The Virtual Bookcase Reviews of 'CyberRegs: A Business Guide to Web Property, Privacy, and Patents':
Reviewer Rob Slade wrote:
The introduction states that the nature of the Web is in flux. Those
who take too strong and doctrinaire a stance on the character of the
Internet will be subject to failures in their attempts to do business
there. In addition, the author states his opinion, based on the
research conducted for the book, that attempts to apply regulation to
the net should be sparing.
Part one deals with copyright. Chapter one reviews the past history
of copyright legislation and purposes, and also the recent case of
Napster. (The book was completed before the Napster case concluded.)
"DVD Jon" and the DeCSS case is the topic of chapter two. The
author's experiences with the publishing and sale of special reports
forms the basis for an examination of licensing, in chapter three, and
also the balance of rights between publisher and user/consumer. The
development and shift in copyright regulations and perspectives is
given in chapter four. Chapter five lists further reading on the
topic: an annotated bibliography of text and online sources. The
works are well chosen and the annotations provide good overviews of
Part two addresses patents. Chapter six outlines the Amazon "1-Click"
patent, and the issue of an idea versus a specific implementation. A
variety of other patents and lawsuits are examined in chapter seven.
Chapter eight deals with the issue of patentability of an entity or
item. The issue of patenting business methods is dealt with in
chapter nine. Chapter ten examines the impact of patents on the
Internet. Walker Digital and the business of creating and holding
business patents is in chapter eleven. Recent US legislation amending
patent concepts and applicability is covered in chapter twelve.
Chapter thirteen opines about the future and fourteen closes off the
topic with the reference section.
Part four surveys electronic signatures and the E-Sign act. Chapter
fifteen discusses the provisions of the act itself, including the fact
that it doesn't (in any significant way) define what an electronic
signature can be, thus obviating the need for many of the functions of
a signature. (This is followed by a brief section entitled "A Deeper
Look" that explains the technical concept of digital signatures.)
Business will increase because of the act, says chapter sixteen.
Chapter seventeen makes the case (rather weakly, perhaps) that E-Sign
is a good act, because it doesn't impede allowable technologies.
Eighteen is the references chapter for electronic signatures.
Part four moves in on privacy. Chapter nineteen cites a couple of
cases of the market for private information. US legal precedents
regarding the right to privacy are in chapter twenty. Consumer
concerns, in chapter twenty-one, are followed up by "A Deeper Look" at
cookies and Web bugs, and by another on the Platform for Privacy
Preferences Project (P3P). US legislative moves regarding privacy are
discussed in chapter twenty-two. (It is interesting to note that
Zoellick quotes a legislator stating that privacy acts would be passed
before 2002. This did not happen. In addition, of the various
aspects discussed in the chapter, bill S.1789, before the Senate as
this review is being written, addresses only access and enforcement.)
Chapter twenty-three tries, without much success, to propose a
framework for privacy. Again, twenty-four contains references.
An epilogue finishes out the book by opining that businesses can, and
should, work at understanding the Web better, so that they can shape
its future development. As long as they develop it the way the author
Oddly, this work does not seem to add materially to other discussions
of Internet law. That it examines intellectual property issues in
such depth is interesting, but not illuminating. However, Zoellick
does have a much more engaging writing style than other authors who
have written on legal topics in relation to the net, and the text is
much more readable than most such books. There is a good deal of
valuable information in this volume on the subjects examined: but
there is a lot of opinion as well.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 2005
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