In one way or another, the Internet has affected or will affect our lives in a profound fashion. The Internet has fundamentally changed the way society works and plays by providing an inexpensive medium to obtain information and communicate with others. The current generation of children will be educated through computer communication, rather than from the confines of a dusty library with outdated books. However, the benefits of rapid Internet development have also opened a Pandora's box of legal issues and concerns which merit careful consideration. With roots in over 160 countries, and without a centralized authority, many now consider the Internet the last free marketplace of ideas. Civil libertarians and on-line activists are currently fighting a Sisyphean battle to keep the Internet free of all constraints. Such regulation threatens to curtail the expansion of the Internet by imposing formidable civil and criminal liabilities for negligent or allegedly illegal on-line activities. This comment examines recent efforts by legislators, regulators and the judiciary to tame the seemingly untamable on-line universe. First, it considers the prominent legal cases concerning the liability of on-line access providers for electronic transmissions. Second, it examines congressional and state legislative efforts aimed at regulating on-line activities. Finally, it will analyze whether the Internet is a proper candidate for regulation, and to what extent our existing framework of laws can be adequately used to prosecute illegal on- line activities.
Marc L. Caden & Stephanie E. Lucas,
Accidents On the Information Superhighway: On-Line Liability And Regulation,
Rich. J.L. & Tech
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/jolt/vol2/iss1/5