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Network Neutrality: An Empirical Approach to Legal Interoperability

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Abstract

The Internet is grounded in an open and interoperable architecture, giving rise to a quintessentially transnational environment. This global network of networks is, however, in natural tension with an international legal system based on mutually excluding legal frameworks. Differently from electronic networks, which are based on shared technical standards whose main objective is to make different systems compatible, national juridical system are based on essentially domestic rules, whose application to the online environment has the potential to fragment the Internet. The implementation of divergent domestic laws and regulation has indeed the potential to balkanise the global Internet creating separated national intranets and potentially conflicting cyberspaces. It seems important, therefore, to encourage the development of harmonious rules across jurisdictions, thus fostering the compatibility of the legal systems penetrated by the Internet. Promoting a “legally interoperable” environment may be considered as an instrumental step to achieving a better-functioning Internet ecosystem, in which new technologies can spur, and the free flow of information is not hindered by diverging national laws.

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Chapter
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Book
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