Internet Law and Regulation

The new, fifth edition of Internet Law & Regulation is the long-awaited new edition of the leading title in its field. The title presents an analysis of key areas of internet law & regulation from a UK perspective. It is fully updated including recent developments relating to GDPR, the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, eIDAS, online intermediary liability (including site blocking injunctions) and updated UK and EU case law across all chapters.


  1. Overview of the Internet
    Graham Smith
  2. Copyright, Confidential Information and Patents
    Graham Smith, Katharine Stephens
  3. Trade Marks and Domain Names
    Katharine Stephens, Rebecca O'Kelly Gillard
  4. Defamation
    Graham Smith
  5. Content Liability, Policing and Enforcement
    Graham Smith, Sam Rayner
  6. Cross-border liability
    Graham Smith
  7. Data Protection and ePrivacy
    Ruth Boardman, Ellie Cater, Sanjana Sura, Gabe Maldoff
  8. Lawful Access and Data Retention
    Graham Smith
  9. Communications and Broadcasting Regulation
    Cathal Flynn, Graham Smith
  10. Electronic Contracts and Transactions
    Graham Smith, Rob Turner
  11. Payment Mechanisms for Internet Commerce
    Trystan Tether
  12. Prohibited and Regulated Activities
    Graham Smith, Andy Danson, Sarah Faircliffe, Georgie Twigg
  13. Tax
    Caroline Brown, Zoe Feller
  14. Competition Law and the Internet
    Richard Eccles

1.Overview of the Internet – Graham Smith
This introductory chapter looks at the structure of the Internet: who's who and what they do: from content providers to hosts and administrators, to navigation providers and transaction facilitators.

2. Copyright, Confidential Information and Patents Graham Smith, Katharine Stephens
This chapter covers the range of copyright issues raised by the internet including search engines, web linking, platforms and peer to peer. It analyses the CJEU caselaw on communication to the public and developments in the English law of authorisation and joint tortfeasorship.  The application of criminal law to online copyright infringement is discussed in detail. The chapter also deals with database right, the transfer and use of confidential information on the internet and patent issues relating to software and business methods.

3. Trade Marks and Domain Names –Katharine Stephens, Rebecca O'Kelly Gillard
Online trade mark disputes have increased as business has migrated onto the internet, giving rise to clashes between brands that previously co-existed peacefully offline. Keyword advertising has generated caselaw and domain name issues have increased in complexity with the expansion of gTLDs . This chapter looks at trade mark law as applied to the broad spread of online activities, as well as dispute resolution and other policies developed for domain names.

4. Defamation – Graham Smith
Who is liable for defamatory statements on the internet and what constitutes publication? Should the law make allowances for the informality of online speech? This chapter addresses these perennially topical questions and also discusses the UK’s Defamation Act 2013, which has made significant changes to online defamation liability.

5. Content Liability, Policing and Enforcement Graham Smith, Sam Rayner
Starting with liability for erroneous information on websites, this chapter progresses to liability of on-line intermediaries, orders against intermediaries to disclose user information, site blocking injunctions, employers' liability for employee use of the internet and access to workplace communications. It also looks at liability for virus dissemination.

6. Cross-border liability Graham Smith
The inherently cross-border nature of the internet sets it apart from most previous forms of communication. Add the ability for individuals to speak via blogs, tweets and posts and we have a unique challenge to existing legal regimes. This chapter analyses how cross-border liability rules apply to the internet and takes a look at differing views about how they ought to do so.

7. Data Protection and ePrivacy Ruth Boardman, Ellie Cater, Sanjana Sura, Gabe Maldoff
Data protection and ePrivacy have blossomed into some of the most significant legal topics of the day, especially with the rise of online data collection, email marketing, personalised advertising and social media. This chapter is has been rewritten following the coming into force of the GDPR and the UK Data Protection Act 2018.

8. Communications and Broadcasting Regulation Cathal Flynn, Graham Smith
The telecommunications regulatory framework governs the infrastructure across which internet traffic flows and the telecommunications services that enable it to do so. Increasingly it is also applied to ‘over the top’ services such as apps for text messaging, previously provided by the telecommunications companies. This chapter lays out the regulatory framework for telecommunications. It also describes the broadcast regulation regime and discusses the trend towards extending it to cover some kinds of internet content.

9. Lawful Access and Data Retention - Graham Smith

This new chapter summarises the history that led up to the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, including the Snowden revelations in 2013. It provides a detailed exposition of the 2016 Act and its interaction with the human rights litigation that has surrounded it - particularly around bulk interception and equipment interference powers, and mandatory communications data retention by telecommunications and internet companies. 

10. Electronic Contracts and Transactions – Graham Smith, Rob Turner
When and how is a contract over the internet formed? What consumer protection and regulatory requirements apply? What formalities have to be complied with? This chapter looks at contract principles, formalities of contracting and consumer protection rules as they apply to the internet. It also discusses electronic signatures, electronic evidence and legislative approaches to electronic transactions.

11. Payment Mechanisms for Internet CommerceTrystan Tether
Payment mechanisms are now at the heart of internet retail and business transactions. This chapter looks at the legal issues around electronic payment, including card transactions and cryptocurrencies.

12. Prohibited and Regulated Activities – Graham Smith, Andy Danson, Sarah Faircliffe, Georgie Twigg
Gambling, pharmaceuticals, computer misuse and contempt of court are some of the contentious areas covered by this chapter. Offensive communications, pornography and advertising are other areas which are likely to pose problems. The legal issues that relate to these areas are discussed here.

13. Tax – Caroline Brown, Zoe Feller
What features of the internet give rise to particular tax differences? This chapter looks mainly at VAT issues but also deals with some direct tax points.

14. Competition Law and the Internet – Richard Eccles
This chapter offers a comprehensive account of European and domestic competition law as it applies to the internet.

The new Fifth Edition of Internet Law and Regulation is now available. For further details, including how to purchase this book, please click here.

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