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JILT 2009 (3) - Book Review 2

Law and the Internet

Reviewed by
Philip Leith
School of Law
Queen's University
Belfast

This is Book Review published on 22 December 2009.

Citation: Leith, Philip, ‘Law and the Internet’, Book Review, 2009 (3) Journal of Information, Law & Technology (JILT), <http://go.warwick.ac.uk/jilt/2009_3/bookreview>


Law and the Internet, Third Edition, Edwards L and Waelde C, Hart Publishing 2009.

The welcome updating of Law and the Internet (which has lost the subtitle from the previous two editions of 'a framework for electronic commerce') demonstrates just how the field has developed since the first edition was published in 1997 – the index of cases is now 11 pages long and the text itself appears to be twice as long as the previous edition. The theme of the text, though, remains the framework for electronic commerce with 21 chapters and 17 authors covering domain names, copyright, ISP liability, impact of search engines, etc. Since its first edition, Law and the Internet has consistently appeared in my students' essays citation list demonstrating its utility as a source of insightful articles. Our library copies of the 2nd edition are now well worn and dog-eared, if perhaps less frequently cited than in the past.

Of particular interest in this edition is Antony Taubman's essay on internet governance. Taubman – from the WIPO – writes of the difficulty of transforming (and then governing) the private issues of internet communication into public issues which have an international dimension. He concludes that 'it may transpire that the Internet will transform international governance more than international institutions transform the internet ...” Of course, governments may find such a conclusion difficult – judges certainly do: as I write this I note that Tiger Woods has won an injunction to stop the British press from reporting what the rest of the world is able to read about this private life on tmz.com. Such a judicial act of censorship reminds me of Judge Michael Argyle trying to turn back the tide of social permissiveness in the early 1970s.

The quality of the other articles in the collection is high, with good analysis of the ever developing and intruding regime of Directives harmonizing the digital marketplace in Europe.

Is anything missing? Clearly the target is electronic commerce issues, but there now seems to be a growing field of internet issues in employment law which are internet related. Perhaps the fourth edition might include a section on this, too, as the problems of being an employer/employee in the 21st century become ever more digital.