Fifteen years ago when the Internet exploded with mass consumer adoption, what is “Internet Law” was more obvious, and less known, because there were so few websites and little legal analysis of the impact on the Internet on existing law.

Today, there is more clarity, although rapidly evolving technologies keep jumping far ahead of the slow moving law.

My definition of “Internet Law” is a legal issue that in some manner has unique aspects because the Internet is involved. Sometimes, the entire issue is unique to the Internet.

For example: consider a simple contract dispute where it is claimed P paid money for services but D did not performs.

Now add in an online click agreement, P is in California, D is in Australia, and services involved a website targeting users in Texas.

Before the Internet this type of scenario was much less likely to happen.

There are also digital issues not seen before, such as trespass, privacy rights, and the ease with which information can be copied with a click, or privacy invaded such as soon by NSA spying disclosures.

When you visit a store are you handed a privacy policy about what happens if you sign up to a mailing list?

Compare that to what happens when you are on a website signing up for an emailed newsletter.

When you are in a store shopping are you handed a contract at the checkout line where you agree to give up many rights and have to send any returns or file any disputes 3000 miles away?

Compare that to what happens when you shop at the same store online?

On the other hand, simply because the “Internet” is involved does not mean hundreds of years of law simply disappeared. The Internet is a tool and method of communication. The vast majority of laws have adapted over the years to various circumstances in which disputes arise, and continue to adapt with the digital age.

Filed under: Internet Law

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!