The Internet and E-Commerce: A Hawksmere Report

The Internet and E-Commerce: A Hawksmere Report

The Internet and E-Commerce: A Hawksmere Report

The Internet and E-Commerce: A Hawksmere Report

Synopsis

Supported by essential legal considerations, useful addresses, and web sites, this book provides businesses with valuable information for safeguarding their e-commerce business.

Excerpt

Before we explore the legal and commercial realities of e-commerce it is first necessary to consider the nature of the Internet. We must do this in order to be able to apply the law to it. Common misconceptions can arise merely from the description of the Internet. Use of `the' implies that it is some constant `thing' which has definable edges and a shape and even a legal presence. Actually the Internet is a communications infrastructure, nothing more.

It is made up of countless thousands of computers that are connected together by means of telecommunications systems. Not all these computers will be connected at any one time and hence it is impossible to define its size and presence. When one user's computer is in communication with another user's computer, the information that is sent and received by each will travel in different and unpredictable routes and will pass through many computers on its journey. All the computers and communications services providers that are not either the original sender or the final recipient of the information are intermediaries or `conduits'.

Internet connectivity is commonly established by using an Internet Service Provider (ISP). ISP's are organisations that have a permanent presence on the Internet and provide a fixed line or dial-up service. Some ISP's make a charge for this service, but many do not. However, most businesses will require a website, and hence web space on the ISP's server, and this is normally a chargeable service. Businesses wishing to establish a web presence for the first time are advised to consult the trade press (business Internet magazines such as The Industry Standard) for information on ISP's.

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