Technology Law

What is “Technology Law”?

Whether you realize it or not, technology law is everywhere nowadays. It’s actually many different areas of law combined into one field, and the intersection of many diverse legal disciplines. It includes:

As more and more business is conducted electronically and on-line, this list will continue to grow. And so will the role of the technology lawyer.

lightning emerging from computer screenThe field of technology law is changing rapidly. Technology law didn’t really exist as a separate field—and didn’t attain prominence until companies began to embrace the commercial appeal of the Internet in the mid-1990s. At that point, companies of all sizes began to realize that they could reach millions of new customers easily and at a relatively low-cost. Areas of the country full of tech-savvy investors and business people, such as in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts and Silicon Valley, California quickly became hotbeds for entrepreneurship and innovation.

Politicians wrote new laws and revised old ones as companies and consumers realized that existing laws didn’t address many issues that arose from the growth of the Internet. This rapid growth ushered in new legislation such as the laws addressing “cybersquatting,” “spam,” data security, and spyware. Unlike areas of law that have hundreds of years of precedent, the field of technology law has little direct history. New laws will therefore continue to be written to address this unique legal area.

How does Technology Law Affect My Company?

No matter what business you’re in, you’re probably in the technology business. Your company does not have to compete directly with Microsoft® or Yahoo!® to be affected by technology laws. If your company does any of the following, then your business is impacted by technology law:

  • Has a website;
  • Advertises its products or services on-line;
  • Sends e-mail;
  • Generates any content;
  • Purchases software;
  • Stores customers’ data;
  • Shares content or data with others;
  • Processes on-line payments;
  • Posts third party content; or
  • Hires independent contractors who generate content.

And wherever there’s technology, there are legal ramifications that arise from its use. That’s where the technology lawyer fits in. It is vital to have qualified counsel familiar with the many facets and nuances of this new and constantly changing field. In today’s business climate, the role of the technology lawyer is crucial to the success of any venture.

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