Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


With the increasing use of the World Wide Web, the Internet consumer will, for better or worse, change the "shop around the comer." However, the advent of electronic commerce can have the capacity to be the great equalizer. This technology, which allows the smallest of entrepreneurs to enter millions of households throughout the world also subjects them to innumerable conflicting foreign laws and jurisdictions and magnifies the legal impact of any content errors. The ability to enter the households of millions of unknown persons also poses difficult challenges of identification, privacy, and security. The collective impact of these peculiar characteristics of the Internet on traditional notions of doing business offers great opportunities, but it also creates challenging legal issues. This article discusses these issues in the context of developing Internet business models.