Professor Julie Cohen Awarded 2013 Book Prize from Association of Internet Researchers
August 12, 2013 —
The Association of Internet Researchers (AOIR) has honored Professor Julie E. Cohen with its 2013 AOIR Book Award for Configuring the Networked Self: Law, Code, and the Play of Everyday Practice (Yale University Press, 2012).
The award celebrates the best book published in Internet research in the previous year, seeking to “recognize the best work in our field, and highlight the breadth of work that is done relating to the social and cultural dimensions of networked media.”
The selection committee “noted that the book was well organized and written in an accessible style, while remaining provocative,” the AOIR wrote on its website, as it congratulated Professor Cohen for her contribution to the field. The committee “appreciated the grounding of the argument in user practice, and Cohen’s ability to account for the reality of decentered subjectivity and creativity.”
In the book, Cohen argues that in making legal rules for the information society, legal scholars should focus on the ordinary, everyday ways that people use information and on the importance of play with cultural and technical artifacts and with different conceptions of identity.
Cohen maintains that in order for people to flourish in the networked information society, we must have “access to knowledge,” but that access alone is not enough. Lawyers, policy makers and designers of information tools must also work to ensure “operational transparency,” or knowledge of how digital architectures work and how information will be used. In addition, they must work to preserve “semantic discontinuity,” or breathing room to play with information and information tools without undue technical constraint and without being reduced to a simplistic informational profile.
Cohen joined the Georgetown Law faculty in 1999. She teaches and writes about intellectual property and information privacy law, with particular focus on digital works and on the intersection of copyright and privacy rights. She is a co-author of Copyright in a Global Information Economy (Aspen Law & Business, 3d ed. 2010) and serves on the advisory boards of the Electronic Privacy Information Center and Public Knowledge.