Internet Law encompasses all cases, statutes, and constitutional provisions that impact persons and institutions when they go online. Issues include free speech, intellectual property, privacy, safety, equity, jurisdiction, and e-commerce.
The balance between First Amendment freedom of expression and copyright creates a problem which cannot be solved easily in the field of Internet Law. The Internet is a medium that promotes freedom of expression as an interactive service of communication and social interaction.
Perhaps one of the biggest issues in Internet Law is the ongoing disputes involving music piracy, or illegally downloading music files from the Internet. The music industry is involved in an intense effort to find ways to protect and license the use of music over the internet.
There are also numerous cases pending before courts around the country regarding the legality of linking. In a recent case between Ticketmaster & Microsoft, a federal court judge in California ruled that linking does not infringe upon the linked site’s copyright.
Another of the larger issues confronting Internet Law is spam, or unsolicited commercial email. Spam, on average, takes up 40 percent of email volume in the United States. Although there are no federal laws yet enacted to confront the spam problem, several states have already passed such legislation. Current legislation floating around in Congress, such as RID-Spam, calls for commercial emails to state that it is advertising and include a return address.