[DNS] Launch of "Internet Law" Practice a World First

[DNS] Launch of "Internet Law" Practice a World First

From: David Goldstein <DGoldstein§comslaw.org.au>
Date: Mon, 02 Apr 2001 11:44:58 +1000
Hi all

Below is a news release for the launch of Oz NetLaw, an online legal
practice from the Communications Law Centre. The URL is



Australia's first online legal practice specialising in Internet and
e-commerce law was launched in Sydney today by the Attorney-General of
Australia, the Hon. Daryl Williams.

The Oz NetLaw practice and website has been developed by the
Communications Law Centre (CLC) with the support of the
Attorney-General's Department and two leading law firms - Clayton Utz
and Gilbert & Tobin.

The Hon. Justice Deirdre O'Connor, President of the Administrative
Appeals Tribunal and Chair of the CLC said the Oz NetLaw site is a world

"As far as I am aware there is no other site which contains detailed
legal information about all areas of a country's laws that apply to the
use of the Internet.  It's certainly a first for Australia".

"It has been designed to help consumers, small businesses and community
organisations solve legal problems associated with online services."

"This is a new field of legal practice that embraces many existing areas
of law, such as defamation, copyright and consumer protection," Justice
O'Connor said.

"But it has also spawned new legal issues, such as online gambling,
secure electronic transactions and the status of online contracts.

"Oz NetLaw has been developed as a national resource in this area of
legal practice and to provide a public interest perspective on policy
and legal issues arising from the use of the Internet.  The Oz NetLaw
service also aims to make small business operators feel more confident
in exploring the opportunities that online services offer."

Mr John Corker, the manager of Oz NetLaw, said "the service provides a
unique 'one-stop' source for reliable legal information relevant to
individuals, small businesses and community organisations.  We are
making available free of charge a large body of current, reliable and
accessible legal information."

"The online legal practice has been developed to meet an increasing
community need for advice on how to safeguard your interests when you
are using the Internet, or providing online services," he said.

"The range of laws that apply in this area is considerable.  These laws
are often complex and overlapping, with an array of organisations
administering them."

"Our role is to provide relevant and straightforward advice across a
wide range of topics, including creating a website, 'clickwrap'
contracts, hacking, spamming and employee e-mails."

Mr. Corker said that if the Oz NetLaw website did not satisfy a specific
inquiry, users will be able to seek more detailed advice and
information, which will be made available by e-mail or telephone.

The Oz NetLaw site can be found at www.oznetlaw.net 

Further information: John Corker - Tel: (02) 9663 0551.  Mob: 0402 474


The Communications Law Centre (CLC) is a non-profit research, policy and
educational organisation specialising in media and communications law
with offices on the campus of the University of NSW and Victoria
University.  It is now in its 12th year of operation. 

In late 1998, at the CLC's annual planning day, the idea of a
specialized Internet law practice and website was raised. 

The CLC had developed legal and policy expertise in print media,
broadcast media, the telecommunications sector and the film and
television production industry.  It was time to broaden this expertise
into the new media.

Research indicated that there was a paucity of accessible, affordable
and reliable legal information about use of the Internet by
Australians.  The CLC set about developing the concept and seeking
support to establish the National Internet Legal Practice. 

Over the next 18 months, the Centre secured substantial commitments from
the three foundation sponsors.  

The Attorney-General's Department offered a one-off grant for capital
acquisition and website development.  Clayton Utz and Gilbert & Tobin,
two law firms with strong media, technology and communications law
practices, agreed to provide the manager and a senior lawyer for the
practice together with other financial and logistical support.

The manager and legal staff for the practice were recruited in September
2000 and started work in October 2000.  

The Oz NetLaw website - www.oznetlaw.net 
The Oz NetLaw website now provides a 'one-stop' site for legal
information on the main issues arising out of the use of the Internet
and e-commerce.

The information is presented in over 40 categories and 120
sub-categories of activity that may raise a legal issue.

The comprehensive legal information website also contains detailed fact
sheets on 28 areas of Australian law as they apply specifically to the
Internet and e-commerce.  These are complete with legal references and
links to relevant legislation and caselaw.

The content of the site has been prepared by the in-house lawyers and
then reviewed by an expert legal support group consisting of legal
experts from academia, private practice and government who have
volunteered their services to ensure a high standard of legal

Visitors to the site will find an explanation of relevant Australian law
for any chosen Internet or e-commerce activity.  

Information on the site can be found in three ways:
	by clicking through three main portals, 'Individual', 'Small Business
and Start-ups' or 'Community/Non profit'
	by going direct to the fact sheet on the relevant area of law
	by using the internal search engine.

Requests for detailed advice can be made through an online form or by

The aims of Oz NetLaw are to:

	help people across Australia, in particular small-business, community
organisations, Internet start-ups, Internet service providers and people
in the workplace to solve legal problems associated with the use of the
Internet and e-commerce;

	offer law students and other interested persons practical training
about Internet and e-commerce related issues and the opportunity to be
involved in the Oz NetLaw Internet practice;

	present and promote public interest perspectives in debates about
legal and policy issues arising from the use of the Internet.

Teaching and professional training
Oz NetLaw is providing a Clinical Legal Education course in Internet law
for students at UNSW in the first semester of 2001 and expects to extend
this course to second semester and beyond.  Students are involved in
general casework and in updating and maintaining the website.

Oz NetLaw is about to provide, for NetAlert, a national series of
seminars for Internet Service Providers and Content Hosts on Australia's
online content regulatory scheme.

Following its launch, Oz NetLaw expects to make an announcement about
professional legal training in this area.

Who are we?
	John Corker is Manager of Oz NetLaw and Principal Solicitor for the
CLC.  Formerly General Counsel for the Australian Broadcasting
Authority, he has significant experience in media, broadcasting and
online legal issues. John is now a senior associate with Clayton Utz
seconded to the CLC.

	Gary Hughes is a solicitor from Gilbert & Tobin seconded to the CLC. 
He has extensive experience in info technology transactions,
telecommunications transactions involving network development and
hosting, website development and e-commerce.

	Derek Wilding is the director of the Communications Law Centre.  Derek
holds qualifications in Arts and Law and a doctorate in media studies.
He joined the Communications Law Centre from the Media Entertainment and
Arts Alliance where he was Senior Industrial Officer in the Federal
Office of MEAA. Prior to that he was with Queensland University of
Technology in Brisbane.

	Vic Marles  co-ordinates the Melbourne office, is a Legal Member of
the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and a member of
Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Council.

	Lillian Kline is a lawyer in the Melbourne office.  Lillian joined the
CLC from private practice where she worked as an IT and IP lawyer.  She
has a wide range of experience in technology and Internet related law
including defamation, privacy, and online copyright issues.

	Spiritas Cho assisted with development of the website content.  She
joined the CLC from private practice where she specialised as an IT
lawyer.  She has a wide range of experience in technology and Internet
related law including Internet jurisdiction issues, data protection,
copyright, website linking and hosting, ISP liabilities and computer
technology patents.

Media Contact
John Corker, Manager, Oz NetLaw.
Phone: (02) 9663 0551
Mobile: 0402 474 628
Email: jcorker&#167;comslaw.org.au

David Goldstein
Project Manager, Internet Industry Liaison Project
Communications Law Centre

PO Box 14428 MCMC, Melbourne Vic 8001
tel: 03 9248 1255
fax: 03 9248 1277
Received on Mon Apr 02 2001 - 09:46:15 UTC

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