February 18, 2018

Dornseif: Technological Definitions in the Law

Maximillian Dornseif offers some comments following up on my previous posts about Source vs. Object Code, and definitions in the Berman-Coble bill. A brief excerpt:

The court system and legal doctrine is built all arround definitions. While defining things like cruelty, carelessness and such stuff is a well understood problem for lawmakers and courts, technical circumstances seem to be a major problem.

By way of example he quotes a 124-word definition of “railway” from a German law.

He considers several explanations for this phenomenon (lawyers’ technophobia, techies’ lawphobia, technological change outracing the legal process, etc.) and finds them all valid, but not sufficient to explain the size and scope of the problem.