David G. Post:  Research & Writings  

[last updated: August, 2010 ]  [ email: David.Post [at] temple.edu ]

[back to my Temple Profile page]

            I am currently the I. Herman Stern Professor of Law at Temple University’s Beasley School of  Law in Philadelphia, PA.  I'm also a Fellow of the Center for Democracy and Technology, an Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute, a Fellow at the Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School, a contributor to the Volokh Conspiracy blog , a pretty serious guitarist/singer, and a member of the bands “The Dwights” and "Bad Dog ."  


            Want more details?  Here's a brief bio, and my complete CV.

For Students:  


Temple University Law School's program in Intellectual Property and Technology Law .

My "Writing Guidelines”  [PDF Format ]  

The most recent syllabi in my Introduction to Intellectual Property course (Fall, 2010), Copyright Law (Spring 2009), and Cyberspace Law (Fall, 2009)

Thomas Jefferson’s Cyberspace

My book In Search of  Jefferson's Moose: Notes on the State of Cyberspace (Oxford Univ. Press) was awarded the Green Bag “Exemplary Legal Writing 2009” award, as well as the Friel-Scanlon Legal Scholarship award. 

“Reading this beautifully written and extraordinary work today is what it must have been like to know or read Jefferson then. Post has crafted an experience in understanding that allows us to glimpse the genius that Jefferson was, and to leave the book astonished by the talent this extraordinary writer is.”

Lawrence Lessig, Stanford University, author of Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace and Remix

“Now and then, ingenious insight yields an authentic work of genius. David Post’s musing about cyberspace, the law, history, and a great deal more has produced such a work, conceived and written in the finest Jeffersonian spirit.”

Sean Wilentz, Princeton University, author of The Age of Reagan

“Jefferson’s Moose is brilliant - and a joy to read. It is the book of a career: sweeping in scope, without dropping a stitch of detail. No one but David Post could have produced this sparkling analysis of the relationship between the world and worldview of Thomas Jefferson and today’s puzzles of cyberspace.”

Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, and author of The Future of the Internet­And How to Stop It

“A fresh, insightful, and eminently readable look at cyberspace policy. It’s surprising and fascinating how much the debates of 200 years ago continue to be relevant today and continue to be echoed today, even in media about which Jefferson and Hamilton could not have dreamed.”

Eugene Volokh, UCLA, founder, The Volokh Conspiracy

“David Post is the Jefferson of cyberspace, and in this creative, playful, and entirely original book, he applies Jefferson’s insights about governing the American frontier to think about governance on the Net. Even those who don’t share all of Post’s intuitions will be enlightened by his unique combination of technical precision and romantic imagination.”

Jeffrey Rosen, Author of The Unwanted Gaze and The Naked Crowd

You can:


            Purchase a copy of the book here

            Read some other reviews here

Visit the book website here


The book, which I’ve been laboring over for a good 12 years or so, has a (deceptively?) simple premise: to recreate Jefferson’s analysis of the New World, for cyberspace. It sounds pretty outlandish, and I guess it is — but I think it actually works pretty well (though I leave that to you to decide that for yourself). Along the way, we discover some pretty interesting things about the Internet, and about Jefferson — about network design, and Jefferson’s plan for governing the Western Territory, about the protocol stack and the canals of France, about distributed routing, end-to-end design, and the Louisiana Purchase. And about why Jefferson had a moose shipped to him in Paris while he was serving as US minister to France, and why we should care about that.


Other Recent Writings  [Note:  Most of my papers can be accessed at my SSRN author page]


Some of the Jefferson pieces I’ve written that didn’t quite make it into the book:



Needing a summary of the way in which the ICANN Board of Directors is selected, I found, to my surprise, that I couldn’t find a document that fit the bill; so Michelle Arnold and I came up with one.  [HTML] [MS Word]

Here’s an amicus brief I wrote (with Marc Isserles) in the case of Twentieth Century Fox v. Cablevision (2d Cir.), joined by several dozen law professors, arguing that the instantaneous reproductions made in Random Access Memory (RAM) by digital devices do not constitute “copies” under the Copyright Act.

This is a response to Jonathan Zittrain’s “The Generative Internet” that will be appearing in Harvard Law Review online.

