In November of 1996, the District Court of Eastern Pennsylvania allowed America Online to prohibit a business from using the Internet for sending bulk, unsolicited electronic mail. The decision highlighted some intriguing issues related to how the Internet interacts with the current legal framework and how legal standards that have adequately encompassed most business uses for emerging technologies are not a perfect fit for issues related to the Internet. This article will focus on the current struggle to fit the Internet into some type of existing legal framework, especially with respect to Internet business uses. It will focus primarily on the problem of bulk, unsolicited business advertising. The article will advise that the Internet's unique character requires that the Internet be left to formulate its own policies with minimal legislation imposed on it, but also allow for private companies providing Internet access to restrict some uses so that the emerging etiquette on the Internet will be preserved and not require legislative scrutiny.
Information vs. Commercialization: The Internet and Unsolicited Electronic Mail,
Rich. J.L. & Tech
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/jolt/vol4/iss3/2