What is Metalaw?

According to Dr. Ernst Fasan, Metalaw is “the entire sum of legal rules regulating relationships between different races in the universe.” Metalaw is the “first and basic ‘law’ between races” providing the ground rules for a relationship if and when we establish communication with or encounter another intelligent race in the universe. Dr. Fasan envisioned these rules as governing both human conduct and that of extraterrestrial races so as to avoid mutually harmful activities.

Metalaw and the Active SETI (METI) Controversy


San Marino Scale for quantifying potential hazard of transmissions from Earth (IAA SETI Permanent Study Group)

A Contrarian Perspective on Altruism: the Dangers of First Contact
Ten Decisions That Could Shake the World
IAA Position paper: Sending Communications to Extraterrestrial Civilizations (2007 revision)


D.A. Vakoch, Responsibility, Capability, and Active SETI: Policy, Law, Ethics and Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Acta Astronautica (2010), doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2010.01.008

D.A. Vakoch, Asymmetry in Active SETI:  A Case for Transmissions from Earth, Acta Astronautica (2010), 

P.M. Sterns, SETI and Space Law: Jurisprudential and Philosophical Considerations for Humankind in Relation to Extraterrestrial Life, Acta Astronautica 46 (10-12) (2000) 759-763

G.A. Lemarchand, D.E. Tarter, Active Search Strategies and the SETI Protocols: Is There a Conflict?, Space Policy 10 (2) (1994) 124-142