Book Review: the – selected issues

Reviewer: Louise Taylor, Christchurch College of Education

It is unusual to find a comprehensive overview of the law relating to the internet in hardcopy format. The contemporary and ever-evolving nature of the topic lends itself instead to less permanent publishing mediums such as articles and items published on the internet itself. Because the Internet poses such a wide range of challenges to traditional regulatory models authors also tend to favour commenting on particular aspects of the law in which they have specialist knowledge. This book is a collection of such writings by a single author. However, that said, it is the most comprehensive work on this topic produced in New Zealand to date.

The issues Judge Harvey has chosen to examine are interesting, pertinent and have been very thoroughly considered and presented, most notably in the areas of jurisdiction, copyright and research. The writing style is clear and engaging, assisted by detailed consideration of local and international precedent. Much of the content is contemplative; presenting problems, postulating solutions and analysing their relative merit which, although slightly less rewarding for the reader than being presented with a package of ‘answers’, is unavoidable due to the subject area and the author balances this with providing useful practical advice throughout.

This book is an excellent resource for academics with some previous knowledge of the issues canvassed. The lack of integration between topics, however, makes the book a less obvious choice for those seeking a general understanding of the law in this area, especially as some of the chapter titles fail to describe the breadth of content within. The book will be of most use the reader who has accurately diagnosed the legal issue on which they seek information prior to consulting the book and is thus undertaking a narrowly defined search. A comprehensive introduction and conclusion drawing together the main themes of the book and greater stylistic consistency within topics would have increased its appeal to a wider audience, particularly lawyers and legal academics without particular knowledge of communication technologies.