Internet Law Paper 1: Why Internet Law?


Image result for xkcd Internet

Surprise surprise, I’m taking Internet law this semester — the only reason I wanted to go to law school in the first place. In an effort to help students “fall back in love with writing” the course requires us to write several non-legal-memo style papers about topics in Internet law (go figure). Because I personally think the topics are pretty interesting and bloggable, I decided I’d share mine as blog posts after each deadline. Today’s was due at noon.

Several of my colleagues have wondered why I’m bothering with this course as it’s sort of like taking Spanish when you’re already fluent. Easy A right? Actually, this paper clears up some of the reasons why I decided to take the class and what outcomes I think it will help me achieve regardless of how much I think I already know.

Topic: Why are you taking this course and what outcomes are you hoping to achieve?

These days, I often wonder myself why I’m taking this course and why I’ve decided to dedicate my life to the study of Internet law seeing as the Internet is likely to suffer the tragic “death by ten thousand duck-bites” in regulation before I graduate. So why am I here?

Why Internet Law

As cheesy as it sounds, I love the Internet. Not as in — I’m addicted to my phone and only speak in hashtags and memes — but that I still believe the Internet is truly unique, special, and different, so much so that it fuels me to my core. I have never been so deeply passionate about anything in my life as I am about advocating for online speech. But as crucial as I believe the Internet is for our everyday lives, I’m constantly shocked by the depressingly underwhelming number of zealous Internet exceptionalists (or cyber-libertarians) out there left to defend it. So, I’m on a mission to rekindle my generation’s love for the Internet. This class is a crucial part of that mission.

I’m taking this course because, if it wasn’t already apparent, I’m deeply invested in and dedicated to becoming an Internet law specialist, expert, and thought-leader like the legends I admire. No matter how far ahead I may think I am now, I recognize that taking “Prof. Eric Goldman’s Internet Law class” is the ultimate first step in becoming an Internet law legend myself. It’s not often students have the advantage to take courses from globally recognized experts in their field, so I view this class as an opportunity and privilege to learn from the best.

Outcomes I Hope to Achieve

For obvious reasons, perhaps it’s true I’m likely to experience some “inevitable ennui” taking this course. But the truth is, I actually have a few what I call, Internet law “dirty secrets:”

I have no clue how 230(c)(2) functions which absolutely bothers me as an aspiring Section 230 expert. Sometimes I even screw up EASY 230(c)(1) questions. This means there’s still some gaps in my understanding of the law that I’ve permanently affixed to myself.

I have a weak foundational understanding of 512 and online IP. I’m not as passionate about intellectual property as I am about intermediary liability so I have not spent the time buffing up my expertise in that subject area. I plan to make that my priority this semester.

Even after reading the entire casebook, every paper on SSRN, and the entirety of the Technology and Marketing Law Blog, I still have a million questions. I promise to ask all of them this semester.

I’m too passionate. So much so that I fail to engage eloquently in discourse that challenges my stubborn beliefs about Internet policy. A classroom environment filled with colleagues that differ from me presents the perfect opportunity to practice some much-needed patience and to persuasively articulate my agenda.

I’ve fallen out of love with the Internet and this field. Spending every day fighting a completely losing and uphill battle for something you’re so deeply passionate about weighs on you. I’ve watched myself become a much darker, cynical, and bitter person since before I started law school. I’m hoping this class will re-inspire my love, energy, and zeal for Internet advocacy.

Lastly, it is a dream not only to become an Internet Law academic and professor but also to gain a spot as the next co-blogger for the Technology and Marketing Law Blog. I hope to soon be a major contributor and to help keep the site alive. To do that, I need to

  1. Become an Internet Law expert
  2. Absorb the teaching process and learn how to precisely speak about Internet law
  3. Sharpen my writing skills

This class and your mentorship are key to achieving these outcomes and realizing those dreams.

And that’s why I’m still here.

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