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Internet Law

What is Internet Law? Internet law refers to how the law governs the use of the internet.  It is synonymous with the term "Cyberlaw."  Internet law is not a distinct area of law (for example, personal injury law), and it cannot be identified as one specific field of practice.  Internet law, in actuality, is an amalgamation of principles and laws from several traditional fields, such as privacy law, contract law, and of course, intellectual property law. 

What Law Does Internet Law Encompass? Internet law can include the following:

  • Laws related to copyrighted works displayed on a webpage

  • Laws governing Internet Service Providers

  • Laws related to use of trademarks online

  • Laws regarding how to resolve conflicts over domain names

Intellectual Property Law Prominently Features in Internet Law.  Copyright allows an author to control and exploit their work as they see fit.  Likewise, a trademark allows another to exclude others from use of a name or designation in connection with a particular good or services.  Both Trademarks and copyrights still apply in an online context.  As such, it is highly advisable that individuals and businesses place copyright and trademark notices on their websites and materials to warn others against theft of their intellectual property. 

Cybersquatting. A common practice by a businesses is to formally register their domain names to prevent cybersquatting.  Often, the domain name sought is either the same or very similar to the trademark used by the business.  While domain names are not the same as trademarks, the law does allow recourse against those who wrongfully "squat" on a domain name with the intent to hold it for ransom against the trademark holder.  There are several remedies that may be granted against cybersquatters, including transfer of the domain name.


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