The Internet & The Market: Reading Assignments

Part I:  Getting Oriented

1. Introduction: What is the Internet

[If you have taken a previous Internet-law related class from me, you don't have to do the reading for part 1, section 1, but please do all the "doing", and some of the advanced web tricks]
  1. Reading
    1. Findings of fact in ACLU v. Reno, 929 F. Supp. 824 (E.D.Pa. 1996) .
    2. A. Michael Froomkin, An Introduction to the "Governance" of the Internet
    3. A. Michael Froomkin, The Internet as a Source of Regulatory Arbitrage, (book chapter) in Borders in Cyberspace (Brian Kahin and Charles Nesson, eds.) (MIT Press, 1997)
  2. Doing:
    1. Read the class policies
    2. Subscribe to the class mailing list --since the autosignon is still broken please send an email asking to be signed up from the account you want signed on to the mailing list to this address
    3. Figure out how to make your e-mail program automatically attach a "signature block" or ".sig" to each of your messages. Please ensure that you sign your name to all but intentionally anonymous postings to the class list.
    4. Send me an email (not to the list!) in which you tell me about a paragraph's worth about yourself. Please also include your day & evening phone numbers and both e-mail and relatively lasting postal mail addresses for my files. Your email should demonstrate your mastery of the "signature block" above.
    5. Go to the Internet Skills Page and do at least two things from each of the first four categories.  [If you took "Internet and the State" last semester - do different ones this time plus some of the advanced ones.]

2.  Introduction to Digital IP

  1. Reading
    1. Roger Clarke, "Information Wants to be Free"
    2. Keith W. Porterfield, Information Wants to be Valuable:
    3. J. Bradford Delong & A. Michael Froomkin, Speculative Microeconomics for Tomorrow's Economy (book chapter) in Internet Publishing and Beyond: The Economics of Digital Information and Intellectual Property 6 (Brian Kahin & Hal Varian, eds., 2000).
    4. Mike Godwin, Coming Soon: Hollywood Versus the Internet (Dec. 18, 2001)
    5. Jeffrey Benner, Wired.com, Is Amazon's Honor Plan Honorable? (Feb. 6, 2001)
    6. Greg Sandoval, Sony to ban sale of online characters from its popular gaming sites  (Apr. 10, 2000)
    7. Ann Carrns, Wall St. J., AMA Moves to Fight the Posting of Its Price Codes on the Internet (Aug. 25, 2000)
    8. Tim O'Reilly, Lessons from open-source software development, 42 Comm. ACM 32 (1999) [link may only work from computers located at subscribing institutions]
    9. A. Michael Froomkin, The Collision of Trademarks, Domain Names, and Due Process in Cyberspace, 44 Comm. ACM 91 (2001) [link may only work from computers located at subscribing institutions]
  2. Doing
    1. Look at the terms of service and privacy policies of the University of Miami web sites and whatever other web site you use the most.   Be prepared to discuss similarities and differences.
  3. Thinking
    1. When is it ok to copy software? Books? Movies?
    2. Who owns (should own?) information about you?  Do you know? Do you care?  Why?
    3. Which extreme is more frightening: a world where no data at all can be copied without payment/authorization/record-keeping, or one of information anarchy where no one can be prevented from sharing data at will?
    4. Thor78 has spent hours accumulating powerful magical goods in EverQuest, which Thor78 planned to sell on Flea-Bay to raise money for a parental wedding anniversary gift.  Flea-bay has stopped sales of EverQuest items at Sony's request, pointing to its policy of "removing items for sale that are identified as intellectual property that is being unlawfully sold."  Thor78 wants to sue someone and HURT them.  Has she got a valid claim against anyone?

3. Introduction to E-commerce in Tangible Goods

  1. Reading
    1. Some Sample Business Models
      1. Don George, Salon.com, Captain Kirk's Secret (July 14, 2001) and Ira Carnahan, Slate.com, The Economics of Priceline and what Priceline says about the American economy, (May 19, 2000)
      2. Voyeur Dorm v. City of Tampa, 265 F.3d 1232 (11th Cir. 2001) (westlaw version)
      3. The Economist, Visible Hand (Sept. 18, 1999) and NexTag, Help for First-Time Visitors
      4. Walter S. Mossberg, Wall St. J., Real Consumer Choice Has Been Early Victim In Battle of the Titans (Aug. 2, 2001) (westlaw)
      5. Keith Regan, E-Commerce Times, Amazon's Tough-Love Privacy Policy (Sept. 6, 2000) & Amazon.com, Privacy Notice
    2. Price (and other) Discrimination
      1. Thomas Heath, Washington Post, Capitals Owner Puts Pittsburgh Fans on Ice (Apr. 14, 2001) (2001 WL 17620672)
      2. Linda Rosencrance, Amazon charging Different Prices on some DVDs (Sept. 5, 2000)
      3. Florian Zettelmeyer, Fiona Scott Morton & Jorge Silva-Risso, Cowboys or Cowards: Why are Internet Car Prices Lower? (Oct. 2001) (abstract only)
      4. Fiona Scott Morton, Florian Zettelmeyer, & Jorge Silva-Risso, Consumer Information and Price Discrimination: Does the Internet Affect the Pricing of New Cars to Women and Minorities? (Sept. 2001) (abstract only)
    3. Sample Hazards
      1. Matt Gallaway, Business 2.0, Amazon's Privacy Woes (Dec. 12, 2000)
      2. Wired.com, Schwab Online Breaks Down (Feb. 24, 1999)

