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Laws and Internet 4th Conference on Human Factors & the Web Sponsored by AT&T Labs June 5, 1998 Nuray Aykin AT&T labs.

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Presentation on theme: "Laws and Internet 4th Conference on Human Factors & the Web Sponsored by AT&T Labs June 5, 1998 Nuray Aykin AT&T labs."— Presentation transcript:

1 Laws and Internet 4th Conference on Human Factors & the Web Sponsored by AT&T Labs June 5, 1998 Nuray Aykin AT&T labs

2 Why Do We Care? uA business with a Web site can potentially be subject to jurisdiction not only in a state in which it had not anticipated being subject to jurisdiction, but also in a foreign country, where the business will be subject to a foreign court, to proceedings that are conducted in a foreign language, to face a charge that resonates strongly in that foreign country, based entirely on the law of that foreign country. uMultilingual Web sites should pay particular attention to potential legal issues, since they are likely to be visited more by the people from other countries.

3 Issues in Dealing with the Global Community uTariffs and taxation uElectronic payment system uUniform commercial code for electronic commerce uIntellectual property protection uPrivacy uSecurity uTelecommunications infrastructure and information technology uContent uTechnical Standards

4 New Reality uBits cannot be stopped, inspected or even detected uPhysical place becomes unimportant uLocation of users and publishers often impossible to determine

5 Examples uFrance - In early 1997, two French Language associations filed suit against Georgia Institute of Technology for presenting information only in English about the Georgia Techs educational programs in France. The organizations claimed that this violated a 1994 French law which outlawed the use of foreign words in any advertisement for goods and services if an approved French word could be used instead. The suit was dropped, but the Web site has the information in French and in English. Source: Playing by the International Internet Rules, John Petrovich, Multilingual Web Sites Conference

6 Examples uCanada - In May 1997, the Office de la Langue Francaise(OLF) informed the operator in a computer sotre in Montreal that his Web site violates Canadian language laws requiring the use of French. The law dictates that even the corporate logos cannot be displayed unless French translations were also displayed, with the French letters at least the twice the size of the English ones. Source: Playing by the International Internet Rules, John Petrovich, Multilingual Web Sites Conference

7 Examples uGreat Britain - County Council of Nottinghamshire filed suit against Prof. Peter Junger, law professor at Case Western University Law School in Cleveland, Ohio. Prof. Jungers Web site had a report detailing child abuse and Satanic practices involving children by social workers in Nottinghamshire. The County Council claimed to hold the copyright of that report, Prof. Junger did not remove the offending report. He also provided extensive materials about the case at his Web site. Source: Playing by the International Internet Rules, John Petrovich, Multilingual Web Sites Conference

8 Examples uGermany- In April 1997, German police arrested the head of German division of CompuServe on criminal charges that CompuServe were trafficking in child pornography and neo-Nazi propaganda. The German police also entered the CompuServe offices in Munich which caused CompuServe to cut off temporarily all the sites. When they turned on the service, they had to distribute the users screening software. In June 1997, Germany adopted a new law that purports to extend German legal jurisdiction to any Web site accessible from Germany. Source: Playing by the International Internet Rules, John Petrovich, Multilingual Web Sites Conference

9 Examples uU.S. authorities charged 14 owners and managers of 6 offshore companies with illegally using interstate phone lines to attract and take online bets from Americans. Defendants set up companies in Antigua, the Dominican Republic, Curacao and Costa Rica, and recruited potential betters in the U.S. with direct mail campaigns, newspaper ads and ads on the Web. The defendants were charged with conspiracy to use the Internet and phone lines to make wagers. Prosecutors said that defendants can be prosecuted under U.S. law even though the companies are based offshore because defendants used U.S. wire facilities to execute illegal bets. Federal prosecutors do not have jurisdiction over operations based in countries where sports betting is legal. Another of the defendants claimed that he was not in the gambling business, but rather in the Internet business, and therefore should not be held for violating U.S. gambling laws. Source: Law Firm Memos: Tangled Web by Beck & Arad LLP

10 China Issues Internet Regulations uThe Ministry of Public Security will assume responsibility for the security, protection and management of all computer networks within the borders of the PRC. uAmong other restrictions, the regulations prohibit use of the Internet to create, replicate, retrieve or transmit information which incites to unlawful activity, incites to overthrow the government or the socialist system or to divide the country; or incites hatred or discrimination; or promotes sexually suggestive material, gambling, violence or murder. uUse of the Internet in furtherance of terrorism or to incite others to criminal activity is also prohibited. Source: Computer Law Strategist, April 1998

11 Question of Jurisdiction: Whose Law Should Apply? uLocation - Everywhere Message can be written by someone in Country A Read by someone in Country B Server is located in Country C Existing laws are tied to particular places by necessity and history Virtual presence on the Internet

12 Question of Jurisdiction (contd) uDesire to Protect the Citizens –Nations/states usually impose their will on activities taking place within or intended to have a substantial effect within their territories –Passive nature of the Internet are hard to deal with. uNo Physical Boundaries –Information can be sent anywhere, or accessed from anywhere. –Information is available to anyone –Users are not generally aware of the locations of one another(domains can be registered anywhere)

13 Privacy and the Internet uDisclosure of a wide variety of personal information, including name, age, address, credit card numbers, medical information or reading habits uLegal protection of personal information varies from country to country and may be based on laws, ordinances, directives and industry self-regulation. uIn 1995, the Council and Parliament of the European Union adopted a directive on harmonization of data privacy laws in the EU (Directive 95/46/EC). The EU directive, which will be implemented in the EU member states in October 1998, will require that a country to which data is transferred provide "adequate" data protection. Source: New York Law Journal, May 12, 1998

14 Legal Issues uDomain name registration --register your name, if still available, as soon as possible uContent of your site (audio as well as video)-- make sure it does not infringe anyone's trademark copyright or other intellectual property right. uPreservation of trade secret status -- identify all trade secrets and monitor their Internet use

15 Providing a Web Site Legal Page uProvide a clear and easy to read Web Site legal page uMake users visit the legal page before proceeding to the other pages uRequire Web Site visitors indicate their acceptance of the terms and conditions uProvide copyright and trademark notices uRestrict permissible uses of web site materials uLimit open-ended liability for damages uDisclaim responsibility for errors and omissions in web site materials

16 Providing a Web Site Legal Page(contd) uDisclaim all implied warranties uDisclaim responsibility for material posted at linked sites uEstablish guidelines for on-line behavior uRequire indemnification for loss or damage caused by web site visitors uExplain rights and obligations with respect to bulletin board contributions uProhibit downloading of software by users n restricted countries (e.g. exporting software to Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Syria, Libya, and North Korea)

17 If You Plan to Sell Via Your Site uConsider sales terms and conditions that address tax, liability, warranties and governing law issues and uMake sure that various state, federal and international laws in the jurisdictions in which you are selling are considered uVerify whether your product liability insurance covers online sales uBeware of states'attempts to collect tax for sales within their jurisdiction. uMay need to create an online contract which will need to consider issues of offer, acceptance, electronic signature and enforcement

18 Guidelines for Going Global uYou cannot educate yourself on international laws and country-specific laws uProvide warnings that those jurisdictions are not screened for this content uProvide a consent page uNotice the potential violators uHope that your company does not have a physical presence at the country at issue.


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