Beyond Our Control?

Beyond Our Control?

Confronting the Limits of Our Legal System in the Age of Cyberspace

By Stuart Biegler

An examination of current and emerging issues in cyberlaw.





An examination of current and emerging issues in cyberlaw.

This book provides a framework for thinking about the law and cyberspace, examining the extent to which the Internet is currently under control and the extent to which it can or should be controlled. It focuses in part on the proliferation of MP3 file sharing, a practice made possible by the development of a file format that enables users to store large audio files with near-CD sound quality on a computer. By 1998, software available for free on the Web enabled users to copy existing digital files from CDs. Later technologies such as Napster and Gnutella allowed users to exchange MP3 files in cyberspace without having to post anything online. This ability of online users to download free music caused an uproar among music executives and many musicians, as well as a range of much-discussed legal action.

Regulation strategies identified and discussed include legislation, policy changes, administrative agency activity, international cooperation, architectural changes, private ordering, and self-regulation. The book also applies major regulatory models to some of the most volatile Internet issues, including cyber-security, consumer fraud, free speech rights, intellectual property rights, and file-sharing programs.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262025041 472 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


$5.75 S ISBN: 9780262524162 472 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


  • ... a study of Internet law that leaves no stone in cyberspace unturned... Biegel proves to be a gifted teacher.... Biegel's well-researched and carefully organized text is one of the most comprehensive of its kind.

    Harvard Journal of Law and Technology

  • I recommend for any instructors or researchers who need a popular reference to the recent legal history of the Internet.

    Technology and Society Book Reviews

  • It is in systematically presenting to the reader an actual analytical framework that Biegel's book becomes highly recommended reading.

    Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies website


  • Stuart Biegel explores the dilemmas of present-day cyberspace with the confidence of a native Netizen, the sharp eye of an anthropologist, and the incisiveness of a lawyer. The result is a book that is true to the spirit of the Net without defying it—a nuanced study that synthesizes the best understandings we have of when, where, and how to apply the elements of the contemporary regulatory toolbox to the global Internet.

    Jonathan Zittrain

    Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard Law School

  • Wherever you travel in your search for a coherent view of the law of cyberspace, and wherever you end up in your evaluation of the legal problems presented by this new global medium, you'll find Stuart Biegel's roadmap very useful.

    David Johnson

    Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, Washington, D.C.

  • The law of cyberspace has moved beyond the question of whether regulation is possible to the question of how, or how best. In this powerful and comprehensive book, Stuart Biegel maps a balanced and sensible strategy for preserving values important to our tradition in this new environment for social life, cyberspace. No work better synthesizes and advances a debate that has been only partly grasped by others before.

    Lawrence Lessig

    Stanford Law School, author of Free Culture