Here’s an amicus brief I wrote (with Eric Goldman and Scott Christie) in the case of People of New York v. Direct Revenue LLC, on the matter of the enforceability of “clickwrap” agreements.  [MS Word format here]

Nice Questions UnansweredGrokster, Sony’s Staple Article of Commerce Doctrine, and the Deferred Verdict on Internet File-Sharing” (forthcoming, Cato Supreme Court Review 2005) (with Annemarie Bridy and Timothy Sandefur)


Cyberspace Governance

What Larry Doesn't Get:  Code, Law, and Liberty in Cyberspace (52 Stanford Law Review 1439 (2000)). A review (sort of) of Larry Lessig's book Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace.

Against 'Against Cyberanarchy ' -- a reply to Jack Goldsmith (17 Berkeley Technology Law Journal 1363 (2002))   

Anarchy, State, and the Internet: An Essay on Law_Making in Cyberspace (J. Online Law, 1995)  An early attempt to grapple with some of the new features of cyberspace "law" and, in particular, the relationship between the software that defines this new place and traditional rules and rule-making institutions).

Law and Borders: The Rise of Law in Cyberspace (co-authored with David R. Johnson) (48 Stanford L. Rev. 1367 (1996))  (developing in a (hopefully) more coherent way the argument that irrelevance of physical location on the net strengthens the argument for decentralized 'self-governing' institutions in cyberspace).

And How Shall the Net Be Governed?  A Meditation on the Relative Virtues of Decentralized, Emergent Law ,” (co-authored with David Johnson) (in Coordinating the Internet, Brian Kahin and James Keller (eds.), MIT Press, 1997)

The 'Unsettled Paradox': The Internet, the State, and the Consent of the Governed (5 Indiana J. Global Legal Studies 521, 1998)  (describing some of the ways that the a-geographical character of cyberspace might affect our thinking about the relative advantages of State and non-State institutions in regulating activity there)

Governing Cyberspace (43 Wayne Law Review 155 1997)  (describing the contrast between centralized and de-centralized law-making institutions as a battle between "Hamiltonian" centralizers and "Jeffersonian" de-centralizers for control over the relevant law-making institutions).

Of Horses, Black Holes, and Decentralized Law-Making in Cyberspace   (Yale Private Censorship/Perfect Choice Conference, March 1999) (focusing on the dramatically different ways that one might attempt to control the problem of "spam" on the Internet).

Pooling Intellectual Capital: Some thoughts on Anonymity, Pseudonymity, and Limited Liability in Cyberspace .  1996 U. Chi. L. Forum 139.  A longish piece, arguing that pseudonymity is a kind of "limited liability" (in cyberspace, as elsewhere), and that attempts to regulate "anonymity" in cyberspace must take into account the sometimes profound benefits that pseudonymous communications can afford.

Complexity Theory and the Law

·         How Long is the Coastline of the Law:  Thoughts on the Fractal Nature of Legal Systems (co-authored with Michael B. Eisen) (29 Journal of Legal Studies 545  (2000)

·          The New Civic Virtue of the Net: A Complex Systems Model for the Governance of Cyberspace   (co-authored with David Johnson) (in The Emerging Internet, 1998 Annual Review of the Institute for Information Studies, (C. Firestone, ed.)

·         Chaos Prevailing on Every Continent": Towards a New Theory of Decentralized Decision-making in Complex Systems (73 Chicago-Kent Law Review 1055 (1998)

Copyright Law

·         A Summary of Copyright Law.  I prepared this PowerPoint presentation for a talk on copyright issues that I gave recently to the Health Sciences faculty at Temple.

·         "Copyright, Scientific Research, and the Public Access to Science Act ."  [draft]  This is part of the work I've been doing with some of the folks at the Public Library of Science and is intended as a response to some of the arguments put forward by opponents of the recently-introduced "Public Access to Science Act."

·          His Napster's Voice  (20 Temple Env. & Tech. L.J. 35 (2002), reprinted in Copy Fights: The Future of Intellectual Property in the Information Age (W. Crews and A. Thierer, eds (Cato Institute, 2002)) and Mots Pluriels , special edition No 18 (August 2001) [ MS Word version here


Other, Older Stuff

 Technolog! & (Meaning /3 Life  

    Personal Jurisdiction and Cyberspace Governance

Some Plugging In columns on jurisdictional matters
"Cyberspace's Constitutional Moment" (November 1998)

" The State of the States" (September 1998)

Betting On Cyberspace (June 1997)

Copyright Law and other Intellectual Property matters

Miscellaneous Issues