Elgar Law, Technology and Society series
Edited by Anne S.Y. Cheung and Rolf H. Weber
In this digital age, people use the World Wide Web to access information; to stay in touch with friends worldwide; and to access and share files and information anywhere at anytime. Enterprises use the Internet to access and utilize an increasing array of sophisticated business applications and technology infrastructure. All of these services are incredibly easy to initiate and use, often requiring minimal data entry (including the occasional input of credit card information). A series of clicks and the service is there and fully operational. It is not surprising that, in this easily accessible cloud environment with such a powerful array of capabilities, there is significant confusion about the legal implications, rights and responsibilities attached to these activities. What seems like a free, easy and open environment actually carries significant consequences for users: consequences which may come as significant surprises with unexpected impacts on both individual and business users. One example where confusion about the cloud is rife is the seemingly common perception that everything on the Internet is owned by the public and can be freely used without any limitation. This perception is fundamentally wrong. In fact, intellectual property rights (mainly copyright in this context) continue to subsist in most, if not all, information posted on, shared over or transmitted via the Internet.
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