Sun, Apr. 08, 2007

Internet Law: Search or Research?

CK - Washington.   Telemedicus is a German blog run by several students at Münster University Law School whose area of concentration is Internet law. Highly regarded Prof. Thomas Hoeren holds the Internet chair. In an April 8, 2007 entry, two Telemedicus contributors publish student papers on the future of the Internet economy.

Both papers appear quite useful, at first glance: Internet Trademark Liability Involving Search Engines and Forums, by Adrian Schneider, and Current Legal Issues in Digital TV: IPTV, Triple Play and Video on Demand as Illustrated by the T-Home Service of Deutsche Telekom, by Simon Möller.

The publication of these German-language papers enriches the legal landscape. Readers would benefit, however, from the publication of grades awarded the papers by the Münster law school, or a school endorsement of some sort. Without an indication of their quality, the publications lose some of their value for third parties. At the same time, the commenting feature of blogs enables a public discussion and evaluation which is useful for expert discourse. Interestingly, the authors almost completely ignore 20th century legal writings.

Are the authors unfamiliar with hands-on research in printed materials and rely only on online searches? Internet law has its roots, after all, in computer law and general law. Print publications have covered the former for more than 30 years, and the latter did not become suddenly researchable around 1997.

Aside from such quality issues, making the Münster research results on German Internet and media law available online is a welcome effort. The students' contributions and courage are commendable.

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