Internet Law

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Internet law can be described as the field of law where the Internet plays a central role in the legal analysis. Existing law, sometimes after interpretation, is often used to solve Internet law issues. Many laws were written when the Internet did not exist or at least not in the way it does today. These laws were never meant for the Internet, where a single ‘click’ can have immense consequences and easily an almost infinite amount of people can be reached. There are also new norms that were specifically drafted for the Internet, such as those dealing with spam, cookies, electronic contracting, and cybercrime. The applicable legal framework is in a constant process of development.

When the Internet emerged, regulation did not seem necessary. However, with ever-increasing numbers of users, and the wide variety of online activities, Internet-related activities cannot do without law and regulation. This entry further describes Internet law and discusses legally relevant characteristics of the Internet. It then discusses the various fields of Internet law: Internet governance, intellectual property, e-commerce, cybercrime and cybersecurity, and data protection and privacy.

This text has been written with part of the 2016 Internet Law class: Barend van den Berg, Hidde Bruinsma, Charlotte Corthaus, Cindy van den Hooff, Robin Keyner, Olivier van Kuijen, Florian van der Leeuw, Sabrina Lodder, Tessa Meijlink, Daan van der Neut, Florentine Nusman, Cas Schiopu, Jasper Schnezler, Flora Schulte Nordholt, Erinn van Soest, Julia Stoelman, Marcel Vis
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe SAGE Encyclopedia of the Internet
EditorsBarney Warf
Number of pages9
Volume2. F-Q
ISBN (Electronic)9781473960350 , 9781473960367
ISBN (Print)9781473926615
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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