Information technology (IT) law is an ever-expanding arena as more individuals and businesses rely heavily on IT solutions and need to safeguard their online and digital content. As IT law grows, so do the number of specialist IT lawyers, operating across the UK either in general or IT-specific firms.
The problems that IT lawyers solve vary from those encountered more typically by businesses, such as outsourcing, to online content generated by individuals causing intellectual property infringement, for example.
The role of an IT lawyer
Those in the IT industry often need to instruct IT lawyers to arrange:
- Consultancy agreements
- Software licensing agreements
- Outsource contracts
These contracts and agreements are essential components to IT businesses and require due diligence and care when being created. Only specialist IT lawyers should therefore be instructed to handle this complex work.
IT lawyers not only assist businesses who are expanding their IT resources, but will frequently assist on litigation too. Digital data and online content can often raise concerns of:
- Data protection
- Intellectual property infringement and theft
- Online fraud
- Invasion of privacy
These problems have, in the past, caused some very public cases and have led the media to comment on the safety and security of online content. IT lawyers are not only equipped with the specialist legal knowledge and experience to combat such issues but can also advise on implementing safety procedures to protect against future litigation or infringement.
IT businesses usually do not just instruct an IT solicitor for when things go wrong but, more typically, for expanding and protecting their IT business. Intellectual property inherent in software and in much online content is a crucial asset to many businesses. Safeguarding intellectual property is essential and is something an IT solicitor can assist with.
It is not just businesses that depend on intellectual property as many people generate copyrighted content such as a blog or an uploaded picture which could be copied or replicated to the detriment of that individual. An IT solicitor can also assist individuals on how to take action against the infringer as well as implementing ways to secure their intellectual property.
A good example of how IT law has been regulated is the E-Commerce directives which, as part of European law, control how goods are sold online. So, where you may have a dispute over a contract of sale through the internet, you would need to instruct an IT solicitor who, through experience in both contract and IT law, can offer the best solution.
This example of selling goods online also sparks another problem: cross-jurisdictional contracts. Trading internationally has always raised problems of jurisdiction but given the ease of global trade on-line, a specialist IT solicitor with knowledge of international law would be necessary to solve such issues readily.
An IT lawyer will be able to look at your particular circumstances and help you formulate a strategy that will give you the outcome you are looking for. As information technology law can encompass civil as well as criminal law, always take advice about your case at the earliest possible point. For further advice, see our information page on IT law.
Do you have an issue relating to IT law which you need help with? Contact Law works with specialist IT lawyers who can help with aspect of this area of law, from drafting agreements to intellectual property disputes. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.
- Last Updated on 21/11/2013