What's On My Bookshelf
I am a solicitor in private practice specialising in computer law. This article
describes the books that I refer to most frequently when advising on internet law.
by Jeremy Holt
E-business: the practical guide to the law
The book that I use the most is "E-business: the practical guide to the law" by
Amanda Brock (429 pages, £49.95 published by Spiro Business Guides 2003).
As it is written by the first lawyer to work on Freeserve, there is lots of down to
earth practical guidance. The chapters are not divided into legal areas but into
the areas that affect electronic business, which is a much more sensible manner
of coverage. At the end of the chapters the author has provided checklists of
additional information. These are deliberately set out in a separate page format
so that they can be copied to the reader's heart's content. Finally, there are 88
pages of sample terms and precedents.
Business, the Internet and the Law
Another book that I use frequently is Tolley's "Business, the Internet and the Law".
When it was originally published in 1999 it was a paperback book but it is now
looseleaf. It costs £78 (updated twice yearly) and is published by Butterworths
LexisNexis. The general editor is the indefatigable Susan Singleton. As well as
having written more than 25 books, set up her own law firm and had 5 children
she probably knows as much about this area of law as anyone else in this
country. Each chapter starts with an apposite quotation (the final one on taxation
being by ex-President Clinton). The appendix contains a wealth of web
contracts, terms and notices. This includes a very useful note for employers on
legal issues relating to email, the internet and the workplace and a specimen
email policy. (It would benefit all employers to read this before the stable door
is forced open for the first time). Unless you go to specialist books on the
subject (such as Tolley's "Managing Email and Internet Use" or "e-policy" by
Michael Overly) it is surprisingly difficult to find out good examples of employee
email and internet use policies.
One of the great joys of internet commerce for lawyers is the number of
contracts that are required to get an e-commerce website off the ground (I once
calculated on the back of an envelope that a normal business would require at
least 16 of these). The looseleaf book "e-contracts" published by Tolley's
recognises this. The general editor is again Susan Singleton and there are
contributions to the book from members of solicitors S. J Berwin and Steptoe &
Johnson. The chapters cover website development and services, fora and
chatrooms, advertising, end-user internet access, internet selling, employment,
journal content access, notices, software licences, content provision and framing
agreements. The book costs £87.50 and is updated twice yearly.
Lastly, I have three different ring binders of specimen terms that I have
assiduously collected from real life websites since my firm first started to advise
clients on the internet in 1995. The first consists of consumer terms for the sale
of goods, the second is a collection of consumer terms for the supply of services
and the third covers internet-related business-to-business commercial
agreements (e.g. linking agreements). In each case, for ease of reference, I
have put the best example at the start of the ring binder. My personal Oscars
are awarded to
www.silicon.com for their privacy policies and to
Jeremy Holt is the head of the computer law group of Clark Holt, Commercial Solicitors
(www.clarkholt.com). He is Secretary of the Law Specialist group of
the British Computer Society and is joint editor of the BCS' recent book "The Manager's
Guide to Computer Law". In 2003 he set up, in Swindon, the only computer museum in the country
Note from Delia - "The Manager's Guide to IT Law" is the book just being published by the BCS,
with Jeremy Holt as joint editor, explains the legal framework
relating to IT issues. There are contributions from seven authors, all experts in
their field. The cost is £25, and the book can be ordered from Clare Greenslade,
Back to Contents.