Internet Law

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Internet law relates to all the laws that govern the Internet and its use. Unlike in other areas where there are plenty of historical laws and precedents, the laws governing this technology and its use are also new. Internet law covers a wide range of issues and new laws are being enacted and courts are ruling on new areas as new problems develop.

Internet Law

Internet law can be divided into laws that deal with defamation, content and speech rights, copyright, trademark, electronic contracts, privacy violations, marketing, and jurisdiction. See below for more details about internet law subdivisions.

Defamation

Online defamation can be a serious problem for both individuals and businesses because it can quickly reach a wider audience. As such Internet law covers online defamation through websites and social media. In order to determine who is responsible for the defamation one needs to use technical expertise to locate the server used and prove that the website was hacked or not hacked as the case might be.

Speech Rights

Apart from defamation laws, Internet laws also protect the right to speech and expression.

Copyright

As online content can easily be duplicated digitally, Internet law regarding copyright has to cover the rights and limitations of an user to copy content belonging to another.

Electronic Contracts

Website users as well as website owners need to have electronic contracts in place to protect their rights. These contracts will be used by both parties as part of Internet law to settle any disputes that arise. With the development and use of electronic signatures, Internet law governing electronic contracts covers this as well.

Privacy Violations

Another major concern for users of the Internet is privacy violation. There are various businesses and methods by which a person’s Internet usage can be tracked. Companies use cookies in their websites, emails are electronically monitored and ads are targeted based on websites visited and topics discussed in emails and social media. There are Internet laws that govern the privacy rights of an individual or business that has an online presence or uses the Internet that have to be respected.

Marketing

As online communication is less expensive than physical mail, Internet law has evolved to regulate and prohibit spamming. Additionally, businesses that use the Internet as a marketing tool need to ensure that their marketing efforts cannot be labeled spamming.

Jurisdiction

One major area of concern in Internet law is the jurisdiction of the courts over the Internet and its content. This is because businesses and individuals can host their content in servers located abroad. Similarly, a hacker can be based in a foreign country. Internet law is developing to answer questions such as the jurisdiction of a court over a person residing abroad who defames a person living in the U.S. These questions and their answers are still being debated. However, Internet law has also succeeded in answering some of these questions of jurisdiction, especially as they occur within the U.S., but across state boundaries.

Visit cohenschneider.com to learn more about the areas covered under Internet law.