Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Peter B. Maggs
The Internet is a worldwide system of computer networks that use standardized, compatible communications procedures to transfer data. These procedures include physical communications protocols and data structures, such as those for pages on the World Wide Web and for electronic mail. The Internet facilitates the transfer of all kinds of data, including personal letters, photographs, sound recordings, motion pictures, and computer software. The worldwide nature of the Internet creates serious problems of conflict of national laws concerning matters such as jurisdiction, free speech, privacy, and intellectual property. Legal problems abound because most e-mail is unwanted and usually fraudulent advertising and much, perhaps most, network traffic consists of pornography distribution and copyright piracy. There is also a continuing tension between the Internet service providers (ISPs), who seek immunity from liability for the content of the information they transmit, and those harmed by these transmissions, who wish to make the ISPs police ...