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  • 14 Community and Environment
  • Internet Law and Internet Commerce
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In this chapter Expand current chapter list below

Internet Law and Internet Commerce

This chapter explains how the law addresses a person’s use of the internet, how copyright and the internet works alongside detailing consumer issues related to online shopping such as, purchasing goods from overseas and within Australia, defamation, making complaints and contacts and resources.


We would like to thank Elizabeth Beal, Consultant at Ashurst Australia, for contributing this chapter through the Fitzroy Law Handbook Online. A particular thanks to the Fitzroy Legal Service for permission to reproduce this chapter here.


The internet is a network of computers. No one owns it and it has no central location or administration. For most users connection is made through a company that offers internet access. These companies are known as internet service providers (ISPs). The three types of people or organisations i...

Copyright Issues

The internet is often used to share material – pictures, text, ideas. Many issues of copyright arise out of the ease with which individuals can now share material. Here are some particular issues of copyright. Website design The design and layout of a website can be protected by copyright. This...

Defamation Issues

For information on defamation generally see the Defamation chapter under Rights. The internet is primarily a means of communicating. It is a public space in which opinions are shared. This can give rise to issues of defamation, just as much as when a newspaper or magazine publishes an opinion ...

Other Protection Issues

As well as intellectual property and defamation, other issues regarding online activities can affect legal rights. If we think of the internet as a community of people who do not meet face to face, but communicate through the written and digital media, we can see that many of the same issues that...

E-Commerce: Online Shopping

There are no laws in Australia that specifically deal with online shopping. Legally the same requirements exist whether the purchase is conducted over the internet or offline (e.g. shopping at a retail outlet). Therefore, when you buy goods or services over the internet from an Australian trader,...

Purchasing from Overseas

Consumer Protection Laws When you buy a good or service over the internet from an overseas trader, it can be uncertain whether Australian consumer protection laws apply or whether an Australian court has any jurisdiction. The ACL applies to overseas traders carrying on business in Australia, but...

Managing Access to Internet Content

Concerns about children encountering inappropriate material on the internet are common, and with good reason. Research has shown that in the digital age, large percentages of children are exposed to sexually explicit, violent, or otherwise adult material, unsuitable for their age group. This sect...

Complaints to ACMA

How to Make a Complaint Complaints to the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) must be in writing and must include the following details: your name and contact details; internet address of the content and any other details required to access it (e.g. a password); descri...

Contact and Resources

National Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) ACMA is the regulator for the telecommunications industry and has an information portal that provides consumer information on internet services. Web: ACMA also hosts 'Cybersmart' Cybersmart is an initiative of th...

Page last updated 19/03/2018

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