Internet law is under development, and as the Internet expands, so does the body of law to support it. The primary legal areas associated with the Internet are domain name disputes, Web site development and maintenance, and copyright and trademark disputes. Parties working on Internet law generally use existing legal frameworks to develop the law that specifically addresses issues raised on the Internet.
The registrars who manage the domain name registration process have developed specific procedures and terms associated with domain name disputes. These dispute resolution procedures are a part of Internet law. The parties, registrants, and service providers associated with a domain name dispute must follow the procedures in order to reach a legal solution for the dispute. These procedures have developed over time and work directly with trademark law in order to solve a problem that is a result of doing business on the Internet.
Web site development and maintenance make up the bulk of the issues associated with Internet law. Sites are constructed or developed in a manner similar to other software development projects; however, there are many issues associated with advertising and content management that must also be considered. Many Web sites can be almost alive with regard to the way that they change and grow. The legal implications associated with this type of growth are difficult to manage.
Sites that allow third parties to place content have policies they have developed to designate who owns the content and who has a license to such content, among other legal issues. These policies are different, depending upon the type of content to be placed onto the site by the third parties. This policy development is an area of Internet law that is constantly changing. Businesses draw on traditional legal backgrounds to support the service provider; sometimes there is no history upon which to base the policy, however.
Maintenance and provision of service to companies using the Internet might be based upon traditional technical services contracts. These terms are generally sufficient for regular Web sites. Traditional services contracts are ill equipped to assist those business that stand to lose substantial income based upon a loss of service, however. Companies in these circumstances often find it is worthwhile to spend time and money with a legal firm that specializes in Internet law to help negotiate service contracts.
Trademark and copyright issues are rampant on the Internet. It is easy for a party to copy another party’s content and use it. Finding each of these types of infringement can be difficult. Each case of infringement must be analyzed to determine if it is cost-effective to address the issue.