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Ruling the Root : Internet Governance and the Taming of Cyberspace - Milton L. Mueller

Ruling the Root

Internet Governance and the Taming of Cyberspace

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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 Rootp. 1
The Root as Resource
The Basic Political Economy of Identifiersp. 15
The Internet Name and Address Spacesp. 31
The Root and Institutional Change: Analytical Frameworkp. 57
The Story of the Root
Growing the Rootp. 73
Appropriating the Root: Property Rights Conflictsp. 105
The Root in Playp. 141
Institutionalizing the Root: The Formation of ICANNp. 163
The New Regimep. 185
Issues and Themes
ICANN as Global Regulatory Regimep. 211
Global Rights to Namesp. 227
Property Rights and Institutional Change: Some Musings on Theoryp. 255
The Taming of the Netp. 265
Selected Acronymsp. 269
Notesp. 273
Referencesp. 303
Indexp. 311
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780262632980
ISBN-10: 0262632985
Series: MIT Press
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
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