Today we’re bringing you a special episode focused on digital autonomy and Joel’s thought experiment that he has called the Control Layer. We’re joined by Todd Zywicki, renowned Professor of Law at George Mason University, to help us unpack all the legality surrounding what we truly own on our screens, and where this digitized age is heading next.

All of this right here, right now, on the Modern CTO Podcast! 

For more about Todd, visit his Wikipedia page here.

Have feedback about the show? Let us know here.

Produced by ProSeries Media.

For booking inquiries, email [email protected]

About Todd Zywicki

Todd J. Zywicki is George Mason University Foundation Professor of Law at George Mason University Antonin Scalia School of Law, Research Fellow of the Law & Economics Center, and former Executive Director of the Law and Economics Center. In 2020-21 he served as the Chair of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law. In 2021 he was inducted into the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers. He served as Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Law & Economics in 2019. From 2003-2004, Professor Zywicki served as the Director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission. In 2009, Professor Zywicki was the recipient of the Institute for Humane Studies 2009 Charles G. Koch Outstanding IHS Alum Award. He served as Co-Editor of the Supreme Court Economic Review from 2006-2017 and as Editor from 2001-2002. He teaches in the area of Bankruptcy, Contracts, Commercial Law, Law & Economics, and Public Choice and the Law. He has also taught at Vanderbilt University Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, Boston College Law School, Mississippi College School of Law, and China University of Political Science and Law.

Professor Zywicki clerked for Judge Jerry E. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and worked as an associate at Alston & Bird in Atlanta, Georgia, where he practiced bankruptcy and commercial law. He received his JD from the University of Virginia, where he was executive editor of the Virginia Tax Review and John M. Olin Scholar in Law and Economics. Professor Zywicki also received an MA in Economics from Clemson University and an AB cum laude with high honors in his major from Dartmouth College.

Professor Zywicki is the author of more than 130 articles in leading law reviews and peer-reviewed economics journals. He has been one of the Top 50 Most Downloaded Law Authors at the Social Science Research Network, both All Time and during the Past 12 Months, and is currently ranked in the top 10% in total number of downloads for all fields on SSRN. From 2013-2017 and 2010-2014 he was among the ten most-cited faculty in the field of Commercial Law. From 2005-2009 was the eleventh most-highly cited law professor in the fields of Commercial Law and Bankruptcy and the most-cited Commercial Law and Bankruptcy scholar under the age of 45 (at that time). He has testified several times before Congress on issues of consumer bankruptcy law and consumer credit and is a frequent commentator on legal issues in the print and broadcast media, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, Washington Times, Forbes, Nightline, National Review, NBC Nightly News, The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Fox and Friends, Fox Business, CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg News, BBC, ABC Radio, The Diane Rehm Show, Lou Dobbs Radio Show, Neil Cavuto Show, John Batchelor Show, and The Laura Ingraham Show. He is a contributor to the popular legal blog The Volokh Conspiracy.

Professor Zywicki is also a Senior Fellow at the F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and has previously served as a Senior Scholar of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Senior Fellow of the Cato Institute, Senior Fellow of the International Center for Law and Economics, a Fellow of the International Centre for Economic Research in Turin, Italy, and Senior Fellow of the Goldwater Institute. During the Fall 2008 Semester Professor Zywicki was the Searle Fellow of the George Mason University School of Law and was a 2008-09 W. Glenn Campbell and Rita Ricardo-Campbell National Fellow and the Arch W. Shaw National Fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. He has lectured and consulted with government officials around the world, including the European Union, Germany, Canada, Guatemala, Iceland, Italy, Japan, and Romania. In 2006 Professor Zywicki served as a Member of the United States Department of Justice Study Group on “Identifying Fraud, Abuse and Errors in the United States Bankruptcy System.” In 2011 Professor Zywicki delivered the Dean Lindsey Cowen Lecture in Business Law and Regulation at Case Western Reserve School of Law. In 2013 he was invited to deliver a Vision Series Lecture at George Mason University (watch here). In 2013 he delivered the Jack R. Lee Chair of Financial Institutions and Consumer Finance Lecture at Mississippi State University School of Business. He was awarded the 2012 Society for the Development of Austrian Economics prize for “Best Article in Austrian Economics” for his article “Hayekian Anarchism” (co-authored with Edward Peter Stringham).

Professor Zywicki is a member of the board of trustees or advisory board of numerous nonprofit and educational organizations, including the Board of Directors of the Institute for Humane Studies, the Board of Directors of the The Bill of Rights Institute, the Executive Committee for the Federalist Society’s Financial Institutions and E-Commerce Practice Group, the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE), the Board of Trustees of the Center for Excellence in Higher Education, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute (where he also previously served as Chairman). He also previously served on the Advisory Council of the Centro para el Analisis de las Decisiones Publicas, Universidad de Francisco Marroquin, Guatemala City, Guatemala (Public Choice Center at University of Francisco Marroquin). He has also served as Chair of the Academic Advisory Council for The Bill of Rights Institute, the film “We the People in IMAX,” and the McCormick-Tribune Foundation “Freedom Museum” in Chicago, Illinois. From 2005-2009 he served as an elected Alumni Trustee of the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees. He is a member of the Board of Visitors of Ralston College and was a trustee of Yorktown University.

About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest and most diverse public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 39,000 students from 130 countries and 50 states, and has a residential population of more than 6,000 students. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation, entrepreneurship, and commitment to providing academic opportunities for students of all backgrounds.

With 10 schools and colleges offering more than 200 degree programs, Mason is a vibrant community of scholars and researchers that spans three campuses in Arlington (Mason Square), Fairfax, and Prince William and learning locations across the Commonwealth of Virginia. We also have an international campus in Songdo, South Korea.

Our goal is to enable all of our graduates to pursue meaningful lives and successful careers. Our definition of a successful graduate is a well-rounded scholar and an engaged citizen in the community and the world, who has all the necessary skills to compete in the workplace. More than 75 percent of Mason alumni have a post-graduate plan within six months of graduation (employment, graduate school, military service, or volunteering).


Joel Beasley

Joel Beasley founded the Modern CTO Podcast in 2017 while writing his book, the Modern CTO book, with the goal of interviewing CTOs and sharing their experiences with others in the tech community.

Joel’s conversational style and insightful questions quickly gained traction, attracting high-profile guests such as Microsoft’s CTO, Kevin Scott, and T-Mobile’s CIO, Cody Stanford. With each episode, the podcast’s popularity continued to grow, and soon, Joel found himself with a waiting list of future guests.

Today, the Modern CTO Podcast has become the number one leadership and tech podcast in the world, with over 150k active listeners, including CTOs, lead developers, and rising tech leaders. Joel’s commitment to creating a conversational atmosphere for his guests to share their experiences has inspired a new generation of leaders and innovators.

As the success of the podcast grew, Joel founded ProSeries Media, a podcast production company that helps companies worldwide create their own podcasts. With a team of producers, content creators, and podcast bookers, ProSeries Media produces over ten shows, providing a platform for companies to connect with their audience and share their expertise.

Through his work on the Modern CTO Podcast and ProSeries Media, Joel Beasley has become a respected voice in the tech industry, inspiring others to share their knowledge and insights with the wider community. His passion for creating engaging content that informs, inspires, and entertains has made him a sought-after speaker and advisor on all things tech.



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