Digital laws govern how we use digital information, subject to copyright laws. This can include:
- MP3 files
Digital laws have developed rapidly in recent years and are likely to continue doing so as people use digital media more and more.
What is digital law?
Digital law concerns the intellectual property rights and copyright of digital material. Understandably, this area of law has becoming increasingly more important in a relatively short period of time.
Copyright material in digital form is protected in the same way any other material is protected - so a printed book is protected in the same way a book from the internet is protected. However, how you use material can subject you to penalties imposed by digital laws.
For example, it may be possible to reproduce a part of a book for use in a leaflet or flyer, but not in accordance with the law to reproduce material on a website. It is always advisable to instruct a solicitor who can give you guidance on when you are and when you are not in breach of digital laws.
There has also been major controversy relating to laws in this area, particularly in the music world, with file-sharing sites and people downloading copyrighted material illegally. Although there have been a few prosecutions, the resources are not available to stop all people who illegally download music and because of this there are still many infringements occurring on a daily basis.
The changing face of digital law
Digital law is changing rapidly and with a variety of sources of law it has quickly become a very complex area. Digital law can be found in:
- National law
- European law
- International law
In addition to this, law changes in other areas of the world encourage owners of digital copyrights to campaign to have the law changed in England, which can result in England following law changes in other jurisdictions. This is something which rarely happens in other areas of the law.
Solicitors who specialise in digital law have a wide range of knowledge in both civil and criminal law. As people can be prosecuted for breaches of digital law by the police, digital law solicitors can also work in criminal defence.
Solicitors may also help owners of copyright to bring civil claims or help people defend claims against them. Whatever the role, all digital law solicitors need a good knowledge of all of the sources which affect this area of law and must keep abreast of the rapidly changing laws. If you are unsure of any of your legal rights, it is recommended to seek specialist legal advice.
For more information on the law relating to online file-sharing, see our guidance page on music download law.
Do you have a legal issue concerning digital law that you wish to address with the help of a digital lawyer? Contact Law can put you in touch with specialist intellectual property solicitors who can advise on all aspects of digital law and resolve any disputes you may have. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.
- Last Updated on 03/12/2013