Rami Olwan

All About CyberLaw, Copyright and Developing Countries

FAQs on Cyber Laws

The following is a list of questions about cyberspace and Internet law. I do not claim in any particular way that the questions nor their answers are to be considered complete or conclusive. The questions and their answers are provided herein for the sake of introducing visitors to this blog with a brief and nutshell idea about cyberspace and Internet law. If there are any questions that you think I should include in this page, please contact me.

What and Where Cyberspace is Located?

Cyberspace is a place. It is a place where messages and web pages are posted for everyone to browse and see. Cyberspace is not located in a particular geographical location but is available to anyone, anywhere in the world, with access to the Internet.

To learn more about this matter read the article by Darrel Menthe, Jurisdiction In Cyberspace: A Theory of International Spaces

Read also the nature of cyberspace and visit the atlas of cyberspace’s wesbite.

The term first appeared in a novel, Neuromancer, published by an American science fiction writer William Gibson in 1984 You can visit the website of William Gibson “father of cyberpunk” and read excerpt from his award wining novel Neourmnacer at http://www.williamgibsonbooks.com/books/neuromancer.asp#excerpt

See also Artistic Representations of Cyberspace.

What is the Internet and what are its services?

The Internet is the largest network available on earth until now. It offers a quite range of services to its users. Among the services that it offers include: E-mail, World Wide Web (W3), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), and chatting.

The Internet is not a physical or tangible entity, but rather a giant network of networks, which interconnects innumerable smaller groups of linked computer together.

The nature of the Internet makes is very difficult, if not impossible to determine its size at this time. No one It is indisputable, however, that the Internet has experienced extraordinary growth in recent years. In 1981, fewer than 300 computers were linked to the Internet. Today, over 9,400,000 computers are estimated to be linked to the Internet, That figure is expected to grow even more over the coming years.

Who invented the Internet and the World Wide Web?

The Internet is not a product of co-operation between thousands of scientists and engineers, but the underlying packet- switching technology was invented by Paul Baran in the U.S and Donald Watts Davies in the UK.

The World Wide Web was invented in 1989 in CERN by the software brilliant engineer TimBerner- Lee

If you have more question in your mind about the internet visit John Naughton home page ten things you might not know about the internet at http://www.briefhistory.com/pages/Ten%20things.htm

Which are the most important names behind the internet?

There are many , but we can mention three very important names, mainly Vincent Cerf, Tim Berner Lee and John postel. The first is the father of the internet, who was working in Net working Group and designed the TCP/IP Protocol. Tim Berner Lee invented HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) and the first software for browsing the World Wide Web (WWW). The last inventor is John postel, the father of the internet addresses and the Domain Name Registry System)

To learn more see See Naavi, E- Book, Cyber Laws in India, ITA-2000 and Beyond, May 2003

Click here to order the book

Who owns the internet?

The Internet is not owned by a single entity or particular country, rather it is owned by everybody.

See Webopedia’s Dictionary: Who Owns the Internet?

See Lawrence Lessig’s excellent Article “The Internet Under Siege”

Can we regulate cyberspace?

In the beginning it was thought that cyberspace was unregulatable. This assumption did not last long for internet scholars including Lawrence lessig, began to argue that cyberspace is indeed regulatable and many factors play a role in regulating it including laws, but also social norms, architecture (code), and market power. For more information read professor Lawrence Lessig’s excellent article about The Laws of Cyberspace.

“A consortium of research universities in the United States, supported by the government and the private sector, has developed a new network, called the “Internet2,” which operates independently of the existing Internet, and uses faster routing methods and more advanced technology to transmit data up to 100 times faster than the existing Internet”.

“The Internet2 project seeks (1) to improve the infrastructure to sustain network capability for the research community, (2) to direct application development toward optimizing the advantages of broadband networks, and (3) to transfer knowledge to the rest of the academic community and perhaps to the commercial marketplace”

For more information about internet2, please see Doing Business on the Internet: Forms and Analysis, by Julian S. Millstein, Jeffrey D. Neuburger, and Jeffrey P.Weingart.