      3.  
  2. Optional reading  [not included in your packet - on reserve in the library]
    1. Mark S. Nadel, The Consumer Product Selection Process in an Internet Age: Obstacles to Maximum Effectiveness & Policy Options, 14 Harv. J.L. & Tech. 183 (2000).  Updated 2001 version can be downloaded at SSRN.
    2. Voyeur Dorm L.C. v. City of Tampa, FL, 121 F.Supp.2d 1373 (M.D.Fla. 2000) (westlaw), rev'd 265 F.3d 1232 (11th Cir. 2001).
    3. Saul Hansell, A Front-Row Seat as Amazon Gets Serious (May 20, 2001)
    4. Reuters, Amazon apologizes for random price test (Sept. 28, 2000)
    5. Blaise Cronin & Elisabeth Davenport, E-Rogenous Zones: Positioning Pornography on the Internet, 17 The Information Society 22 (2001) [not online]
    6. Read the full text of the two Florian Zettelmeyer, Fiona Scott Morton &  Jorge Silva-Risso articles above

    7.  
  3. Doing
    1. Look up today's  Priceline Stock Quote -- and then trace its historical performace. Is this performance consistent with what we read about Priceline?

    2.  
  4. Thinking
    1. To what extent do the various strategies motivating these merchants depend on the public not being aware of all or part of what the merchant is doing?
    2. For each of the readings, imagine you are approached by a person who didn't get something they wanted, or thinks someone else got a better price or a better deal, or thinks the merchant shouldn't be allowed to do that..
      1. Any legal grounds for either an individual or a class action claim?
      2. If not, is new legislation or regulation needed?

4. Introduction to E-Fraud

  1. Reading
    1. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Recommendation of the OECD Council Concerning Guidelines for Consumer Protection in the Context of Electronic Commerce (1999)
    2. SEC v. Colt, Complaint (Mar. 2, 2000)
    3. SEC v. Donald Allen English (E-biz), Complaint (Jan. 31, 2001); Emergency Motion to Modify Freeze Order (Jan 31, 2001)
    4. Compare SEC v. SG Ltd., 142 F. Supp. 2d 126 (D. Mass. 2001) (Westlaw verison), with SEC v. SG Ltd. 265 F.3d 42 (First Cir. 2001) (Westlaw version)
    5. Iopus.com, Password Recovery
    6. Yougu Yuan, Eileen Zishuang Ye & Sean Smith, Web Spoofing 2001 (July 2001)
  2. Optional
    1. Todd S. Corey, Catching On-line Traders in a Web of Lies: The Perils of Internet Stock Fraud (May, 2001)
    2. Jonna Glasner, Wired.com, They Price Laundered Money (June 1, 2000)
    3. SEC, Top Ten DotCons (Oct. 30, 2000)
    4. FTC, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Consumer Protection in the Global Electronic Marketplace: Looking Ahead (Sept. 2000) (long)
  3. Doing
    1. Try the Web Spoofer Demos
  4. Thinking
    1. What, if anything, do the OECD Guidelines require anyone to do?  Do the OECD Guidelines differ in any way from current US law and practices?
    2. Are Internet frauds likely to be any different than garden-variety frauds?  How?
      1. If there is a difference, what if anything can be done about it?
      2. Might Interent-based frauds require special regulation even if they are basically just the same old thing, or are existing rules and techniques likely to be sufficient?
      3. Does your analysis of the problems and solutions change much  if the parties are in different countries?
      4. Are Internet users more likely to be susceptible to fraud online than in other parts of their lives?  Less likely?  Why?
    3. How security conscious are you when you use the Internet?
    4. Imagine some malicious uses for the Iopus.com password recovery product and the Web Spoofer.
    5. How does one tell a fraud from a toy or the next Big Thing?

5. Some Other Perspectives

  1. Reading
    1. A. Michael Froomkin, The Death of Privacy?, 52 Stan. L. Rev. 1461 (2000) (edited, shorter, version in packet)
    2. J.D. Lasica, Online Journalism Review, Search Engines and Editorial Integrity (July 23, 2001)
    3. Mitchell L. Moss & Anthony M. Townsend, 16 The Information Society 35, The Interent Backbone and the American Metropolis (2000)
    4. Lawrence H. Summers, Tax Administration in a Global Era (July 10, 2000)

    5.  
  2. Optional
    1. Pamela Samuelson, Five Challenges for Regulationg the Global Information Society
    2. Luz E. Nagle, E-Commerce in Latin America: Business and Legal Challenges for Developing Enterprise, 50 Am. U. L. Rev. 859 (Spring 2001)  (should be available from Am. U. L. Rev. soon)
    3. Jukka Heinonen, The Warsaw Convention Jurisdiction and the Internet, 65 J. of Air L. & Comm. 453 (2000) (westlaw)
    4. Helen Nissenbaum, Securing Trust Online: Wisdom or Oxymoron?, 81 B.U.L. Rev. 635 (2001)

    5.  
  3. Thinking
    1. In what ways does the Internet change the marketplace?
    2. In what ways are consumers empowered? Dis-empowered?  Which is greater?
    3. What sort of spill-over effects to 'meatspace' might one be concerned about from these effects?
    4. Other than whatever "embarrassment" may caused by having facts about oneself known to others, are there any other genuinely harmful effects from a "loss of privacy"?  To what extent if any should the law protect the (too easily?) embarrassed?
    5. Isn't Scott McNealy basically right?
Last modified: Jan. 14, 2001

To Part 2
To Syllabus Index
To Class Policies