From Swords to Ploughshares
Elgar Law and Entrepreneurship series
Edited by Lateef Mtima
Chapter 1: An introduction to intellectual property social justice and entrepreneurship: Civil rights and economic empowerment for the 21st century
For those with access, the Internet is the worldwide means for sharing information, expressing ideas, and doing business – and an accepted fact of modern life. From national governments to neighborhood councils, from renowned universities to grade school tutors, from multi-national mega-corporations to web-based home businesses, the Internet is a means of global communication and commerce made manifest. Given the Internet’s present day significance and ubiquity, most people would be surprised to learn that in the Internet’s early history, a single company had virtually sole control of the process through which individuals, organizations, and corporations could obtain a place on the Internet. In 1992, Network Solutions, Inc. was the sole bidder on a grant offered by the National Science Foundation for the development of a domain name registration service system for the Internet. Then as now, a domain name is the Internet address for one’s web page or presence and is the means by which one enters and is located in cyberspace. As amazing as it seems, for years, a single company – Network Solutions – actually controlled a near monopoly on the gateway to the Internet. And that company was the entrepreneurial brainchild of two African American men.