March 04, 2013
Preorder my new book: The Electronic Silk Road
My new book, The Electronic Silk Road: How the Web Binds the World Together in Commerce, will appear in little more than a month from Yale University Press. Amazon is offering the cloth edition for an amazing $18.48!
Here are some of the early reviews:
- "The world of commerce has changed for services. A masterly analysis of the implications of this development, this book is a tour de force."— Jagdish Bhagwati, University Professor, Columbia University
- “This engaging book makes a powerful argument for embracing trade, without displacing law, along the new digital trade routes. Indeed, it recognizes law as crucial to promoting both trade and consumer protection. This is an important contribution to thinking about the international legal order.”—Ricardo Ramírez-Hernández,Chair of the Appellate Body, World Trade Organization
- “A must read for those interested in globalization in the information age and the public policy challenges, opportunities, and pitfalls that will result. Anupam Chander offers an insightful primer on international cyberlaw and a thoughtful set of proposals for adapting to a changed world.” —Chris Coons, United States Senator
- “Anupam Chander takes us on a fascinating journey, raising provocative questions on how to balance competing global and local interests when managing new trade dynamics. Anyone interested in the digital transformation of commerce should consider carefully Chander’s insights.”—Mark Wu, Harvard Law School
- "An extraordinarily lucid and colorful description of the way cybertrade is changing global commerce -- and global society. Chander proposes realistic legal arrangements that can secure the Web’s benefits and avert its perils. This is an important book."—Michael Reisman, Yale Law School
- “Chander examines how international trade is ordering human rights and free expression in the digital age. Virtual borders and transnational corporations are here to stay, and Chander’s notion of ‘net-work’ offers us a sobering analysis of the dangers, and the possibilities.”—Deji Olukotun, PEN American Center
- “Chander accentuates what is often forgotten--the importance of law underlying the digital evolution. Highly readable and enjoyable,The Electronic Silk Road is a piece of sound intellectual work, which is handsomely written.”—Mira Burri, University of Bern
May 17, 2012
My New Paper, Just in Time for IPO: Facebookistan
Most of Facebook's users lie outside the United States, its home jurisdiction. In a new paper published this week, I examine how Facebook has been regulated across the world. Download here.
Here is the abstract:
Who rules Facebookistan? Who makes the rules that govern the way a tenth of humanity connects on the Internet? The United States, France, China, or Mark Zuckerberg? Facebook represents a type of multinational corporation new to the world stage—one that raises issues different than those raised by earlier generations of multinational corporations. A review of international controversies involving Facebook reveals that Facebook has changed some of its policies as a result of pressures from governments around the world, while resisting other pressures. At the same time, Facebook has itself helped spur changes in the law, most evidently in helping undermine repressive governments. Ultimately, this Article finds that regulatory power is, de facto, dispersed across a wide array of international actors.
May 08, 2012
White House Issues Major Statement on Internet Policy
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has issued an important statement on Internet policy:
Members of the business community have expressed concern that some national governments seek to balkanize the Internet by establishing barriers to the free flow of information under the pretext of protecting cybersecurity, social stability, or local economies. This is contrary to President Obama's vision of an Internet that is interoperable the world over, and the United States will vigorously oppose such barriers. Further, these regulatory actions would create a confusing array of “local Internets,” establishing different rules for different places. Firms may cease to offer services outside the country in which they are based if a variety of domestic regulations makes it too complicated or too costly.
The statement embraces a multistakeholder view of Internet regulation.
ICANN rakes in $350 million in fees
ICANN's decision to open up the domain name space to any possibility under any language produced, unsurprisingly, a large number of applicants.
At $185,000 per application, ICANN said it is now sitting on an embarrassingly large cash pile of roughly $350m in application fees, much of which will be used to pay the programme's outside evaluators.
ICANN seems to plan to pay many outside experts to evaluate these applications. Perhaps time for many Chander.com readers to become domain name experts.
