Book Review -- Low-down on NZ net law

No wonder Judge David Harvey has a reputation for being one of the most astute in the New Zealand judiciary on matters concerning the internet - not only does he teach it, but he's been researching it in earnest for the past three years.

Internet.law.nz: selected issues by David Harvey (LexisNexis)

No wonder Judge David Harvey has a reputation for being one of the most astute in the New Zealand judiciary on matters concerning the internet — not only does he teach it, but he’s been researching it in earnest for the past three years.

Internet.law.nz began to take shape during Harvey’s 2001 sabbatical from fronting the Information and Technology Law course at Auckland University. Harvey told Computerworld (see IT law a blackboard jungle) that the course is one of the most popular of the elective papers in Auckland’s law degree.

Aimed at law students and those “interested in the implications of new communications technologies and the law”, this 572-page, footnote-heavy paperback tends towards the drier side of the prose continuum. Because much of the material arose from course preparation, the book isolates subjects rather than develops a theme. And at $126 it’s unlikely to be an impulse buy. Still, bits are quite readable, such as the section on copyright, and it would be a valuable addition to any e-commerce manager’s bookcase.

The “selected issues” he tackles — a wise choice given the breadth of the subject and its ridiculous pace of change — are those that arise out of the development and utilisation of the internet. He asks whether current law applies, and if not whether it can be applied by analogy. If these questions lead to no answer, Harvey looks to legal policy issues that might need to be addressed. Perhaps not surprisingly, highlighted in the book are matters of jurisdiction, sovereignty and relative lawmaking in a “borderless” world, copyright, and social implications.

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