76821155

“Cyberspace as Place, and the Tragedy of the Digital Anticommons

The conception of “cyberspace as place” leads to the implication that there is property online, and that this property should be privately owned, parceled out, and exploited. Though private ownership of resources of itself is not problematic, it can lead to the opposite of the tragedy of the commons: the tragedy of the anti-commons. Anti-commons property occurs when multiple parties have an effective right to preclude others from using a given resource, and as a result no-one has an effective right of use. Part IV argues that this is precisely where the “cyberspace as place” metaphor leads. We are moving to a digital anti-commons, where no-one will be allowed to access competitors’ cyberspace “assets” without some licensing, or other transactionally-expensive (or impossible), permission mechanism. The Article shows how the “cyberspace as place” metaphor leads to undesirable private control of the previously commons-like Internet, and the emergence of the digital anti-commons. As we all come to stake out our little claim in cyberspace, then the commons which is cyberspace is being destroyed.”

I still need to read this long paper but it looks interesting.

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