How Do I Know if My Case Needs a Cyber Lawyer?
Since cyber law is relatively new, there’s still a lot that is unclear about its essence and when it is relevant. For example, one of the biggest issues still under argument is what kind of jurisdiction countries and federal courts have over crimes and misdeeds committed on the internet, and what are the limits of that jurisdiction. Let’s try to investigate the term cyber law, in order to understand when taking a case to court is possible and recommended – and when it isn’t.
Alt text: Cyber law – a new and fascinating world.
Just like in the ‘offline’ justice system, you can turn to cyber law when you feel something has been stolen from you. We’re not talking about physical property, of course, but rather what is considered intellectual property. This is a broad term, but in general it means anything that you have created and can be seen or heard online.
This can be a simple written passage, a song you have recorded, an idea or formula that you’ve shared on one of your social media pages, and so on. For example, if you’ve written a poem and shared it on a literary website and someone copies it without giving you credit – they are probably breaking the law. It’s easy to track down this kind of intellectual property theft because everything that is online can be searched. Google can find almost anything, and for more sophisticated searches relating to plagiarism, websites like Copyscapeexist.
The harder part is to prove that your intellectual property has been stolen. It’s not always clear who the true owner of a text online is, let alone the difficulty in proving who put it there first. Also, there is a lot of uncertainty whether your intellectual property can be reused for free if you placed it on the World Wide Web, as long as it is credited, or if a payment is mandatory. This is where a cyber lawyer can come in handy, since previous rulings have left a substantial gray area that can be argued in favor of both sides.
Alt text: Be careful which emails you open, and on which links you click.
Now we’re talking about theft of physical property, usually money, through online sales or interactions. The most common kind is when you provide your credit card information as part of an online purchase, but the seller disappears with your money without providing what they had promised. Other common scams are phishing, trading and Bitcoin scams, account hacks, etc.
In this case, tracing down the culprit may be a lot harder, since these are professional crooks who usually know how to cover their tracks well. Cyber experts can help with that, but there is no guarantee here. If you do manage to locate the scammer, keep in mind that sometimes these are established organizations with an army of lawyers, so taking them to court may require gearing up with your own cyber lawyer as well.
Today, however, there are some companies which provide an inclusive package against online theft and takes care of the whole process. These companies usually have both the tech experts to find the villain and the legal experts to bring them to justice. While this may cost a pretty penny and a full refund is not guaranteed, it may be an option worth considering.
If you think that the virtual sphere is a place where you can express yourself without limitations, we have some bad news for you. Even online, there are censorship laws, usually put in place by governments and official international bodies – and not only in authoritarian countries. However, that does not mean you don’t have the right to take legal action when you feel your freedom of speech has been taken from you.
Alt text: There’s no such thing as complete freedom of speech. Not even online.
This is where things get complex, though. Since the country sets the rules, it may be harder to argue against it in court – harder, but not impossible. Sometimes censorship decisions that are made contradict the law, whether by accident or intentionally. That’s when you can plead in front of a judge, but keep in mind that your chances are quite low, so the hassle and price may not be worth it for your freedom of speech alone.