I’m delighted to say that Prof. James Grimmelmann will be guest-blogging this coming week about a fascinating topic — the history of Sealand and HavenCo, experiments in entrepreneurial off-shore government:
In 2000, a group of American entrepreneurs moved to a former World War II anti-aircraft platform in the North Sea, seven miles off the British coast, and launched HavenCo, one of the strangest start-ups in Internet history. A former pirate radio broadcaster, Roy Bates, had occupied the platform in the 1960s, moved his family aboard, and declared it to be the sovereign Principality of Sealand. HavenCo’s founders were opposed to governmental censorship and control of the Internet; by putting computer servers on Sealand, they planned to create a “data haven” for unpopular speech, safely beyond the reach of any other country. This article tells the full story of Sealand and HavenCo — and examines what they have to tell us about the nature of the rule of law in the age of the Internet.
Prof. Grimmelmann — a former (and sometimes still current) computer programmer — teaches and writes at New York Law School about intellectual property and Internet law.