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Internet Law and Policy

   by Janine Hiller / Ronnie Cohen

    Prentice Hall
    15 January, 2002


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Editorial description(s):

From the Back Cover

Meet Professors Hiller and Cohen--two pioneers in the fast-growing field of Internet law and policy. When they set out to design some of the first courses on this subject, they were at a loss for a proper text. Internet Law & Policy was written out of that necessity--as well as a passion for their chosen field. The result is a text that offers a comprehensive, current, and practical resource for understanding the legal environment of the Internet and electronic transactions. Here are just some of the features you'll find in this exciting new text:

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About the Author

Janine S. Hiller is a professor of business law and the past director of the Center for Global Electronic Commerce (CGEC) at the Pamplin College of Business, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia. She was one of the first in the country to teach a course in Internet law, in 199'7. She has designed and achieved approval for two courses in Internet law and policy, at the graduate and undergraduate level. As a founding member of the CGEC, Professor Hiller provided leadership for a concentration in electronic commerce in the MBA program and a minor in electronic business at the undergraduate level. She is a member of several American Bar Association committees including ones on privacy and jurisdiction on the Internet, as well as the Electronic Payments subcommittee of Science and Technology. She is also a member of WALT, a working group of the United Nations looking at standardized contracting on the Internet. Professor Hiller previously served as associate dean for graduate and international business programs, executive director of the Mid Atlantic regional of ALSB, and is a past senior articles editor for the, Journal of Legal Studies Education, currently serving in the position of editor in chief.

Ronnie Cohen is a professor in the School of Business at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. Her area of specialty is business law. She holds a J.D. and LL.M. (taxation) from the College of William & Mary. Professor Cohen has published in the areas of law and literature, feminism (including feminist perspectives on corporation law and tax), and employment law. Her work has been cited in R. Bauman, Critical Legal Studies: A Guide to the Literature (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996) . Since 1993, Professor Cohen has participated in Christopher Newport University's distance learning program: CNU Online. This program has evolved from a bulletin board approach to a Web-based, multi-media course presentation. Professor Cohen has presented demonstrations of online teaching to local and national audiences. Her article, "Business Law in Cyberspace" appeared in the, Journal of Legal Studies Education 1997. As the 2000-2001 Brauer Professor of Business, she has collaborated with the Virginia Electronic Commerce Technology Center, located at Christopher Newport University, to respond to the need of the business community for Internet law education.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The Internet affects all of our lives--in our homes, our work, and our classrooms. Professors struggle to integrate the emerging legal, business, and policy issues of the Internet into traditional courses. Now, many colleges and universities recognize that the importance and sheer volume of Internet-related topics merits separate, new courses. Indeed, our students are well served by a thorough grounding in the legal and policy framework that is likely to dominate their careers in business and related fields in the twenty-first century.

This textbook is designed to fill the need for coverage of a variety of legal issues that have been significantly affected by recent technological developments. It is targeted to upper-level undergraduates as well as MBA students. Although it is not necessary to have had a basic business law or legal environment course before using this text, students without any familiarity in this area will find it helpful to use supplementary material for basic business law topics.

Our approach begins with an introduction to the legal system and an introduction to the Internet. Even on this most introductory topic, students will see that the Internet poses significant challenges to existing law, for example, in the area of jurisdiction. Throughout the book, the challenge to this most basic principle of law, that is, how to apply laws that derive their authority from geographic and political boundaries to a system that is borderless and often anonymous, will reappear in many different contexts.

The broad policy frameworks for the Internet are introduced in Chapter 2. Policy will guide lawmakers and energize interest groups as the law of the Internet takes shape. The importance of policy is illustrated by three critical areas that are in the forefront of the electronic age: antitrust, telecommunications regulation, and encryption. Social policy issues are also addressed in a section about what has become known as the "digital divide." International policies are introduced as well, since one cannot consider the Internet from only a national perspective. International developments, particularly in the European Union, are included throughout the chapters.

The remaining 10 chapters deal with individual areas of law and regulation and their intersection with the Internet. These areas include the traditional business topics such as contracts, securities, and taxation. Online payment systems and crimes and security are topics that are increasingly important as more and more activities move to the online environment. Most importantly, topics that have become central to development of the law and policy of the Internet, privacy, electronic speech, and intellectual property, are the starting points for the text.

We have included several cases in each chapter. Students in particular will note that these case excerpts tend to be longer than those contained in other texts. Although students may find some of the language in the cases a bit difficult, we think the cases are very valuable for several reasons. Landmark cases in this area of the law are very recent. By reading a longer excerpt from an opinion, students get a sense of the reasoning the court used to reach its decision. These insights are very valuable as a window into how law develops to meet changing social and economic conditions. Following each case are several discussion questions that are intended to highlight the important points in the case and to stimulate discussion about the policies underlying the decision, often asking the student to consider what alternative results might have been reached.

Also included in each chapter are Web screens. We encourage students and professors to use some of these sites as starting points for exploring the many interesting policy and legal sites on the Web. To that end, we have also included questions a nd activities at the end of each chapter to review major concepts and to extend the text to other materials that students can access online. The activities are designed to bring Internet involvement into the course.

We recognize that the law of the Internet is changing on almost a daily basis. We have attempted through the editing process to keep the text as up to date as possible, however, due to publication deadlines, the book will already be in need of some updating when it reaches the first student. We have created a Web site at
to provide updates to the text. We also included links to an online glossary and many other resources that we hope students and professors will find helpful. The appendices contain excerpts from some of the most important documents in the Internet legal environment. These, too, will be updated as appropriate on the textbook Web site.

This project has been, and continues to be, a great learning experience for us. As you use this book in your classes, we welcome your comments and suggestions on how to improve it. We hope that this text will be part of your preparation for living and working in the Internet environment of the twenty-first century.


Reader review(s):

Biased Opinion, July 29, 2002
I've always wanted to be a Lawyer practicing Internet related law so this book is just what I needed to bring back those old dreams. It's great as a class text because it's not too verbose and esoteric. You'll get a firm understanding about Internet Law issues and cases to further your understanding.

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