Internet Law

Chris Marsden

in International Relations

ISBN: 9780199743292
Published online June 2012 | | DOI:
Internet Law

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Internet law is a relatively new academic subject, dating to approximately 1991 (see Goldman 2008, cited under Debate), but much of the relevant legislation dates to before 2002 (see Edwards and Waelde 2009, cited under General Overviews and Anthologies). As the law was colonizing the metaphorical “cyberspace”—communications between computer users over the Internet (see Technical Background and Regulation)—most of the authoritative and pioneering legal scholarship with regard to the new medium dates to the 1990s (see Marsden 2000, cited under General Overviews and Anthologies). Where real innovation has occurred in the core field, more recent sources are included, though it should be noted that several off-line subjects have themselves incorporated large literatures from their digital forms, including intellectual property, nonnetworked computer law, telecommunications, privacy, cybercrime, and media content regulation, all of which are substantive enough for their own bibliography (see the Oxford Bibliographies Criminology article Cybercrime). As the Internet was “born global” but first became widely deployed in the United States (see Kahin and Nesson 1997, cited under Development), much of the literature has a bias in that direction, a tendency exacerbated by both the relative openness of the US academy and student-run journals to the impact of new technologies on law and the much greater resources of US law schools than those of their equivalents in Europe and elsewhere. This survey is thus focused on US literature for the most part, with reference drawn where appropriate to other English-language literature and a very limited amount of foreign-language literature. This article is structured as follows. It begins with a discussion of the boundaries of Internet law and the debate on whether Internet law exists as a field and delimits itself by excluding intellectual property, cybercrime, and media law. It then considers in turn a general overview; essential textbooks, anthologies, and journals; the technical background; the development of Internet law; and the effect of the Internet on lawyers. It continues by considering the effect of Internet intermediaries, an essential topic to understand before considering specific topics. The specific topics in bounds are constitutional and human rights, jurisprudence and legal philosophy, regulation law and economics, competition law, telecommunications law, and the particular example of network neutrality. The article then considers issues essential to understanding the Internet economy: intellectual property where it affects Internet law directly, data protection and privacy, and electronic commerce law, including online gambling, online dispute resolution, and virtual worlds. There is no section on international and comparative law, as these areas are interwoven with the substantive topics. It would be foolhardy to claim to represent all the areas of Internet law, a contested field in itself, and the bibliography is selective of the topic, not comprehensive.

Article.  12718 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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