Compsci 182s, Spring 2005, Paper I

The paper should be 5-7 pages, double-spaced, 11 pt font, with reasonable margins. You'll submit using Blackboard, visit the assignment section and upload your paper in either .doc format or .pdf format. We'd prefer .pdf, but that may be hard for some of you to generate.

Please read the first two chapters of Lessig's, Code, through page 23, concentrating on the concepts of code and regulability as he describes them.

Write a 5-7 page paper, with appropriate references, in which you create a thesis statement related to standards, the Internet, the Web, regulability and the direction in which the Internet is headed.

You'll probably want to mention the IETF, you may want to reference the W3C---the organization creating standards for the web ( see this description of the W3C.)

You can create your own thesis statement related to these areas, or you can use the one below, which is based on ideas from Dan Hunter's "Cyberspace as Place, and the Tragedy of the the Digital Anticommons", California Law Review, V. 91, N.2, March 2003. (This is also available online in a draft form). You do not need to read the paper to write yours. The paper is cited simply because it is the genesis of the statement.

The Internet Tragedy of the Commons

The Internet and the Web have flourished because of their openness and because the standards which govern them are developed and created by the people that implement the standards (there is an aphorism that the IETF works by rough concensus and running code.) They have flourished in spite of the fact that they are basically open to everyone. Unlike a world in which unfettered access can lead to overuse and/or destruction (e.g., as described in The Tragedy of the Commons), increased use of the Web and the Internet have lead to further growth and innovation. Continued growth and innovation are ensured because the standardization, regulation, and self-government by the IETF and W3C have led to a virtual world where industry, government, and people can peacefully co-exist and in which each of these groups can flourish.


Create a thesis statement and then defend it with well-formed arguments showing that you understand the issues and sides that are relavent to the topic. Cite sources you use appropriately.

Be sure it is clear early in your paper what you are claiming to show in the paper.

Owen L. Astrachan
Last modified: Wed Feb 9 00:49:01 EST 2005