You’ve already selected the obligatory new tie for Dad; used the discount code UGLYXMASSWEATER to buy Mom a festive holiday cardigan; and snagged the video game at the top of your sister’s wish list. Now what should you do with the rest of your Cyber Monday? Why not consider engaging in a bit of computer law research?
According to the Council on Research Excellence, Americans spent an average of over 2 hours per day (142.8 minutes) parked in front of their computers as of 2009. Technological advances and the increased importance of computing and the Internet in American society have created a burgeoning new legal field. Per Black’s Law Dictionary, cyberlaw deals “…with the Internet, encompassing cases, statutes, regulations, and disputes that affect people and businesses interacting through computers. [It] addresses issues of online speech and business that arise because of the nature of the medium, including intellectual property rights, free speech, privacy, e-commerce, and safety, as well as questions of jurisdiction.”
There are a number of online legal publications devoted to technology and intellectual property issues. Among them, the Maurer School of Law’s IP Theory, which is available in our digital repository. Other major law journal publications covering this topic include the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, Harvard’s Journal of Law & Technology, and Florida’s Journal of Technology Law & Policy. In HeinOnline, you can search the Law Journal Library for topical articles in additional journals. While you are there, be sure to search their new Intellectual Property Law Collection too.
Several of the law library’s electronic databases also contain cyberlaw material. Bloomberg’s Technology and Internet Law practice page has a sizable amount of information, with an emphasis on current developments and news. Lexis Advance’s Computer & Internet Law database can be selected (and searched) using the “Browse Topics” tab and contains a helpful breakdown of the major subtopics.
Another great place to conduct Internet law research is IUCAT. Because cyberlaw is a loosely-defined area of law that is closely intertwined with several broad legal concepts, search term selection is particularly critical, whether you are searching the Internet or a library catalog. Try using “cyberlaw” and its synonyms, such as “Internet law” or “virtual law” or “computer law”. Additionally, it is a good practice to attempt searches combining the core subject term (i.e., “the Internet”) and any narrower terms applicable to your research interests (i.e., “privacy” or “intellectual property”). The law library has several recent print publications on computer and technology law. Books on this subject are classified beginning at KF390.5 and located on the 3rd floor. Thumb through the volumes of Law of the Internet (3rd edition), peruse Virtual Law, or scan Internet Law in a Nutshell (on reserve at the circulation desk).
For current awareness resources, look at the ABA Journal’s list of technology law-focused blogs and news sites, Science and Technology Law Blawgs, and any of the numerous institutes on technology and law: Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, Center for Innovation Law & Policy, and Stanford’s Center for Internet & Society, to name a few. These organizations often host conferences and publish articles on Internet law and related topics. GL&HF researching cyberlaw!