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In "Ruling the Root," Milton Mueller uses the theoretical framework of institutional economics to analyze the global policy and governance problems created by the assignment of Internet domain names and addresses. "The root" is the top of the domain name hierarchy and the Internet address space. It is the only point of centralized control in what is otherwise a distributed and voluntaristic network of networks. Both domain names and IP numbers are valuable resources, and their assignment on a coordinated basis is essential to the technical operation of the Internet. Mueller explains how control of the root is being leveraged to control the Internet itself in such key areas as trademark and copyright protection, surveillance of users, content regulation, and regulation of the domain name supply industry. Control of the root originally resided in an informally organized technical elite comprised mostly of American computer scientists. As the Internet became commercialized and domain name registration became a profitable business, a six-year struggle over property rights and the control of the root broke out among Internet technologists, business and intellectual property interests, international organizations, national governments, and advocates of individual rights. By the late 1990s, it was apparent that only a new international institution could resolve conflicts among the factions in the domain name wars. Mueller recounts the fascinating process that led to the formation of a new international regime around ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. In the process, he shows how the vaunted freedom and openness of the Internet is being diminished by the institutionalization of the root.
"In Milton L. Mueller's hands, the story of how the Net came to be administered is riveting, illuminating, depressing, and enraging. In effortless, lucid prose Mueller documents and explains precisely how 'Internet governance' has evolved from the enlightened despotism of a technological elite to a tool of special interests intent on protecting and expanding the control of intellectual property online." - Andrew Leonard, Salon"
|Introduction: The Problem of the Root||p. 1|
|The Root as Resource|
|The Basic Political Economy of Identifiers||p. 15|
|The Internet Name and Address Spaces||p. 31|
|The Root and Institutional Change: Analytical Framework||p. 57|
|The Story of the Root|
|Growing the Root||p. 73|
|Appropriating the Root: Property Rights Conflicts||p. 105|
|The Root in Play||p. 141|
|Institutionalizing the Root: The Formation of ICANN||p. 163|
|The New Regime||p. 185|
|Issues and Themes|
|ICANN as Global Regulatory Regime||p. 211|
|Global Rights to Names||p. 227|
|Property Rights and Institutional Change: Some Musings on Theory||p. 255|
|The Taming of the Net||p. 265|
|Selected Acronyms||p. 269|
|Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.|
Series: MIT Press
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 328
Published: 30th January 2004
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.0 x 15.3 x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.44