Decoding Cyberproperty


This article examines recent developments in both the doctrine and theory of legal cyberproperty rights. The first part of this article looks primarily at two seminal cases that might be considered bookends to the story of cyberproperty: Thrifty-Tel, Inc. v. Bezenek and Intel v. Hamidi. The second part of this article challenges two assumptions that act as theoretical and rhetorical engines driving arguments for cyberproperty. The first is the assumption that legal prohibitions against interactions with privately owned computing machinery are analogous, from a standpoint of law and policy, to traditional rights of exclusion from the use of or entry into personal or real property. The second is the assumption that the practical control of code can be understood as analogous to the social instrument of law. Both of these assumptions may be initially appealing, but they are largely misguided, as the article explains. The digital information present within computer networks is analogous to neither private property nor law.


Computer Law | Internet Law | Property Law and Real Estate

Date of this Version

September 2006