Cyberspace as Class

In many ways, then, the theory of a sovereign Cyberspace was a theory of class. The idea of Cyberspace as a sovereign bestowed a privilege on Cyberspace residents -- it allowed them to ignore laws, especially intellectual property laws, that the rest of society remained bound to follow. It falls into a category of efforts, familiar through history, to use a worthy sounding idea to preserve the special status of an established elite. It is in this need to exclude that we find where the true borders of Cyberspace were, and what they did. For years, it was the barriers created by technological knowledge that kept everyone but a small group from sharing in the opportunities of the Internet. UNIX was the Latin of the Internet. And so for a long time it was in a sense true that Cyberspace was a place, yet for all the wrong reasons. It was a place only because it was difficult to get to.

-- Tim Wu