Also, please visit internet2 website at and  its timeline.

What is Cyberspace and Ilaw?

Cyberspace and Internet law are two types of laws that attempt to deal with the legal issues associated and created by the expansion and the use of the Internet networks throughout the world. The need to provide rules for the activities taking place on the internet has forced the legal systems of the world to adapt existing laws and create new laws to deal with emerging problems. This process has just begun and it will, undoubtedly, continue for quite some time before it reaches anything close to being complete.

Are cyber and Internet laws a new branch of law?

There isn’t straightforward correct answer for this! Basically there are two kinds of opinions concerning the said matter. Some think that cyber or Internet laws are truly new kind of branches of law that poses serious challenges to the traditional legal theories and traditional laws can not cope and regulate cyberspace, so we need a radical thinking and truly new laws to regulate cyberspace while the others think that traditional applicable laws can cope with the new emerging issues and so there isn’t a new branch of law.

I am not a fan of these two extreme approaches and in my humble opinion I think that cyberspace and Internet laws are not a wholly new branch of law nor that exiting laws are capable of addressing all the issues that is raised by cyberspace. We do need new laws when the traditional laws are not capable of addressing the current problems.

What subjects does Cyber Law encompasses?

Cyberspace and Internet law tries to regulate different topics and they examine a comprehensive selection of legal issues pertaining to the internet and cyberspace including: jurisdiction; electronic contracting; electronic signatures; encryption; privacy; cyber crime; content regulation; copyright and the internet; trademark in cyberspace; business method patents, and others.

Do we need Cyber Law in the Arab World?

Ultimately, yes. We need many laws not merely laws that regulate electronic contracts but also laws that regulate all legal issues that the Internet.

Which are the important articles on cyber laws?

There are many to name and here is a few of what I could remember now.

John Barrow Barlow, A Deceleration of Independence of Cyberspace.

John Barrow Barlow, Selling Wine without Bottles on the Global Net.

Lawrence Lessig, The Law of the Horse: What Cyberlaw Might Teach.

Tim Wu, When Code isn’t a law.

P. Bernt Hugenholtz, Code as Code, Or the End of Intellectual Property as We Know It.

Michael Geist, CYBERLAW 2.0.

Jonathan L. Zittrain, the Generative Internet.

Where I can learn more?

If you want to learn more about cyberspace, e-commerce and Internet laws you can read the following books that will help you to grasp a fairly well idea about the subjects and topics covered, and here are just a few good resources:

Lawrence Lessig, code and other laws of cyberspace, basic books, 1999, New York.

Lawrence Lessig, the future of ideas, Random House, 2001, New York.

Michael Chissick, Alistair Kelman, Electronic Commerce, law and practice, sweet & Maxwell, 2001, London.

Graham Smith, Internet law and regulation, Sweet & Maxwell, 2007, London.

Robert Wegenek, Ged O’Neil, Jonathan Morre, E-commerce: A guide to the law of electronic commerce, Butterworhts, 2002, London.

Margraet Jane Randin, Internet Commerce, the emerging legal framework, Foundation press, 2002, New York.

Encyclopedia of E-commerce Law, Simon Stokes and Robert Carolina, Sweet and Maxwell, 2003

Free Culture,Lawrence Lessig, Penguin Group, 2004

Lawrence Lessigs,Code And Other Laws Of Cyberspace (Code v.2)

William W. Fisher , Promises to Keep, technology, law and future of entertainment, Stanford University, 2005

Ronald J. Mann and Jane Kaufman Winn, Ecommerce, Aspen Publishers, 2005

Tim Wu and Jack Smith, Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a borderless World, Oxford University Press, 2006  

Yochai Benkler, Wealth of Networks, Yale University Press, 2006

B Fitzgerald, A Fitzgerald, G Middleton, Y Lim, T Beale, Internet and E-Commerce Law, Thomson Reuters, 2007

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