For many, the internet has become an essential part of our lives. While the law at one time distinguished between traditional legal issues and "cyber" issues, the law is evolving to encompass many computer topics, often times with unique policies. International internet law is a somewhat young area of the law, one which is in continual flux based on any number of events such as international conflicts, privacy and surveillance issues, cybercrime and cyberwarfare, and economic developments. While countries grapple with how best to regulate cyberlaw within their own borders, international internet law lacks comprehensive conventions and codes. But do not despair. While issues such as governance of the internet are unique and require specific discussion, researchers may look to traditional international legal topics for guidance on international internet law issues.
This guide is intended to help those unfamiliar with international cyberlaw discover general sources, and once a background has been established, indicate resources on more focused areas of international internet Law. The guide is not intended to teach substantive law, but the framework within which the law is disseminated. This guide will not deal with issues regarding U.S. internet law.
Note: Many, if not all, of the resources in this section will provide a good background of international internet law. Within this background discussion the issue of governing and regulating the internet will be considered.
Below are a few selected works, available in the that provide good overviews of the issues concerning international internet law. This is not an exhaustive list and new materials are always being created to keep up with rapidly changing internet technologies. You are encouraged to look for updated materials through Clio (the Columbia University online catalog) and Pegasus (the Law Libray's specific catalog).
The internet is a shared network of computers, spread across the globe. It is an international space that may not be subject to any sovereignty. Looking to previous instances of jurisdictional practices concerning similar, albeit physical, common spaces may guide developing regulations for this new cyber space. Three international spaces in particular educate future policies concerning the internet:
A number of instruments have been adopted at the EU level to deal with the most crucial matters related to private international law (namely the Brussels and Rome Regulations).