chapter  10
10 Pages

Cyber Property

ByJames Couser

This chapter focuses on what will become the central question about the way in which virtual communities develop; namely the manner in which they are controlled. The Wild West of the early Internet has been tamed and in its place we have reached a cross section of paths, each representing a possible future along which the law in this area could develop. The question of which path is taken will, without some radical groundswell of public opinion to the contrary, ultimately depend upon which route will enable profits to be maximised. That may be an unpopular conclusion, yet, if the history of capitalism has taught us anything, it is that the greed that motivates the powerful few invariably triumphs over the inertia of the masses in the end. This chapter seeks to describe the manner in which the future may be shaped, and in particular to consider whether that is a good, bad or indifferent thing for the wider public generally.