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Trust is the foundation of society for without trust, we cannot

cooperate. Trust, in turn, depends upon secure, reliable, and persistent

identity. Cyberspace is thought to challenge our ability to build trust

because the medium undermines the connection between online

pseudonym and offline identity. We have no assurances of who stands

behind an online avatar; it may be one person, it may be more, it may be a

computer. The legal debate to date has focused exclusively on the question

of how to maintain real world identity in cyberspace. But new "social

software" technology that enables communities from eBay to Amazon

collectively to rate their members is giving rise to meaningful reputation

in an online context. To determine what rules should govern online

reputation and the use of such reputational data, we should look not only

to constitutional, copyright, or tort law, but to trademark, the area of

doctrine most closely analogous. Trademarks are a collaborative creation

made by the source of the mark and the buying public, which associates

the mark with that source. The public 's interest in the mark circumscribes

the property rights of the individual holder. By reasoning from trademark

theory to create a new set of rules for online reputation we create

incentives for the social construction of trust in cyberspace. One key

consequence of this approach is the conclusion that in order to produce

reliable and persistent online identity, past reputational data should be

preserved, transparent, and widely shared.