REVIEW: "Cyberlaw: National and International Perspectives", Roy J. Girasa
- BKCBRLAW.RVW 20021126
"Cyberlaw: National and International Perspectives", Roy J. Girasa,
%A Roy J. Girasa rgirasa@... www.prenhall.com/girasa
%C One Lake St., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
%I Prentice Hall
%O +1-201-236-7139 fax: +1-201-236-7131
%P 433 p.
%T "Cyberlaw: National and International Perspectives"
The back cover states that this is the "most comprehensive Internet
law text for students of any discipline." The preface doesn't really
contradict that statement, but then, it doesn't really specify a
particular audience. The text itself, on the other hand, does not
appear to be a reference, but rather a textbook for law students, and
law students only. (American law students, at that.) While one
cannot fault the author for the presumption of the publisher (who
ultimately gets to decide on jacket copy), the overly broad attempt at
marketing is going to be frustrating for some readers.
Part one provides an introduction and examines jurisdiction. Chapter
one is an introduction and overview of both the technology and law.
This demonstrates a number of limitations (the technology is limited
to the Internet), and, of course, the sort of bias one would expect to
see in a legal text. (The definition of the Internet is taken from a
"Finding of Fact" in the case that struck down the Communications
Decency Act and contains a number of errors in terminology and, well,
fact. The legal system is described only in terms of the various
levels of US courts.) A number of cases regarding jurisdiction, first
between US states and then between states and foreign States, is
presented in chapter two. While this will undoubtedly be of value to
US lawyers engaged in such battles, for the layman the best that can
be determined is that a) the situation is indeterminate, and b) the
material is confusing.
Part two deals with contracts, torts, and criminal law aspects of
cyberspace. Chapter three looks at US case law regarding contracts
and torts, including related topics such as commercial codes like
UCITA. (Many implications of the legislation are poorly expressed:
there are several paragraphs describing the implied warranties under
UCITA, and a brief mention of the fact that using the words "as is"
voids them all.) The construction of chapter four is very odd, since
it begins with a review of international statutes dealing with
commercial online transactions, and then moves on to torts, and back
to US cases. Although the first presentation of criminal cases is
from Germany, all of the remaining material in chapter five, primarily
on censorship, obscenity, and a little fraud, comes from the US.
Part three looks at intellectual property rights. Most of the
copyright cases in chapter six, all from the US, deal with general
issues unrelated to technology, at least not directly, while the cases
presented in chapter seven are more directly related to technology.
Chapter eight deals with trademarks, and the relation to technology is
primarily made in terms of cybersquatting (the practice of registering
a domain name using a famous name or trademark, so that the owner must
buy it from you). Patents and trade secrets are covered in chapter
nine, and the relation to network technology is rather slim.
Part four addresses privacy and security issues. Except that there is
only chapter ten, on privacy.
Part five talks about antitrust, securities regulation, and
relaxation. Antitrust, in chapter eleven, covers Microsoft, IBM, and
a number of others. Chapter twelve's review of securities regulation
cases primarily deals with fraud, and the technical links are
basically irrelevant. The taxation of net businesses is in chapter
As a textbook for law school students, this is undoubtedly useful.
The cases are collected, and questions are asked to encourage students
to think about various aspects of cases, and related precedents that
might be applicable. While US structures and law predominate, there
is not only acknowledgement of foreign legislation, but some detailed
case examination as well. In fact, practicing lawyers would also find
this volume extremely valuable, for the direction in terms of case
research on precedent if nothing else. For non-lawyers, such as
security professionals, the content is extremely frustrating: all
questions and no answers. Still, given the extremely murky state of
US law in regard to the net and technology, this tome certainly could
be worthwhile, even for those outside the US legal system.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 2002 BKCBRLAW.RVW 20021126
rslade@... rslade@... slade@... p1@...
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