World
Wide Web in the mid- 1990s after begging my father to let me use his credit card
so that we could install AOL on our home computer. It was a maddening love
affair from that point on, and as I have grown into adulthood so has the Internet.
Before reading Who Controls the Internet? I was of the opinion that the United
States government was the only major player in the race to control access to and
content on the Internet. However, after reading this very well-written book, I must
confess to feeling like an Internet novice all over again. And apparently I'm not
the only one, because when people around campus saw that I was carrying around
a book with the title Who Controls the Internet?, faculty and students alike would
immediately provide answers such as Microsoft or the government, as well as the
rare but surprising answer, No one.
19 In this book, authors Jack Goldsmith, professor of law at Harvard Law
School, and Tim Wu, professor of law at Columbia Law School, weave together an
interesting historical account of the Internet's many clashes with the U.S. govern-
ment in the 1990s and its many subsequent conflicts with governments around the
world. In the early days of the Internet, many users were idealistic in their views
of what could be achieved with this technology. The overwhelming consensus was
that the Internet would take on a new form of globalization that would erode the
authority and relevance of national governments, thereby freeing us forever from
the tyranny of territorial rule (p.vii). According to the authors, this same feeling
was felt by the creators and users of previous forms of communication technology
from the telegraph to television. However, they argue that no matter how revolu-
tionary and global communication technology is, the relevance of geography and
governmental coercion will forever remain inescapable.
20 Who Controls the Internet? is easy to read. It has a fairly large-sized font
and it includes numerous illustrations as well as photographs of many of the major
players in the Internet community. It allows readers to get a good understanding of
who did what and what their impact was.
21 Chapter 1 sets the tone by describing the groundbreaking international
cyber law trial in 2000 that pitted the French government against the Internet giant
Yahoo!3 When Yahoo! refused to comply with a request to remove World War II
Nazi paraphernalia from its auction Web pages, France filed suit. The landmark
decision found that Yahoo! had violated French Law by allowing Nazi goods to
3.  Le Ligue Contre le Racisme et L'Antisemitisme (L.I.C.R.A.) et L'Union des Etudiants Juifs de France
(U.E.J.F.) v. Yahoo! Inc. Et Societe Yahoo! France, Interim Court Order No. 00/05308, 00/05309, the
County Court of Paris 6, May, 22, 2000.


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