Using a digital lawyer


Digital law, or IT law, is a relatively new area of law, the importance of which continues to grow rapidly. With its close ties to issues of protection of personal information, privacy, security and freedom of expression, digital law has received a lot of government attention across the world. If you have a legal issue relating to digital law, you will need to instruct specialist solicitors who are experienced in this rapidly changing field of law.

How can a digital lawyer help?

The role of the digital lawyer is varied, given the scope of digital law. Digital law has an incredibly wide range of sources including:

  • National law
  • European law
  • International law

The international nature of the internet can give rise to numerous disputes relating to which jurisdiction any contravention of the law of should be heard in. Digital law is developing quickly overtime through both case law and legislation, although legislation is often too slow to keep up with technological changes and case law is at the forefront.

Digital lawyers can work in criminal or civil cases and for either side. The complex nature of digital law can mean that prosecution solicitors must be specialised in this area of law, as must a criminal defence solicitor. Further to this, digital lawyers can work on bringing and defending civil claims.

Copyright law

Digital law permeates many areas of law but has a particularly strong link with copyright law. Music copyright in particular has been an area faced with large challenges recently due to advances in technology and the consequent effect on violation of copyright.

High profile legal cases have been undertaken by specialised solicitors. Digital law developments in this area have been largely through case law with the first case on peer-to-peer file sharing resulting in Napster, the peer-to-peer file sharing website, being closed.

Since Napster’s closure, laws in England and Wales have developed to attempt to stop people downloading media subject to copyright without paying for it. This is a difficult task which the government has placed upon internet service providers to undertake, whereby violators can have their internet service curtailed and eventually blocked.

Other rights

There are a number of rights relevant to digital laws, such as the moral right of the author to be identified as the author and not to have their work subject to derogatory treatment, for example.

Moral rights are distinct from copyright but still apply to a wide variety of people, including those who write electronic journal articles. Another right is a performer’s right, which prevents people recording performances or distributing recordings of performances without permission.

There are many laws and rights contained within the remit of digital law which may be relevant to your case and it is important that you get the assistance of an experienced digital lawyer if you are to achieve the outcome you want.

Need more general advice on this area of law? See our information page on digital law.

Do you have a dispute surrounding digital law, or simply need to know your legal responsibilities in running a business relating to digital law? Caven can put you in touch with a specialist intellectual property solicitor who is an expert in the field of digital law and media. Please call us on 08001 221 2299 or complete the web-form above.

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