When it comes to commodification on the Internet, it is a wild, wild World Wide Web. Researching encyclopedia articles for Wikipedia is an unpaid labor of love, but connecting to your friends on Facebook is a $100 billion enterprise. Newspaper classified advertisements are definitely commercial, but their equivalent on Craigslist was mostly non-commercial – until the Delaware Chancery Court stepped in. Selling your organs is prohibited in the United States, whereas selling hair promises to rescue third-world citizens from poverty. Selling sex is illegal as prostitution, but selling adultery online is a hot new business model. And a small company offering a free service to academics has quietly become the dominant method for disseminating academic legal research, quietly beating massive commercial data providers without anyone initially noticing. This Article explores these and other recent developments by discussing the challenging legal issues raised by Internet commodification of what is often unpaid labor.
Cherry, Miriam A., Cyber Commodification (October 1, 2012). Maryland Law Review; Saint Louis U. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-28.