GENL 2031 – Cyberspace Law


Essay Questions


1.          Domain Names


Max is the owner of a small Sydney based business called Hormone Pty Ltd which sells animal hormone products to vets, thoroughbred trainers and horse enthusiasts. Many of his customers are from interstate, and a small number are based overseas. He wants to start selling his products over the Internet, but finds that:


a)      the domain is already registered to an adult content site based in the United States; and


b)      the domain is registered to a well known cybersquatter, who has over two hundred other domains registered (the site contains nothing but a link to an email address).


Advise Max on his legal options for registering either or both domain names.




2.          Copyright


Does the US Court’s decision in Napster signal the end of peer to peer file sharing over the Internet? Does the Court’s decision provide the correct balance between individual freedom to share information and the interests of copyright holders?




3.          Defamation


A student, Than, sent a message to a University email discussion list claiming that a lecturer, Monica, offered students higher marks in return for cash. The list was not moderated and about one hundred academics and two hundred students who were members of the discussion list received the email. The entire discussion list was automatically archived on the University’s web site and could be read by anyone with Internet access. Monica is suing Than, The University and the University’s Internet Service Provider  (Webhost Pty Ltd) for defamation. Advise each of the defendants about their liability for defamation.



4.          Content


Hobbies Pty Ltd runs a web site called On this site, individuals can list links to their ten favourite web sites. Users then search for people with similar tastes to their own, and may choose to start an online chat with them. The site is hosted in Sydney by Webhost Pty Ltd.


One site visitor complains to their local MP that the site is “filled with disgusting, offensive and filthy material”. Specifically, there are links to:


a)      An adult content site offering free X rated stories and photos

b)      An online casino

c)      Several sites containing racist propaganda

d)      A site selling babies for adoption

e)      A site containing detailed instructions for making a home made bomb


How is this complaint likely to be dealt with and what are the implications for Hobbies Pty Ltd and Webhost Pty Ltd?



5.          Privacy


Discuss the various attempts to regulate the use of unsolicited commercial email (spam) in Australia and overseas. What approach do you believe delivers the best outcome for the Internet community? Be sure to consider:


a)      The Australian Direct Marketing Association Code of Conduct

b)      The Internet Industry Association Code of Conduct (including drafts)

c)      The Privacy (Private Sector) Amendment Act 2000

d)      At least one overseas or international law or code




6.          Electronic Commerce


Sue wants to start using Internet banking and is also interested in buying shares online. However, she is concerned about security, privacy and consumer protection. What advice do you have for Sue about how safe electronic commerce is and what she can do to protect herself?