Internet law


Internet Law

The internet has revolutionised all our lives. The world wide web is sometimes described as being like the wild west in that there are no rules governing the internet. Now this is not exactly true as there are lots of rules and laws governing trading and using the internet. Such laws include distance selling provisions, data protection, defamation, trademarks and copyright infringement.

Personal data

If you are a business operating online or have any web site that collect personal information, you will need to be aware of how to treat sensitive information under the Data Protection Act 1998. The Act states that information should only be kept for the shortest possible time to complete what was agreed. You will also be required to include a Data Use notice describing how you will use any information collected. This includes information obtained through cookies.

The type of information that falls under this definition is known as any information that relates to a living individual who can be identified from the information given. This includes email addresses, telephone numbers or about a person’s personal experiences and/or opinions. If it is important that certain data remains private, technological methods such as encryption and good data handling measures can help keep data private and confidential.

Copyright law and the internet

Copyright law is just as applicable to the internet as any other media such as magazines, newspapers etc. Businesses and organisations are advised to feature copyright notices on their websites to demonstrate intellectual property right ownership.

Businesses are encouraged to register their domain names as early as they can to avoid fighting cybersquatters or hijackers from registering their domain name simply because they can pre-empt your use of it.


The driving force behind Electronic Commerce regulations is to ensure that electronic contracts and binding and enforceable throughout Europe. The regulations implement the European E-Commerce Directive into UK law.

All businesses that sell goods or services on the internet or by email and SMS message will be bound by these regulations.

Customers who buy goods online should be able to print off a hard copy of the agreed terms and conditions.

The Regulations require that your business provides certain information for example that you must provide to the recipients of online services and giving an opt out box regarding advertising and 3rd party organisations.

Businesses that advertise on the net and through email and text are covered also. The Regulations require that commercial communications advertising products must include information about who the source of communication is sent and any promotional offer. Any spam must be identifiable from the subject line of the email.

The laws governing trading and using websites is very vast. Our solicitors are able to review your business and advise you how best to follow the rules applicable to you. We can also advise on additional safeguards to put in place to avoid your business and your users being a victim of crime. If you require further advice then please contact us now.

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