Internet Law is a rapidly evolving practice area that currently consists of intellectual property law, contract law, privacy laws, among others.
Aside from censorship of the Internet in some nations, there are four primary modes of regulation of the internet: laws, architecture, norms, and markets:
- Laws of various states, countries, and international groups govern areas like gambling, child pornography, and fraud.
- Architecture refers to how information can be transmitted across the Internet, including issues such as filtering software, firewalls, encryption programs, and the very basic structure of internet transmission protocols, like TCP/IP.
- Norms refer to the ways in which people interact. Just as social norms govern what is and is not appropriate in offline society, norms affect behavior across the Internet. Where laws may fail to regulate certain activities online, social norms may allow the users to regulate such conduct.
- Market regulation controls patterns of conduct on the internet through the traditional economic principles of supply and demand.
Net neutrality refers to regulations of the infrastructure of the Internet. Every piece of information transmitted across the internet is broken into what are called “packets” of data, then passed through routers and transmission infrastructure owned by a variety of private and public entities, like telecommunications companies, universities, and government agencies. This has become a major area of concern in recent years, because changes to laws affecting this infrastructure in one jurisdiction change how information is sent and received in other jurisdictions.
Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or substitute for the advice of a lawyer.