Especially the EU took the challenge and produced a lot of legislation for almost all matters IT. From the Distant Selling Directive, to the E-Commerce Directive up to directives on data privacy, IP law, competition law, cyber crime and many, many more.
I decided to specialize on this field quite early in law school – also because it’s my hobby.
With another EU directive for consumer protection (especially online) coming up, it was time for me to write a little bit about the problems that still exists when it comes to IT law – and probably they always will.
From a work standpoint, where I try to solve legal problems from consumers and companies alike, to my personal live as a new media geek, podcaster, social media nut and what else you might call me, the legal problems I come across are as divers as the people who encounter them.
The background of this blog post is, that I would like to do a legal podcast. Either for work or “just” my own pleasure, I don‘t know yet. Anyway, it made me think of all those crazy stories, and legally challenging questions that I have encountered.
As I mentioned before, the EU is getting out more and more laws in the fields that interest me. That doesn’t make them easy to apply, but at least there is something out there.
The same might be said about the US – another legal system and market I came in close contact with. Not knowing enough about US IT law, it’s safe to assume that within the US there are rules concerning the big IT law fields – E-Commerce, Intellectual Property, Data Privacy and Cyber Crime.
Now I’m going even further in saying that providers of any kind of online “goods or services” (which is a EU term I’m not too fond of) – whether charging people for it or not – do not want to or are not able to limit their potential base of recipients. Because they WANT to sell their goods online to people from all over the world, or because a blogger – even if he offers only his thoughts free of charge – wants to reach as many people possible with his message.
That is why the first, and in my opinion BIGGEST, challenge anyone faces who gets confronted with a legal issue online is – which law is applicable?
I am not giving you the answer here – because I don’t want to spoil the fun. No, honestly, it’s not an easy one to give.
Another, almost equally big problem that one comes across in IT law is the mere fact that legislature is always a couple of years (how many depends on who you ask) behind the technical reality.
There will always be legal challenges in tech, or technical challenges in law, but I know how many people get sued over carelessness, and this is avoidable.
All I can really do is make the best out of both passions of mine and have some fun along the way. I’ll keep you posted!