Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Search Engine Law

James Grimmelmann, Yale Law School Information Society Project, has published "The Structure of Search Engine Law," via SSRN. Here is the abstract.

This article will provide a road map to the legal issues posed by Internet search engines. It will indicate what questions we must consider when thinking about search engines, and it will detail the interconnections among those questions. It will not endorse any particular normative framework for search. Nor will it recommend who should regulate search. Instead, it will provide the necessary foundation for informed decision-making, by whatever regulator and whatever its normative approach.

Part I will explain how modern search engines function and describe the business environment within which they operate. Part II, the heart of the article, will present a descriptive analysis of the legal struggles over search, showing how questions of search policy, many of which have long been latent in different fields of Internet law, are increasingly confronting lawyers, courts, and regulators. Part III will then show, with five examples, how taking a broad view of search yields otherwise unavailable insights into pressing controversies. This is not to say that the end result must be a body of search-specific law, only to note that failing to consider the larger forces at work in search is antithetical to sensible policy-making.

Download the entire paper here.

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