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Digital Business Lawyer

Volume: 3 Issue: 7
(July 2001)


Napster has won an emergency stay of an order which could have left them offline indefinitely. The Ninth Circuit of the US Court of Appeals agreed to the stay of the order from Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, who had ordered Napster to stay shut until given permission to start file sharing by the Courts. Chief Judge Patel had told Napster that you’re going to have to get authorisation from the Court in order to go back up and perform those functions of downloading music and copying music at a hearing before the United States District Court, Northern District of California on 13 July. Napster also filed a full appeal of Judge Patel’s order, with legal briefs due by 9 August. / read more

A wide ranging battle is set to take place between Consumer Groups and business over European Commission plans for European wide contract law reform. The 13 July 2001 Communication from the Commission outlines four different options for reform, ranging from leaving market forces to deal with any problems that exist, to creating ‘a new legal instrument at Community level which could, for example, be an optional model chosen by the contractual parties or a safety net of fallback provisions in case parties have not foreseen a solution for an eventual problem in the contract’. / read more

A US District Court refused to grant an order to Netscape Communications compelling arbitration of a privacy dispute arguing that what Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein termed a ‘browse wrap’ agreement was fatally flawed in not obtaining assent. / read more


The development of e-government is still the holy grail of administrations around the world.The creation of a government infrastructure that allows business and citizen to transact their affairs online with government departments is seen both as an enabler and a driving force for the development of the e-economy. / read more

The European Commission has launched a major consultation exercise in preparation for a radical reform of European Contract Law. The Commission has, until now, adopted a case by case approach to the harmonisation of contract law. In the area of consumer law seven Directives dealing with contractual issues have been adopted in the period from 1985 to 1999‘The European Commission is interested at this stage in gathering information on the need for farther-reaching EC action in the area of contract law, in particular to the extent that the case-by-case approach might not be able to solve all the problems which might arise’, notes the EU Communication. / read more

On 10 July 2001, on an application by Demon Internet, the High Court varied the controversial injunction protecting the identities of the killers of James Bulger. The injunction is controversial not just because of the questions it raises about the protection of criminals (questions not addressed here) but also because of the implications it has for the liability of the press and freedom of speech. While the variation has attracted a great deal of media attention, what is the real implication of it for ISPs? / read more

Data transfer out of the European Union has been a matter of concern and controversy ever since the Data Protection Directive was passed in 1995. After years of negotiation, two methods have been developed to provide for the transfer of data from Europe, the Safe Harbor and the recently agreed EU Model Clauses. This article compares the two approaches. / read more

Businesses are placing increased reliance on e-commerce and the Internet. With this comes new risks and dangers which we are only now beginning to comprehend. The global nature of the Internet gives rise to new inter-jurisdictional risks. It is also becoming increasingly regulated such that there are a growing number of offences and torts which may be committed in the virtual world. The natural way of dealing with these increased risks is to look to insurance. But how are the insurance companies tackling this issue? Clearly this could represent a major new business opportunity for them. On the other hand, the risks may simply be too great to be attractive. This article looks at some of the implications to both insurers and businesses of the increase in liabilities caused by operating online. / read more

The UK Planning Inspectorate (PINS) has launched two web based initiatives. The Inspectorate is an agency of the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) and the National Assembly for Wales. They handle Planning Appeals and Inquiries in respect of both the Local Authority Plans and Policies that regulate development, and also individual development proposals. It is a highly professional service used to dealing with issues affecting the public interest as well as large numbers of private individuals and public bodies, sometimes attracting heavyweight media interest. UK law firm Foot Anstey Sargent were recently awarded the contract to provide the legal advice to PINS and this article looks at the issues raised by the implementation of these e-government projects. / read more

Jersey has invested heavily in the telecoms infrastructure resulting in the island having resilient, broadband links between it and the United Kingdom, France and Guernsey. Only 33% of bandwidth is being used at peak times currently, so, there is plenty of spare capacity. / read more

On July 16 2001 the Hong Kong government announced the broad outlines of their initiatives to combat computer crime,taking account of the public response to the Report discussed below. This article was written before the government’s announcement, however a summary of the Hong Kong government’s proposals are outlined in the box opposite. Hong Kong, like many other countries is taking stock of its resources and is considering methods to tackle the problem of rising cyber crime. Recently, we have seen the spread of computer viruses, sentenced one cyber stalker to prison, and discovered a major Internet banking fraud. What steps is Hong Kong taking? What are other countries doing? / read more

About Digital Business Lawyer:

The monthly publication providing authoritative insights and thought leadership on the legal/regulatory issues affecting online business, covering distance selling, contracts, domain names, adblocking, advertising, cloud computing, net neutrality, e-privacy, data protection, cyber crime, the Internet of Things, social media, internet taxation and software / read more

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