Thinking about Internet Policy
This is an excellent series of highly topical articles on the current state and possible future directions of the Internet. In-depth pieces cover such subjects as social media, privacy, Big Data, intellectual property and the political use of the Net by both governments and activists.The week of articles has the following themes:The New Cold WarThe Militarisation of CyberspaceThe New Walled GardensIP Wars'Civilising' the webThe Open ResistanceThe End of PrivacyIn addition, some key thinkers and innovators give new interviews or talks. These include:
April 29, 2012
The Difficulty of Taxing Digital Products: Case Study Apple
The New York Times examines Apple's tax avoidance practices. There's no suggestion that there is anything illegal in these activities.
Apple serves as a window on how technology giants have taken advantage of tax codes written for an industrial age and ill suited to today’s digital economy. Some profits at companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft derive not from physical goods but from royalties on intellectual property, like the patents on software that makes devices work. Other times, the products themselves are digital, like downloaded songs. It is much easier for businesses with royalties and digital products to move profits to low-tax countries than it is, say, for grocery stores or automakers. A downloaded application, unlike a car, can be sold from anywhere.
... Apple was a pioneer of an accounting technique known as the “Double Irish With a Dutch Sandwich,” which reduces taxes by routing profits through Irish subsidiaries and the Netherlands and then to the Caribbean. Today, that tactic is used by hundreds of other corporations — some of which directly imitated Apple’s methods, say accountants at those companies.
...For instance, one of Apple’s subsidiaries in Luxembourg, named iTunes S.à r.l., has just a few dozen employees, according to corporate documents filed in that nation and a current executive. The only indication of the subsidiary’s presence outside is a letterbox with a lopsided slip of paper reading “ITUNES SARL.”
...Luxembourg has just half a million residents. But when customers across Europe, Africa or the Middle East — and potentially elsewhere — download a song, television show or app, the sale is recorded in this small country, according to current and former executives. In 2011, iTunes S.à r.l.’s revenue exceeded $1 billion, according to an Apple executive, representing roughly 20 percent of iTunes’s worldwide sales.
tax experts say that strategies like the Double Irish help explain how Apple has managed to keep its international taxes to 3.2 percent of foreign profits last year, to 2.2 percent in 2010, and in the single digits for the last half-decade, according to the company’s corporate filings.
... Apple reported in its last annual disclosures that $24 billion — or 70 percent — of its total $34.2 billion in pretax profits were earned abroad, and 30 percent were earned in the United States
Important reporting by Charles Duhigg and David Kocieniewski, which will hopefully spark a conversation about these practices.
March 07, 2012
Using the Internet to Combat Corruption
Sunlight is the best disinfectant, Justice Brandeis told us. The Internet helps people expose things to the sun. The Indian website "I Paid a Bribe," allows people to report bribes they paid or refused to pay. It's a brilliant idea to crowdsource this information. A nice NY Times piece profiles the site.
March 01, 2012
IEEE Podcast on My New Paper: How Law Made Silicon Valley
You can preview my new paper here, in this podcast published by IEEE--the main society for electrical engineers.
Thanks to interviewer Steven Cherry and producer Barbara Finkelstein for readily grasping my argument, and doing a great job in the interview.
February 01, 2012
The Facebook IPO and SOPA
Facebook obliquely references SOPA/PIPA in its disclosure (along with other proposed laws), as a risk factor to its business:
... there have been a number of recent legislative proposals in the United States, at both the federal and state level, that would impose new obligations in areas such as privacy and liability for copyright infringement by third parties. These existing and proposed laws and regulations can be costly to comply with and can delay or impede the development of new products, result in negative publicity, increase our operating costs, require significant management time and attention, and subject us to claims or other remedies, including fines or demands that we modify or cease existing business practices.
January 20, 2012
The Chinese View of SOPA
The New Yorker has a story on the Chinese view of SOPA:
Commentator Shi Han wrote about trying to post a comment to Tencent, the giant Chinese portal. “I’ve written a short article about SOPA. But when I tried to put it up, Tencent replied with a message: ‘Your content has not passed review.’”