Forum to lay down Net law

The Internet Law & Policy Forum is formed to develop worldwide Internet guidelines and set standards for unclear or inconsistent Internet laws and policies.

A group called the Internet Law & Policy Forum was formed today to develop worldwide Internet guidelines and set a standard for unclear or inconsistent Internet laws and policies.

As the number of Net users grows at a rate of 6.5 percent per month, major legal and policy questions remain unanswered in areas including trademarks, domain names, ISP taxation, censorship, encryption, and jurisdictional questions involving international vs. national laws.

These issues are becoming increasingly confusing as growth of the Internet's population and related industries eclipse legislation. "Without an established framework, the Internet faces a confusing and potentially disabling range of national laws seeking to govern a global environment," Jeffrey Ritter, organizing chair of the Forum said in a statement.

The forum, the brainchild of the Internet Law Task Force, a group of 200 lawyers and policy advocates formed in October 1995, was launched to address precisely these issues. Today, the forum announced that it has received more than $100,000 from 21 corporations including Oracle, America Online, Netscape Communications, AT&T, Microsoft, and IBM. The fund will be used for research and reports.

Although the funding is being provided by corporations, the forum will focus its efforts on establishing a model for all Internet users including consumers, governments, content providers, and developers.

During its development period, the forum will analyze the business and legal aspects of electronic commerce and Internet censorship. The results will be presented at a conference in London on January 16-17.