We can (again) help you complete your continuing competence requirements this year.

Our Internet for Lawyers CPD 2018 competence service guides you, via online articles and exercises, through the legal resources and tools available, helps you understand the internet and the legal issues it raises and assists you in the practical application of internet services to your legal practice.

Whilst I have written extensively about the blockchain in the past, copyright itself has not really been of much interest to the research community, perhaps because the use cases have not been very prevalent in the media.

If we define the blockchain as an immutable decentralised database, then it could be easy to see some potential uses of the technology for copyright, and for the creative industries as a whole. Blockchain technology has been suggested for management of copyright works through registration, enforcement and licensing, and also as a business model through micropayments and tracking use. I will go through these without mentioning many specific existing implementations and projects.

With Emily Allbon

Legal design is the process of applying design-thinking to complex legal information, to make the law more accessible and easier to understand for its intended audience. Never was it more evident how ill at ease most of us are when it comes to digesting legal information, than during the pre-GDPR flood of privacy policies into our email inboxes. How many people actually read these missives?

Long, long ago (2012) I wrote an article on this topic for the Newsletter and asked firms who had said that they were willing, in principle, to give some free initial legal advice, whether they thought it was worthwhile. Broadly, most of them did. You can read this article at http://bit.ly/INL1201venables.

This year I again invited a wide range of firms, via Twitter and LinkedIn as well as by email, to give me their views on this topic. The answers people provided are very interesting but no one is now unequivocally saying that “giving free initial advice is good” and I think that there has been a marked move away from this view over the intervening years.

Here are the contributions, in no particular order.

In the last issue we looked at the concept of open law; we should probably now take a step back and consider what is meant by open data.

Open data is the idea that some data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or similar. The philosophy behind it is long established, but the term “open data” itself was more recently coined. It appeared for the first time in 1995, in a document from an American scientific agency, and it gained traction with the rise of the internet and the web as the platform enabling its effective delivery.

Businesses large and small often use more than one website, for various reasons. We take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of this approach and its impact on your SEO efforts.

Businesses with multiple websites come in several forms. They might be massive international companies, where the separate domains serve totally different business functions. Or, much smaller businesses may have several sites offering the same products or services, in the belief that more websites means that they’ll have a better chance of succeeding online.

Whether you are a large or small organisation, let’s start by taking a look in a bit more detail at when several domains could be useful, before looking at the disadvantages of such an approach.

There are many different facets to an Orwellian dystopian society (in which, some may argue, we already live) where privacy no longer exists and Big Brother is watching everyone. Some of the culprits are data mining and tracking used by the tech giants for profiling internet denizens in order to realise lucrative profits from highly targeted advertising which we covered in the July issue of the Newsletter.

But although the erosion of privacy by big business is a major concern – especially in light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and allegations of Russian interference in elections – the most acute fears have traditionally centred on government surveillance. So what are the main pieces of legislation in the UK which relate to government surveillance?

New internet-related publications for lawyers.

This article first appeared in Legal Web Watch September 2018. Legal Web Watch is a free email service which complements the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers. To receive Legal Web Watch regularly sign up here.

The following items have been selected from Delia Venables’ “New” page.

Richard Hugo-Hamman

Richard Hugo-Hamman, Executive Chairman of LEAP UK, gives his advice on how small law firms can become more successful

Building a successful law firm requires thought and planning but above all it requires action. 89% of all law firms have between one and five partners and, like many small businesses, they are often under-resourced with many lacking training in business or even rudimentary bookkeeping skills. What is not sufficiently recognised is the entrepreneurial nature of almost every law firm. Many founders of law firms begin as sole practitioners or junior partners. They rely entirely on their own skills and determination, not just for success but for survival, and are dedicated to the calling of their profession.

Introducing change can be hard but adding some of these practical measures could transform a business.

What do a family law barrister in Bristol, a law lecturer in Cardiff and a legal publisher in London have in common?

The answer is that Lucy Reed, Julie Doughty and I are collaborators – both as members and trustees of the Transparency Project and, more recently, as co-authors of a book, Transparency in the Family Courts: Publicity and Privacy in Practice (Bloomsbury Professional).

Collaborating via the internet isn’t particularly new. But with the modernisation of the courts and the development of increasingly virtual ways of conducting litigation, lawyers are becoming more and more accustomed to the idea of working remotely, not only from their colleagues in different offices or at home, but also from clients and, increasingly, the courts themselves. This article looks at some of the web-based apps that can help.

With our lives increasingly documented online – whether this takes the form of professional personas on LinkedIn, personal updates on Facebook, political views on Twitter, selfies on Instagram or damning reviews on forums – it has become virtually impossible to forget our past. Younger generations are sometimes publishing (either purposefully or inadvertently) their every thought, picture or video for the internet to archive in perpetuity.

Although users of social media and cloud storage services may think they are in control of their data, anything which becomes publicly visible is often quickly indexed by search robots. Once any content has been ranked on Google (or other search engines), it is often difficult to later remove this content from search results. Even if a social media account is later deleted, copies of any posted content may be stored by archive engines, making the removal process even more complicated.

This situation has led to much debate over the so-called “right to be forgotten” with ensuing case law and legislation attempting to grapple with the issue.