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5 Bus. L. Today 52 (1995-1996)
Market without Bounds - So Far - Could Old Laws Put a Crimp on Cyberspace

handle is hein.journals/busiltom5 and id is 258 raw text is: Market without bounds - so far
Could old laws put a crimp on cyberspace?

n case you haven't noticed, a
new world is swirling away
beyond the familiar streets of
your city: the Web, Internet,
cyberspace, new media, elec-
tronic cash, intelligent agents,
digital commerce and the electron-
ic environment. On a daily basis
we are showered with a steady
stream of new nomenclature. Our
language is adapting to address
new concepts and new markets
that present unprecedented poten-
These developments may well
mark a fundamental shift in the
foundation of our economy, once
agrarian in nature, then industrial,
and perhaps now or soon to be pri-
marily information-based. Will the
rapid evolution of these new mar-
kets, with waves of new informa-
tion services and products, and
their global promise of empower-
ment of individuals be helped or
hindered by the law and its devel-
At least two major factors set
new media services apart from
their predecessors. First, the new
age is one of digitized information
- consisting at base level of com-
binations of zeroes and ones that
can be read and represented by
computer hardware in textual,
graphical and audio forms useful
or even entertaining to human
users. It is transmitted on line over
Stuckey is director of business develop-
iment and vice president of onm-
puServe Ventures Inc. He also authored
The Business and Legal Aspects of
Internet and Online Services, published
by Law ournal Press in 1996.

the phone lines or through the air
waves using cellular or wireless
communications as data received
through modems, or distributed
through a physical medium such
as software or CD-ROM disks.
Second, new media services are
interactive. This means you are in
control of what is seen when, and
it usually means you can talk back,
or submit your own information to
share with other users. This may
consist of one-on-one chat or group
conferencing on a real-time basis.
At a minimum, it allows you to
determine the time you use the ser-
vice or product and the portions
you can use.
New media services involve one
or more of the three C's - com-
munications, content and coi-
merce applications.
Communications-based services
include electronic mail, group con-
ferencing and electronic bulletin
board posting areas. In addition to
their general use, these services are
organized by special interest or
topics and often serve a communi-
ty of users. Topics involve anything
from cars to cartoons, pets to pasta,
and sports to soap operas. A signif-
icant class of these applications
addresses computer hardware, soft-

ware and systems support. Cutting-
edge communications services
include the use of your personal
computer as a telephone, with or
without freeze-frame graphics of
the participants.
Content-oriented services con-
sist of production-orientedl material
such as music, audio, video, graph-
ics, text and games. Such services
are produced by traditional brand-
ed media and native new media
providers alike. Another traditional
set of content services are databas-
es enabling research of publica-
tions and facts addressing virtually
any imaginable topic.
Most new media listributed
through software and CD-ROM is
content-oriented. However, a
hybrid of CD-ROM and on-line
new media has recently been intro-
duced that extends CD-ROM con-
tent by including links to related
areas and files of on-line services.
Other content applications using
on-line services include streaming
audio (such as on-line radio) and
full motion video. Significant
progress is being made toward on-
line delivery of services effectively
combining video and audio.
Commercial applications appear
to be the least well developed at
this time. They have existed for
some time at the level of on-line
shopping services that enable pur-
chases using a credit card within
the boundaries of a particular
information service. In addition,
EDI, or electronic, data interchange,
has been used for several years by
manufacturers an(l vendors in pro-
visioning relationships to mini-
mize paper l)urchase orders and

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