Where Lawyers and the Internet Meet: You Need a Technology Lawyer Who Understands the Internet

Where Lawyers and the Internet Meet: You Need a Technology Lawyer Who Understands the Internet

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The internet is a very complicated place. There are web hosting companies, affiliate marketers. There are e-commerce agreements, clickwrap agreements. There’s social media defamation. There is any number of issues surrounding the DNS system, the Domain Name Server system. There’s ICANN which is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. There’s the registration of domain names which are controlled by registries and are sold through registrars to registrants.

There are subpoena issues in terms of what kind of digital information can you get from internet service providers or ISPs. If you have to identify anonymous people on the internet there’s a whole piece of technology which a lawyer or an attorney has to understand, even to know where to go.

 

Welcome to Internet Law Radio where we discuss the hottest topics in Internet law.  If you are facing an Internet law issue, cyber law complaint, web site or e-commerce issue, we have an Internet lawyer ready to help.

The internet is a very complicated place.  There are web hosting companies, affiliate marketers. There are e-commerce agreements, clickwrap agreements. There’s social media defamation.  There is any number of issues surrounding the DNS system, the Domain Name Server system.  There’s ICANN which is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.  There’s the registration of domain names which are controlled by registries and are sold through registrars to registrants.

There are subpoena issues in terms of what kind of digital information can you get from internet service providers or ISPs. If you have to identify anonymous people on the internet there’s a whole piece of technology which a lawyer or an attorney has to understand, even to know where to go.

My name is Internet Law Attorney Enrico Shaefer, and today we’re going to be talking a little bit about this merger between technology and the law.  There used to be, back before the internet, loosely defined technology attorneys, attorneys who understood about software and networks and hardware, and understood enough to be able to lend their legal experience to clients who existed in those spaces.

But you know what?  The world has changed.  It’s a whole different place, and there’s a lot of business being done on the internet.  The primary calling card for every business is their website, which is a website on a domain name which consumers, and partners, and web visitors go to in order to see who you are and what you do.

So, these assets are incredibly important to virtually every business today. If you’ve got an issue, which somehow deals with your website, your domain name, or with the internet itself, you’re going to need an attorney who not only understands the area of law involved, but perhaps even more importantly understands how the internet works.  A lawyer who does not understand the back-end technology of the internet isn’t going to be able to accomplish results for you as the client.

Attorneys and lawyers today, many of them actually use the internet, right?  They use email.  They get the same spam messages that you do, and they worry about anti-spam laws. But do they really understand how different aspects of the internet and the World Wide Web actually work? The answer is a resoundingly “no”.  Very few of the older, more experienced lawyers have any experience in internet and technology representation.

So, the most important thing that you need to understand as a client when taking a look at law firms and interviewing attorneys in order to understand who’s going to be able to help you with your internet-based client, with your internet-based problem, is that you need to ask both sides of the equation.  You need to ask your attorneys and your prospective lawyers who you’re taking a look at to hire, not only what the legal issue is, but what is going to have to happen on the technology side in order to accomplish a result?

So, let me give you a couple of examples.  Let’s say that you are a small business or start-up company that is trying to secure a domain name that matches your trademark.  So, there are a number of landing pages out there on domain names which are a good match for your trademark and no one appears to be using those web pages. So, a common question you might have is, “Well, if I go ahead and register my trademark, can I then go get that domain name?”

Well, there are special statues and policies and arbitrations which exist in order to resolve trademark and domain name disputes.  You’re going to need a lawyer who not only understands the law, but understands how the domain name system works, how the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy works, and identify for you your options of securing an unused or a lander page domain name that is going to be the one you’re going to want to launch your business on.

Let’s say you’re a small business or internet start-up company and you’re looking for a lawyer, because someone has defamed you on the internet. Let’s say you’ve been in business for about four years now and you’re growing, but one of your competitors has posted a bogus customer review, alleging that you provide poor customer service and that you didn’t honor your warranties.

Well, if that is posted on a third-party website you need an attorney who not only understands defamation law, but understands how web hosts and website operators work, and what their typical policies are with regards to removing third-party user-generated content that’s alleged to be defamation.

Let me give you another example.  Let’s say you’re a nice little e-commerce business doing say $10 million worth of revenue a year and you’ve been growing very quickly. You’re selling ceiling fans online through a variety of different domain names and websites that your company has built over time.

You do all your original artwork and so all of the different graphics and photographs displaying the different ceiling fans that you have on your website are copyright-owned by you and your company. But your competitors or others start using those original pieces of artwork, those original photographs by your company to display product on eBay, on Amazon, on Buy.com, on other e-commerce sites.

What are your options as a potential copyright owner to have those web pages removed, those accounts blocked by eBay and other vendors and potentially to have the photographs taken down? You’re going to need, not only a copyright law attorney to help you out, but that copyright law attorney is going to have to understand the internet and online space. Otherwise, they will not have any idea what results are achievable and who you can assert leverage against with regards to copyright infringement.

Again, there are special statutes which deal with online copyright infringement and user-generated content.  So, these are the types of things that any good technology and internet lawyer will be able to help you with.

So, when you go out and you list all your requirements on Google and you get those search returns and you find an attorney who you think is going to be good, make sure you take a look at what their technology and internet background is in addition to the substantive area of law that may apply to your specific situation. My name is Internet Law Attorney Enrico Shaefer. We’ll see you next time.

You’ve been listening to Internet Law Radio.  Whether you are facing a domain name, intellectual property or a complex litigation issue, we have an Internet law attorney ready to answer your questions.