101 Things You Need to Know about Internet Lawby Jonathan Bick
101 Things You Need to Know about Internet Law is the first complete guide to Internet Law prepared for e-business people. Entertaining and accessible, this book is a concise and comprehensive guide to the legal issues and answers involved in all facets of electronic commerce. Prospective e-business people will learn about:
- debt collection
- intellectual property protection
- and eighty-eight other essential bits of information.
This book will save time and money by helping them avoid common Internet legal problems.
- Crown Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- 1 ED
- Product dimensions:
- 5.17(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.60(d)
Read an Excerpt
1 A parent is almost never liable for a child's bad acts on the Internet.
Three sets of apprehensive parents approached me recently. Each had a child who was particularly skilled in using the Internet, and each was worried that they might be liable for something their child had done while online. The first set of parents had a child who published an arguably libelous statement about a classmate as part of an e-magazine that he created and that could be accessed only via the Internet. The mother of the classmate had threatened to sue the parents for what their child had published.
The second set of parents had a child who accessed the Internet at home and showed a younger friend a pornographic Internet site, which allegedly caused his friend to have a string of nightmares. The parents of the Internet user were afraid that the parents of his friend would sue them.
The third set of parents had a daughter in middle school who used the Internet to access a retail store's web site and allegedly changed the content of the site, causing a rash of undesirable orders. The store contacted the child's parents and asked that they pay the store enough to cover the cost of processing the erroneous orders and the consequent loss of profits.
In the past, courts have found that parents are liable and legally responsible for wrongful actions and damages done by their children on the grounds that parents have a unique relationship with their children. This basis for liability is known as the "family purpose doctrine."
However, in recent years, courts in most states have rejected the family purpose doctrine. They have ruled that negligence cannot be imputed to aparent simply because of this "unique relationship" and that a parent is not generally liable for the bad acts of a child unless there is some element of participation by that parent. The advent of the Internet has not changed this conclusion.
If parents allow their children access to the Internet, doing so is not sufficient to rise to the level of participation. A parent is liable for the bad acts of his or her children only if the parent had certain knowledge and opportunity to take action but failed to do so when there was good reason to believe it likely that their children would cause injury to others.
The fact that a parent knows that his or her child has access to and skill in using the Internet and is aware of the child's tendency to use it recklessly or harmfully is usually not sufficient to make the parent liable for torts (damage or harm) done by the child. This is particularly the case when there is nothing to show that the parent had any knowledge, or foreknowledge, or a particular line of conduct on the part of the child.
Summary: Parents are responsible and liable for harmful actions by their children on the Internet to the degree that they have reasonable knowledge that their children may do or actually are doing such harm, have the opportunity to take action to prevent such behavior, and fail to do so.
Meet the Author
Jonathan Bick splits his professional life between academia and the practice of law. In addition to representing a wide range of clients in connection with Internet law and e-commerce matters at the national law firm of Greenberg Traurig, he teaches at Pace Law School and Rutgers Law School, among others, and writes about Internet law. He lives in Short Hills, New Jersey.
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The 'Net at one time was a kind of 'Wild West' in that it was anarchy at its finest, with no beginning or no ending. However over time, commercial interests as well as private interests, or even just the average user wondered what kind of laws covered the 'Net? This book attempts to answer that question. Like its title says, it covers 101 legal topics about the Internet, everything from how binding 'legal contracts' are, to on-line liability, how much privacy do you have online, is spam legal, advertising, medical practices, protecting your name and/or domain online, and so on. The book covers some fascinating areas in addition to the topics I've just listed. The book is a valuable reference if you spend any time online, whether you're a part-time web surfer, do any online business, or have a company that relies heavily on the 'Net to make money.